Chicago City Directories

City Directories can be a great source of information on ancestors who lived in the 1800s and early 1900s, especially in big cities where it’s hard to find anything on the average Joe. Ancestry and Fold3 both have a collection of directories for Chicago, but we found recently that the 1910 directory is incomplete in both databases: Ancestry only includes the business/classified pages and Fold3 only has two pages. Talk about frustration!

After a bit of searching, we found another source of Chicago city directories that includes a complete digitized copy of the 1910 volume: the Chicago Ancestors website. Just click on the “Resources” tab and choose the “Streets and Directories” category. You’ll find a link directly to the 1910 Chicago city directory. Hosted by the Newberry Library, Chicago Ancestors has a unique take on researching your Chicago family. Once you’ve gone through the 1910 Chicago city directory, you’ll want to poke around this site and see what else is available.

Back to Chicago city directories, Ancestry has almost a complete run of them from 1900 to 1925 with many, many others before and after. Fold3 has Chicago city directories as well but not as many. Ancestry Library Edition is available for use inside the library; Fold3 can be accessed through Cook Library’s website from home with your Cook Library card.

Happy researching!

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