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Step 1: Identify the Community Area You are Researching
Tip: There is a difference between neighborhoods and community areas in Chicago. Community areas often contain several neighborhoods.
Community Areas vs. Neighborhoods
Read the distinction between community areas and neighborhoods in Chicago. If you know which neighborhood you live in (e.g. Andersonville), find on this page what community your neighborhood is in (e.g. Edgewater).
Chicago Community Boundaries
If you do not know the name of the neighborhood you live in, use the map at the link above to identify your community area. Click the portion of the map near your address and a pop-up will tell you your community area.
Step 2: Read about your Community Area
Tip: This background reading will provide numerous routes you can take to narrowing your research, whether it's toward immigration, architecture, policing, etc. Pay attention to what interests you.
The Chicago 77 by
Call Number: 977.3 ZAN
Step 3: Begin Basic Background Research on the Country of Origin and Time Period
Tip: Use Encyclopedia Britannica for country of origin research and the American Decade eBook series for time period research. Look out for any keyword(s) and phrases that might help you with your research as you read.
Our old friend Encyclopedia Britannica is a great place to go to learn more about the country of origin for your neighborhood's immigrant community. To begin to understand push factors, target your reading in this source to the time period specific to when folks were leaving and headed to Chicago.
American Decades (series)
Browse this collection of eBooks that provide overviews of the U.S during specific decades. In the "Table of Contents" tab, select the desired decade from the drop down menu. Perform a keyword search in the box in the upper right or browse the decade by subject on your desired decade's "Table of Contents" page.