Celeste, my friend and librarian colleague from Indian Trails Public Library, and a regular participant at our own monthly genealogy program, has made me aware of a newly added database to FamilySearch.
For those of you doing Chicago area research that have Roman Catholics in your ancestral lines, this new database could be the proverbial “goldmine” of information for you.
Here is a link to this exciting new database in FamilySearch:
The name of the database is Illinois, Archdiocese of Chicago, Cemetery Records, 1864-1989. The database is searchable and the search results will be able to link you to images of the record. Please note that you must be registered with FamilySearch and logged in to be able to see the actual image of the burial card. You can search and see the transcribed data without being logged in. The image record is basically a burial card. Here is what you can expect to find on it:
- Name of the deceased.
- Place of death. This could be a home address or I saw a few in my own ancestral line that indicated place of death was a named hospital. It could even be an out-of-state location of death that can give you clues for further research there. However, it does appear that if the person died or lived in the City of Chicago, the naming of Chicago was omitted on the card. I did find cards for those that died who did not live or die in the City of Chicago, that the town or suburb name was included.
- Burial Lot/Grave site Information
- Age of person at death.
- Date of Interment
One major piece of information is NOT on the burial card. The cemetery name is NOT present. You can see the cemetery name by opening up the link from the surname itself or the icon for the “details” data not the icon for the “image”. It will appear there as one of the fields at the end of the record of text information. If you open up either the Surname link itself or the “Details” data link, you will then be able to see an image of the record that you could also open up. Many times you just want to look at the image first and only. If you do, then go back to the “Details” link to see that information that contains the cemetery name.
Also, you will not be able to find information on the most recent 25 years of burials. The data presented only goes through 1989, which for the most part, is still incredibly helpful to go deeper into time. Just remember that when you are looking at your results and you are not seeing the name of someone you know that should have been in this database it could be because they died in the most recent 25 years.
I have only sampled this database for a short time and I do notice it can provide many more leads to your already existing research if you have identified the person and information previously. As an example, I found a Great Aunt in this file for whom I had a good amount of information, including burial location. This person from an obituary was noted as having lived in Algonquin, IL. One could assume the person died in Algonquin. In this case, the burial record noted Place of Death as Elgin, IL. More to pursue. Did she die at an Elgin hospital that was not stated on the burial card?? Did she live in Algonquin but perhaps die at the home of a child in Elgin?? Did they move from Algonquin prior to death??
You may very well discover great pieces of additional information from these burial cards that really contain very little information.
Another random piece of information I noticed written on one of the cards of one of my ancestors just simply said “St. Hedwig”. I know that where the person lived is near that parish name. I was familiar with it. So you might discover a parish that the deceased may have had church ceremonies at. I only saw one of these among 40 that I looked at.
If you have Chicago Roman Catholic ancestral connections, I would suggest you “run” for this file and check it out. Do not walk!! Even as I write this post I can’t stop searching this file for different names I know of in my own research!!
Thank you Celeste for the heads up on this database not only for me personally but also for me being able to share this news with so many others via this blog post.
Schaumburg Township District Library