About once a week we get asked by a well-meaning genealogist how they can get an obituary of an ancestor or relative who died in Cook County. We finally figured out that when people unfamiliar with the northern Illinois area Google “Cook County Library,” the Cook Memorial Public Library District is the first hit to come up. We wish we could be of more help to these folks, but since we are located in suburban Lake County, 35 miles north of Chicago, we really have very few Chicago or Cook County genealogy resources. However, in the interest of helping those with Cook County ancestors, we have the following suggestions for further research:
For obituaries, we suggest trying
The genealogy section of the Chicago Public Library
The Newberry Library
The Chicago Genealogical Society
The Cook County Clerk’s genealogy website has a searchable vital records website, but not all of their records have been digitized. Try contacting the Cook County Clerk’s office directly to obtain a birth, marriage or death record.
The Chicago History Museum may also be of help with details of life in Chicago.
Several websites are helpful for those researching Chicago genealogy and history. Chicago Ancestors, produced and maintained by the Newberry Library, has great information on churches and schools in Chicago. Chicagology has lots of images, mostly pre-1900. Remember to search the familyserach.org website for Cook County, Illinois records.
The best book on Chicago genealogy is Finding Your Chicago Ancestors by Grace DuMelle. You can check out a copy from the library.
A Cook County notation on a Social Security Death Index record could mean that a person died outside of Chicago in one of the many communities in Cook County. Depending on where your ancestor lived and died, one of these suburban societies might be helpful:
The North Suburban Genealogical Society
The Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society
The South Suburban Genealogical Society
Remember also to contact the public library and historical society in the Cook County town where your ancestor lived. These local organizations may have information that no one else has.
Finally, if you do have ancestors who lived or died in Libertyville, search our online obituary index to our local paper, the Independent Register. If you find an obituary that you would like a copy of, send a request with the name of the deceased, the date and page of the paper, and an self-addressed stamped envelope, along with $5 cash or check (made out to the Cook Memorial Public Library District), to Sonia Schoenfield, Cook Memorial Public Library District, 413 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, IL, 60048. You can also make the request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and send the payment separately.
Happy ancestor hunting to one and all!