The Newberry Library in Chicago: www.newberry.org is a non-circulating independent research library. It is also a major repository for genealogical reference material. It is open to the public at no charge. The strength of the library is the “Core Collections” which includes “Genealogy and Local History.”
The Newberry Library has been gathering material for their “Genealogy and Local History” collection since 1887. This includes some 17,000 published genealogies, especially strong for Colonial American and New England families. Their collection of local histories covers all regions of the United States with an entire collection of New England town histories. The British Isles local history collection is also noteworthy, as is their strong collection of county histories from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.
One important part of the genealogy collection is their source materials. It consists of published pre-twentieth century vital, cemetery and county records. These cover the Mississippi Valley to the Eastern Seaboard. The library also houses records from Canada and the British Isles. Another important section is their military records which include all wars, and their Civil War unit histories are among the best in the United States. Other military records include roster and pension reference works. Housed as part of the library holdings are many state and county historical and genealogical periodicals.
Concerning their Irish collections, the library has published its own Irish Genealogy guide to the collections: www.newberry.org/sites/default/files/textpage-attachments/Irish.pdf This four page guide provides the categories a resource will be found and the library reference numbers. The Newberry Library is a repository well worth becoming acquainted.