Chicago, Illinois, Newspaper Obituaries (1882 - Current)
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Explore Chicago, IL Obituary Search Archive
Sorting through masses of historical archives to find your ancestors can be challenging. Discovering your family history previously involved traveling to various records offices and spending hours sifting through files.
At GenealogyBank, we have made family research easy by digitizing more than 330 years’ worth of Chicago obituaries in our national newspaper database. Now you can look up Chicago obits and track down your bloodline in Illinois in a matter of seconds.
More than 95% of our online database cannot be accessed via any other platform. We take the hassle out of looking through the Chicago obituary archives.
Some of the benefits of looking up Chicago local newspaper obituaries include:
- Find those elusive ancestors and add them to your family tree.
- Discover when your ancestors lived and died.
- Learn more about the stories of your immediate and extended family.
With newspapers being the primary source of communication within communities for centuries, Chicago obits are a treasure trove of vital genealogical information.
But how do you perform a Chicago, Illinois obituary search and get accurate results?
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How to Search Chicago, Chicago Obituary Archives
How do you begin searching through our vast Chicago obituary archives?
The easiest way to perform a basic Chicago obituary search is to enter the last name of your relative and press the “Search” button. You’ll gain access to thousands of Illinois newspaper obituaries in seconds.
However, if you have a common last name or want to discover someone specific, you need to go deeper than this by using advanced search techniques. Follow these steps to begin narrowing down your results:
- Step One - Enter known first, middle, and last names of your relative to increase accuracy. This will ensure close match Chicago, Illinois obituaries are more likely to pertain to the right person.
- Step Two - Add in keywords using the information you already know about your relative. For example, if you know which town or neighborhood they resided in, include these keywords. Alternatively, try looking into US Census Records.
- Step Three - Likewise, you can exclude certain keywords to filter out irrelevant results. Maybe you know they didn’t live in a specific town or go to a specific school? Include these keywords as exclusions.
- Step Four - Even if you don’t know the year they died, you can include a year range. Our search feature will include all results relevant to a specific period, check out marriage records and birth records to hone in your research.
- Step Five - Change the sorting options to find different obituaries. You can order results by newest, oldest, and best match.
Tips for a Successful Chicago Obituary Search
Accurate recordkeeping has always been a major problem for modern family historians. When tracking down your ancestors, you need to be aware that mistakes were common. Many records were taken orally and so may have been noted down incorrectly.
Older Chicago, Illinois local newspaper obituaries typically contained valuable pieces of family history. These snippets of information can confirm whether an ancestor belonged to your family and may also serve as foundations for additional research into your extended family.
When searching Chicago obits, here are our top tips for uncovering your family history:
- Work backward. Use more recent known ancestors to uncover older ones.
- Search for ancestors by their initials. Older obituaries may not have listed your ancestor’s full name.
- When looking for a female relative, search by their husband’s name.
- Search by common misspellings. Information may not have been noted down correctly.
- When looking through the Chicago obituary archives, double-check information by using any official government records you have.
These research strategies can help you dig deeper and overcome those frustrating dead ends. Using these search techniques can also help you fact-check your findings to ensure you have the right person.
How to Find Death Notices in Chicago
Death notices in Chicago are another source of valuable information for discovering those elusive ancestors. There is a difference between death notices and obituaries, however. Even though some people use the term interchangeably, they are two different things.
Obituaries are newspaper ads taken out by the family. They describe the person, their life, and who they are. Death notices are formalized reports that someone has died.
Death notices were often used to tell family, friends, and extended family members about a person’s death and where the funeral service will be held. They are especially useful if you want to find out where one of your ancestors was buried.
Chicago obituaries, on the other hand, are dictated entirely by the family. Inaccuracies and exaggerations were always common, so take the information detailed in them with a pinch of salt.
If you want to look up death notices alongside Chicago local newspaper obituaries, here are some tips on how to do it:
- Utilize advanced search techniques, such as proximity search and Boolean operators.
- Factcheck found records by searching through multiple collections on GenealogyBank.
- Use any relatives mentioned in death notices to fact-check and uncover other sections of your family tree.
Chicago obituary archives and death notices are invaluable sources of genealogical information. If you’re ready to trace your story with GenealogyBank, perform your first search now.
Other Useful Collections To Try
- US Newspapers Archives
- Government Publications
- Social Security Death Index
- US Cultural Archives
For more information on discovering who you are and where you came from, download our free guide, “Tips for Searching Newspapers.”