Looking for Chicago obituaries?

Cook Library has two databases you can use to find Chicago obituaries. Patrons most often use the Chicago Tribune Historical Database for Chicago research. The less frequently used is called Chicago Tribune Historical Archive but it’s one you don’t want to overlook. Here’s why:

  • Chicago Tribune Historical Archive has access to 2.5 million obituaries and death notices. In the Chicago Tribune newspaper, death notices are the short write-ups about the deceased which often name close relatives; obituaries are longer write-ups about more famous or interesting people. The difference between these two results is clearly stated in the results list of the Chicago Trib Archive and each result listed refers to a single death notice (DN) or obituary (OB). On the other hand, the results in the Chicago Trib Database are much less clear; every result (whether death notice or obituary) is called an obituary and the result points to the entire obituary section of the paper.

Chicago Trib Archive result list2              Chicago Trib Database results list2

  • Chicago Tribune Historical Archive allows you to search a date to find the front page  of the newspaper, which you can then easily print out as a PDF. The Chicago Trib Database can produce the same result but the search process is much more complicated.

Chicago Trib Archive search box

The Chicago Tribune Historical Archive also searches articles from the paper, but their coverage is not as complete as the Chicago Trib Database, so we need both databases for genealogy research.  Remember that you can access both Chicago Tribune databases from home with your Cook Memorial Public Library District. Just go to the Research section of CMPLD’s website and choose your database from the Genealogy subject listing or the alphabetical listing.

Good luck and happy researching!

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