Chicago, Illinois, Newspaper Archives (1835 - 2010)
Enter your ancestor's name below and we'll search Chicago historical newspapers to help you learn more.
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Chicago, Illinois Newspaper Archive
The greatest challenge of exploring your family history is uncovering accurate records in Illinois. Before the invention of the Internet, official records were spotty. Genealogy enthusiasts need to get creative when it comes to finding those elusive ancestors and discovering their stories.
Chicago historical newspapers are an incredibly useful tool for discovering who you are and where you came from.
Our Chicago, Illinois newspaper archive enables you to explore different newspapers going back decades. Look up every issue of Chicago historic newspapers to find news stories, obituaries, marriage records, and birth records to fill in the gaps of your knowledge regarding your family surname history.
Some of the reasons to use our Chicago newspaper database include:
- Build the branches of your family tree.
- Discover Members of your extended family.
- Find stories about the lives of unknown ancestors.
At GenealogyBank, we have access more than 13,000 local and national newspapers traversing 330 years of U.S. history.
Approximately 95% of our Chicago, Illinois historic online newspapers cannot be found anywhere else, and you can access them in a matter of seconds.
Search Newspaper Archive by Publication
How to Search a Chicago Newspaper Database
Whether you’re new to genealogy or you’re the resident family historian, finding records in the Chicago newspaper archive couldn’t be simpler.
All you have to do is choose your desired newspaper collection and enter the last name of your relative. Click “Search,” and you’ll see all records relating to your family name.
Already got more information on a certain relative? Try an advanced Chicago newspaper database search.
- Step One - Include the first and last names of a specific relative to narrow down your results.
- Step Two - Add keywords to further narrow your results, such as a school they went to or the name of the town in and around Chicago.
- Step Three - Maybe you keep getting irrelevant results from nearby locations? Exclude certain keywords to eliminate these results from your research.
- Step Four - Include a year range if you already have a rough idea of when your relative lived.
- Step Five - Use filters to get the oldest, newest, or best match results first.
Tips for a Successful Chicago Newspaper Search
Finding a specific person across 330 years of U.S. history can be tough, especially if they had a commonly used name. This is where the challenge of sifting through Chicago, Illinois historical newspapers comes in.
Many records contain minimal information, or they were recorded via an oral interaction. This could lead to spelling mistakes or outright incorrect statements. Unfortunately, there was extraordinarily little auditing of obituaries, death notices, and news stories in Chicago historic newspapers.
Here are some useful tips for finding the right ancestors:
- Try searching by a person’s initials. Older Chicago newspapers often didn’t include full names. This is more common as you work your way back through history.
- To find a female relative, search for their husband’s name. The wife’s name wasn’t included in full, especially their pre-marriage family name.
- Use common misspellings. This is extra helpful if you have a hard-to-spell family name or a name of non-English origin.
These techniques can help track down ancestors you’re having trouble finding. It’s not uncommon for family researchers to hit a brick wall while tracing their family tree. But there’s always more information to uncover! Try searching U.S. Census Records to gather more family details before exploring historical newspapers.
Remember, Chicago historic online newspaper records provide details of your family that cannot be found in government records. It was once very common for everyday lives of your ancestors to be captured in the newspaper. You’ll be amazed at the family facts and stories you’ll uncover.
How to Find Ancestors in Chicago Historical Newspapers
There are countless reasons why records for your ancestors may appear in a newspaper. For most people, these could be birth announcements, marriage announcements, or obituaries. All of these records are potentially available via the Chicago newspaper archive.
The easiest way to begin working on your family history is to work backward. With potentially thousands of Americans sharing your last name across the state, it’s easy to mistakenly add someone unrelated to your family tree.
Steadily moving through extended family members and using other relatives to fill in the gaps of some of the more elusive members of your bloodline can help you gradually build up your family tree.
Remember, before the advent of the Internet, newspapers were the leading way to disseminate information throughout the community.
Here are some additional tips for narrowing down different newspaper records:
- Include advanced search techniques, such as Boolean operators and proximity searches.
- Double-check newspaper entries with any official government records.
- Use other ancestors to confirm the validity of another. Many death notices will mention other ancestors alongside the deceased.
Chicago historic newspapers are a treasure trove of historical knowledge. And you can access centuries’ worth of issues from the comfort of your own home.