Chicago research can feel daunting, but no worries. We're here to help.
Doing your own research? Check out the research tutorial pages. They will teach you much of what you need to know to be successful. And, if you have a quick question, ask.
Need help retrieving documents? Reach out my colleagues listed in the Record Retrieval Services section of this page.
Need to hire a genealogist? Check out the Research Projects section of this page and contact me. If I think I can be of help, I will offer a proposal and quote. If I think another Chicago researcher is best suited to your needs, I will refer you.
I am a long-time record-gathering hobbiest who is making strides toward aquiring strong research skills. This website speaks to my understanding of Chicago records. These samples of my work speak to my current level of proficiency: Narrative | Proof | Pioneer Application.
I do not consider myself to be a polished professional, but I am making strides toward becoming one. I completed the eighteen-month ProGen Study Group experience and recently had a contest submission titled "James Ayer Smith: Hatter and Furrier" published in the Chicago Genealogical Society Quarterly.
Here's what you can expect, if you hire me for your project:
1) We will work together to agree on a narrowly-focused research question. If your goal is broad, we will break the research down into small, manageable, measurable steps.
2) I will take a close look at what you know before we begin. I will ask you to share any documents or stories that you have that might provide clues for answering the research question.
3) I work on one project at a time. You may need to wait a short time before I'm able to begin your research, but once I do, it will receive my undivided attention.
4) I never promise that I will be able to answer a research question. But, I do promise that I will work hard to find answers and that I will provide a carefully-written report to document the research that I do.
5) I will keep you informed of my progress.
For more information about setting up a project, please see my chicagogenealogy) profile on Genlighten. ~ Cyndy
Chicago vital records research should be straightforward, but it's not. The various groups of records are available online from FamilySearch, from microfilm in Wilmette and Salt Lake City, from IRAD at NEIU, from Springfield and, of course, from the Cook County Clerk's office online, in person, and by mail. And, the price for some records can vary from $0 to approximately $17, depending on how they're obtained. If you have a question about the best way to get what you need, email message Cyndy (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help.
Molly (mollykennedy) has access to a statewide collection of newspapers in Springfield and if anyone can find what you need, she can! See her Illinois Obituary Research offering on Genlighten for more information. $7.75/search.
Send Kim (kimstankiewicz) the PIN, legal description, and/or address, and she'll search the Tract Books for you. $35/hour.
If you have a Soundex card from the Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950 listing Circuit, Superior, County, or Criminal Court, Steven (jolietgenealogy) or Kim (kimstankiewicz) can provide you with digital images of the matching record OR you can get a paper copy for $3.00 by contacting the Archives.
Juli (julic) can search a unique database. If she finds a match, she will provide you with a copy of the "petition to adopt." $75 for a successful search; no charge if she doesn't find a match.
If you have specialized research needs at repositories like the Newberry Library or Chicago History Museum and want to hire a local researcher to help, check out Genlighten's list of Chicago-area genealogists to find someone who has the expertise you're looking for. Fees range from $28-$40 per hour.
Curious to read all the great things clients have said about Amanda, Cyndy, Juli, Kim, Molly, and Steven, the six research providers mentioned here? Visit their Genlighten profile pages (linked above) and scroll down to check out the feedback clients have left for them.
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