Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ancestry.com Now Has Sam Fink's Index Online!

If you aren't in the habit of researching records in Cook County, Illinois prior to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, then the term "Sam Fink Index" probably means nothing to you. Click here to access (you must have a subscripton to Ancestry.com to access the images).

Here is an idea of what the Sam Fink Index is and why it is important:
Marriage records with the word FINK in the license field were transcribed from a microfilm copy of the typescript Chicago Marriage and Death Index compiled by Sam Fink. Mr. Fink's compilation of pre-1872 marriages was an attempt to recover information about early Cook County marriages lost in the Great Fire of Chicago on October 8–10, 1871. The index includes the names of the bride and groom, the date of the marriage and the newspaper in which the marriage appeared.
The Sam Fink Index was microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and a copy of this microfilm is located at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. The only additional information that this depository can provide is the name of the newspaper in which the marriage appeared. Information entered into the Sam Fink Index was transcribed from the following Chicago area newspapers:
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Evening Journal
Chicago Democrat
Chicago Evening Post
Chicago Record–Herald
Chicago Daily News
Chicago Examiner
The Inter-Ocean
(see http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/fink.html).

Until recently, a researcher had to visit their IRAD location or another repository like The Newberry Library to access this index on microfilm.  Now, thanks to Ancestry.com, the Sam Fink Index is part of their new database Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1833-1889.

This is big news for Illinois and Cook County researchers - hopefully online access to these records will help break down some brick walls!

© 2011, copyright Illinois State Genealogical Society

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