Welcome to the Official website of Cook County, Illinois Trails!


My name is Susan Cook and I am your new host for Cook County Illinois Trails History and Genealogy. I hope to add new data on a regular basis to assist you in researching your ancestors.

If you have data you would like to share, you can submit the information by
emailing me.

Where to write for records and other helpful information

COOK COUNTY, situated in the northeastern section of the State, bordering on Lake Michigan, and being the most easterly of the second tier of counties south of the Wisconsin State line. It has an area of 890 square miles; population (1890), 1,191,922; (1900), 1,838,735; county-seat, Chicago. The county was organized in 1831, having originally embraced the counties of Du Page, Will, Lake, McHenry and Iroquois, in addition to its present territorial limits.

It was named in honor of Daniel P. Cook, a distinguished Representative of Illinois in Congress. (See Cook, Daniel P.) The first County Commissioners were Samuel Miller, Gholson Kercheval and James Walker, who took the oath of office before Justice John S. C. Hogan, on March 8, 1831. William Lee was appointed Clerk and Archibald Clybourne Treasurer. Jedediah Wormley was first County Surveyor, and three election districts (Chicago, Du Page and Hickory Creek) were created. A scow ferry was established across the South Branch, with Mark Beaubien as ferryman. Only non-residents were required to pay toll.

Geologists are of the opinion that, previous to the glacial epoch, a large portion of the county lay under the waters of Lake Michigan, which was connected with the Mississippi by the Des Plaines River. This theory is borne out by the finding of stratified beds of coal and gravel in the eastern and southern portions of the county, either under lying the prairies or assuming the form of ridges. The latter, geologists maintain, indicate the existence of an ancient key, and they conclude that, at one time, the level of the lake was nearly forty feet higher than at present. Glacial action is believed to have been very effective in establishing surface conditions in this vicinity. Lime stone and building stone are quarried in tolerable abundance. Athens marble (white when taken out, but growing a rich yellow through exposure) is found in the southwest. Isolated beds of peat have also been found.

The general surface is level, although undulating in some portions. The soil near the lake is sandy, but in the interior becomes a black mold from one to four feet in depth. Drainage is afforded by the Des Plaines, Chicago and Calumet Rivers, which is now being improved by the construction of the Drainage Canal. Manufactures and agriculture are the principal industries outside of the city of Chicago.

Below is a list of data we currently have online.  We appreciate your patience while we restore this County.
More will be coming soon!

Where to write for records and other helpful information


City of Chicago Map 1886






Album of Genealogy

Cook Co., Illinois 1897

Biography of Nathan K. McGill
First African-American Assistant Attorney General

St. John's Evangelical Church



Chicago's First Election
List of Voters

The 1850 Mortality Schedule


1883 Pensioners of Cook County
Coming Soon!

The Chicago Record Herald
November 16, 1910

Crime in the 1860s

Swedes in Chicago

Swedish Newspapers in Chicago

The First Presbyterian Church

Graduates of Rush College Medical School


Rush Grads 1860-66

Rush Grads 1866-1870

Fort Dearborn Massacre

Also see our New
Northwest Territory Database!


1898-1921 & 1921-1934
Blue Island Meeting
Hyde Park Meeting

Monthly Meetings

1901 History of  Chicago

Chicago's North Side

Coming Soon

1880 Census
Free Online Searches
Offsite Link

The American Fur Company
History and List of Employees 1818-1819

Misc. Births

Family Bibles


Coming Soon

The 1844 Chicago Directory

(offsite link, requires PDF viewer)

Coming Soon

Cook County Funeral Homes

Chicago Institutions

The Chicago Eye and Ear Institute 
History and Names!

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

1944 Obituaries From The "Oak Leaf" Newspaper

Cook County Obituaries and Deaths

The HayMarket Riots

Northwestern University's Homicide in Chicago
Great info and lots of Databases

Return To The Northern Trails Index

Visit the Illinois Trails Military Database

Includes Cook County Folks

Visit the Illinois Trails State Database

Prisoner Register, Mining in Illinois and Much More!

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