Here are links to sites hosting free Chicago city directories online. No complete set of Chicago city directories exist. But an impressive number have been digitized. And these directories are great substitutes for records lost in the Chicago Fire and the 1890 census fire.

For links to other free Chicago resources, click here.

Please note: This list features free resources. Ancestry, MyHeritage and other subscription genealogy sites also hold directories that are not listed here. And let me know if you find dead links!


For a list by dates of digitized Chicago directories at FamilySearch, click here. Following are some uncommonly titled directories in the FamilySearch holdings that may not show up on a simple search:

Chicago Ancestors at The Newberry Library

Each directory is divided into several sections. Click on the year and then each section to download PDF files.

free chicago city directories bonton


Chicago Blue Books, Social Registers, Business Directories, and Reverse Directories for following years:

  • 1844
  • 1867
  • 1875
  • 1879
  • 1880
  • 1881
  • 1883
  • 1885
  • 1886
  • 1890
  • 1899
  • 1902
  • 1904
  • 1905
  • 1906
  • 1907
  • 1908
  • 1909
  • 1910
  • 1912
  • 1913
  • 1914
  • 1915
  • 1916
  • 1917
  • 1918
  • 1919
  • 1921
  • 1922
  • 1924
  • 1933
  • 1965
  • 1987
  • 1990
  • 1991

Of note: Black’s blue book; business and professional directory; a compilation of names, addresses and telephones of all Chicago’s colored business and professional people, 1918.

Don’s List – Chicago City Directories and Blue Books

Chicago City Directories 1844186618671869187018711873

Reverse Directory of the Elite of Chicago 1875, 1880, 1883

Blue Books 18851890-1915

Lakeside City Directories 1892189619001913

Chicago Jewish Community Blue Book 1918

Hathi Trust Digital Libraries

Blue books, city and business directories, social directories, church directories, telephone directories. Note: access to some titles may depend upon membership at a particular library.

Linkpendium’s Cook County and Chicago City Directories

Links to city directories for towns and cities in Cook County at this leading genealogy research portal.

Genealogy Trails

A typescript of this 1844 directory. Only genealogists can really appreciate the frustration in this introduction:

The basis for this work was Chicago’s first Directory of 1844… a careless and indifferent canvass made during 1843-August to December, by James W. Norris, and issued in December of that year.

One of the publishers, William Ellis who did the presswork of that volume, has been dead several years; the other is still here, and as he set the type, he knows how much he did for it and how much worse it would have been had he followed copy…

…As he later discovered, sailors were made tailors, and tailors sailors, names were spelled at and locations guessed, etc.; in fact, the names of many prominent men were entirely omitted, or as inserted might as well have been, as those for whom they were intended could not recognize them.

Other Internet Resources for Chicago City Directories

For more information on directories at free and subscription sites, consult Chicago Ancestors. Cynthia Richardson’s great tutorial on Chicago city is very helpful.

Know about other free Chicago city directories online to add to this page? Links not working? Click here to let me know. Happy searching for those Chicago ancestors and may all your tailors stay tailors!