Group Visits for Genealogists

Examining genealogy artifacts.
Visitors examine genealogy artifacts on microfilm.
Genealogy materials viewed on microfilm.
Genealogy materials viewed on microfilm.

Genealogical societies, historical societies, libraries, and other related groups are encouraged to arrange group visits to the Newberry to use the Genealogy and Local History collection. The following guidelines are designed to help your group prepare for a productive visit to the Newberry, one of the premier sites for genealogical research in the country.

Scheduling Your Visit

Due to limited space and microform equipment, the maximum group size is 25 people. To best prepare for and serve your group, and to avoid multiple bookings of groups, we ask that you contact the Newberry as soon as you begin to plan your visit. A two-week notice is required, and a four-week notice is recommended. To schedule a visit, contact Matt Rutherford, Curator of Genealogy and Local History, at (312) 255-3671 or rutherfordm@newberry.org.

When scheduling your visit, you may choose from the following options for your group.

Orientation and tour: In most cases, a Genealogy and Local History staff member will welcome your group in the Newberry’s lobby. All first-time Newberry users and those who would like an orientation will proceed to the third floor to register for reader’s cards and receive a brief orientation to genealogy research at the Newberry. This process usually takes 15-20 minutes.

Lecture, “Genealogical Research at the Newberry Library”: To start your visit, a Genealogy and Local History staff member will welcome your group and present a 45-minute lecture and question/answer session before registering for reader’s cards. This lecture is subject to staff availability; group visit and/or other fees may apply. Staff members may also be available to present this lecture or others to groups in the area.

Other requests will be accommodated when possible.

Preparing for Your Visit

We encourage all members of your group to explore the Newberry’s website before visiting. Pay special attention to the following areas:

For group members who do not have Internet access, a packet of handouts can be mailed to the group’s leader. Ask for these information packets when scheduling a visit.

Day of Your Visit

All group members who do not already have valid Newberry reader’s cards will need to register. The Newberry Library does not charge researchers. At registration, you will be asked if you would like to make a voluntary donation. Throughout the day, assistance is available to all group members both on the third floor at the general Reference Desk and on the second floor at the Genealogy Reference Desk. There is a readers’ lounge on the first floor with tables and vending machines (coffee, soft drinks, chips, candy). Visitors who bring a lunch will need to store it in a locker on the first floor. Lockers cost a quarter, which is returned after use. See Accommodations and Dining for a list of local restaurants.

Further questions? Contact Matt Rutherford at (312) 255-3671 or rutherfordm@newberry.org.