Monday, December 10, 2007

ChicagoAncestors.org

The Internet Scout Report has discovered the Newberry Library's intriguing map-based site ChicagoAncestors.org:
First-time visitors to the site can just go ahead and type in a street
address or browse through the online collections which are culled from a
variety of local institutions. In the "Tools" area, visitors will find
address conversion tools [from the Chicago History Museum],
Chicago City Directory street guides, and a tutorial on researching
Chicago in the period before the fire of 1871. Visitors also have the
opportunity to add content information to this interactive resource
[actually, free registration is required to do this], which it should
be noted is open source.

Genealogists have in the past been known to collect birth, marriage, and death dates without paying enough attention to where these things happened. This geography-centric site is a wonderful antidote. Chicago researchers in particular will appreciate the scanned-in street guides from 1866, 1870, 1875, 1880, 1885, 1892, 1900, 1910, and 1923, and the ability to convert pre-1909 street numbers to today's system. (Of course, at the physical Newberry you can view microfilms of full city directories from these years and many more. Hmm, the family of my wife's first cousin three times removed lived at 346 West Walnut just off Western for a few years in the 1870s; now I know that that became 2344 West Walnut in 1909. I haven't been to check what's there now; let's see, Metrobot's not much help this time, but on the Center for Neighborhood Technology's City News Chicago site it looks like a big two-story building of 1948 vintage covers that address and several more...)

Oh. Sorry. You still here? I was going to say that while ChicagoAncestors has allowed registrants to submit new material since November 2, I couldn't find the help section that would tell you how.

2 comments:

Michael said...

I read you at the Reader, and I'll read you here. Just won't be spending as much time at chicagoreader.com as I used to. It probably won't be around much longer, anyway.

Chicago said...

Harold-
Thanks for visiting the ChicagoAncestors site.

We've added some new help screens, under the "Help" tab, including sections on "creating an account" and "submitting data."

I hope that makes it clearer!
- Jack Simpson, Newberry Library