House History Research

Starting Points

From the Commission on Chicago Landmarks

Your House Has a History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Researching Your Property

Chicago Landmarks
Incldues maps, an architectural style guide, a database of historical properties, and more.


Other Resources

American Contractor Index

Search the index for building permits issued between 1898 and 1912. Complete issues of American Contractor can be found in the Ryerson & Burnham’s microfilm collection.

City News 

Provides general information about residential building in Chicago, including PIN numbers and date of construction. The information included on this site is not always accurate, however it often gives you information that will get you started in your research.

Cook County Recorder of Deeds

This is a searchable database of all property transactions occurring after 1985. The ledger books at the Recorder of Deeds Office will contain all transactions prior to 1985.

Encyclopedia of Chicago

Covers the history of Chicago and its neighborhoods. This site is a good source for maps, and includes an annexation map of Chicago. A print version of the encyclopedia is available in the Reading Room.

The Historic Architectural and Archeology Resources Geographic Information System (HAARGIS) 

Allows users to search Illinois properties that are under the care of the Illinois Preservation Agency. The database includes photos, maps, reports, and other information collected by the agency.