At our recent Genealogy Networking Group, we brainstormed various places we might visit this summer to do some onsite genealogy research. The list below was generated by those who attended this meeting and afterwards I added links to each location’s website for those who might be interested in planning a trip.
We talked about the two most important rules for genealogy research trips:
- Be prepared. Do advance research so you know what is available at each location and bring the tools you might need: flash drive (AKA memory stick or thumb drive), magnifying tool, camera or smart phone, maps, coins for vending/copying machines, notebook, laptop or tablet, paper clips, pens and pencils.
- Be nice to the librarians. This might seem silly and obvious, but try to remember that librarians are very human and more likely to go that extra mile for someone who is kind to them.
Here are the locations for genealogy research that were mentioned in our meeting. It’s not a comprehensive list, by any means, but a good place to start. If you click on each link, you will find information about each location’s collections, how to contact them and the address.
From closest to farthest:
Lake County Genealogical Society—Evergreen Dr. in Vernon Hills Village Hall
Chicago Genealogical Resources list:
Springfield, IL Family History Center:
Illinois State Genealogical Society:
Overview of Illinois repositories and genealogical resources and what they have:
Wilmette FHL—has a great collection of Chicago microfilms
Naperville FHL—has a great collection Catholic archdiocese records
Ethnic genealogical societies in area
Irish American Heritage Center—Fourth Sunday of the month 1-3 has research helpers
Polish Genealogical Society of America (headquarters in Chicago)
Greek genealogy resources from FHL:
Swedish American Museum (in Chicago)
Milwaukee Genealogical Society:
National Danish-American Genealogical Society (in Minneapolis)
Allen Co Public Library–Fort Wayne, Indiana
Madison WI Historical Society:
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society in Racine WI
St. Louis—National Archives—National Personnel Records Center:
Genealogy in Washington, D. C.:
National Archives Washington DC:
Library of Congress Research and Reference Services
Other places of note:
New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston:
Ellis Island (information about conducting family research at Ellis Island):
Don’t forget to visit:
Your ancestor’s public library and court house and the cemeteries where they were buried.
And, the Mecca for genealogists (try to go at least ONCE in your lifetime!):
Family History Library Salt Lake City
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