Ancestry Sisters specializes in Chicago Genealogy

Ancestry Sisters specializes in Chicago Genealogy and comprehensive genealogy research anywhere in the US, Canada, Ireland, Europe and more.  We provide affordable research, often hundreds of dollars cheaper than any large genealogy company.  Yet our attention to detail, communication skills with our clients, and knowledge for how to find your family is often superior to many companies.

Currently, we have an Introductory Offer of $50 for the first 2 hours of research or for an analysis of your DNA results. 

Below are recent testimonials from some of our clients:

Gerald & Jane P. - Aurora, Illinois
'This source of genealogy research is the best I have found in 10 years. They work fast and efficient and are very reasonable about what they charge. I have spent thousands with other researchers in the last ten years and Ancestry Sisters have done much more for far less. They are a five-star genealogy researcher.'

Jason - Indiana
'I came to Ancestry Sisters for help after I had found my birth mother via Ancestry DNA and was getting nowhere with searching for my birth father on my own. (My birth mother refused to tell me who my birth father was.) Unlike my birth mother DNA matches, I was basically only working with the distant relative connections on from my DNA test, which was very confusing and I was unable to piece it together by myself. Ancestry Sisters worked their magic and in about a day they were able to build out my family tree that gave me the name of my birth father (later verified by my birth mother), even though it was a very complex tree to build based on multiple marriages of previous generations. I don’t know exactly how they do it but I highly recommend Ancestry Sisters if you are lost, stuck or just plain needing help.'

Professor Laura H. - Chicago, Illinois
'I found Ancestry Sisters after searching through accreditation websites, since their accreditation was important to me. However, once you use that filter and find someone who has the appropriate area of expertise, how do you know whom to use? Ellen was sensitive to our family’s private matters, and investigated the information with a determination as if it involved people very close to her. She was creative and innovative in her process and as excited as I was when we uncovered another kernel of data about our past. On top of everything else, she is wonderfully responsive which, when one is breathlessly awaiting each tidbit of news, can be the tipping point in my decision about which genealogist to choose. I want someone who cares about this search almost as much as I do, and Ellen makes you feel as if she shares your excitement with each click of an email. Working with Ellen of the Ancestry Sisters was not simply a process of doing my family’s genealogy on behalf of some family members, but instead opened new windows of history for me and my family that we did not know would be so easy to unlock. It has been a fun and exciting adventure together.'

Barb - Kansas
'Ancestry Sisters helped me find my birth mom through DNA testing and created my family tree on the Ancestry website. After contacting my half-siblings, I have now met my birthmother's family. Ellen at Ancestry Sisters is thoughtful, encouraging, and helped me through my doubts and concerns or I may never have had the courage to connect to my newly found relatives. I can never thank her enough! Sincerely, Barb'

Marsha T. - Chicago, Illinois
'I searched the Association of Professional Genealogists' website to find a professional genealogist. I was looking for someone with knowledge in Chicago and Ireland. I found the perfect match -- The Ancestry Sisters. I had gathered quite a bit of information on my own, but their ability to find in-depth Chicago information was astounding. Parishes in Chicago are extremely important, as they are in Ireland. They have an excellent understanding of the nuances involved in reviewing Irish information. They were able to gather a great deal of new information and also enhanced the information I already had. This made my family history more complete. But more than that, they helped make my family history richer.'



How to Save Your Tree from Ancestry.com to Your Personal Computer. Don't Lose Any of Your Hard Work !

We have been working with Ancestry.com trees for many years, and have tips for how to save all of your hard work so that you don't lose any records.  Also, you want to take ownership of everything you find.  This includes Media, such as Census Records, Vital Records, and Military Records through the Ancestry.com Collections.


  • If you build a tree on Ancestry.com, you can only research their collections if you pay for a membership.  Also, if you cancel your membership at a later date, you will not be able to open up these saved Ancestry.com documents until you pay again.  It will only show the Citation.
  • The good news is that any photo or document that you personally upload to an ancestor's profile page (in the gallery section) is yours to view any time.  
  • We recommend that you buy the software program Family Tree Maker (FTM) and sync your tree, with all the media attached, to your hard drive.  Once you do that, it is yours forever.

  • If you hire a genealogist to build out your family tree, and they own your tree on their Ancestry.com account, you should have them download the tree (with media) to their own FTM software.  Once they do that, then you can give them your Ancestry.com Login and Password and have them Upload the Tree to YOUR Ancestry.com account.  

  • The tree will now exist in your Account, with the media.  You can then follow the step above to sync this tree to your personal FTM software on your hard drive.
  • If you export a GEDCOM file of your tree, the media does NOT come with it.  That is why syncing to the FTM software is key. 
  • The Media is one of the most important things for you to make sure you retain for future generations.  



Uhlich Children's Home in Chicago

 Our latest research project included the search of records from the Uhlich Children's Home in Chicago from the 1950's.
This collection at the Chicago History Museum consists of 13 boxes of documents and ledgers. While most of the records relate to administration paperwork, there are some documents that pertain to specific children that were admitted to the home.
The Uhlich Evangelical Lutheran Orphan Asylum was first established in 1869 as a home for German American Orphans. If you have family that spent time at the home, it might be worth the time to look at this collection to see what you can find.
http://www.spucc.org/timeline/1871-1916
http://digitalcollection.chicagohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16029coll6/id/164







Genealogy Research Gift Certificates from Ancestry Sisters


Ancestry Sisters are professional genealogists who conduct Local and Global Genealogy Research.  We have 2 offices located in Chicago, IL & Peoria, IL  

Our specialties include research in the US, Ireland, Canada, England, Eastern Europe and Western Europe.  We have extensive knowledge in Mayflower & DAR Research, Adoptions, knocking down Brick Walls, building detailed Family Trees, DNA for Genealogy, Document Retrieval, NARA Research, Missing Heirs and more. 

Most recently, we finished a 3 year project with former producers of the show "Who Do You Think You Are", and discovered an adoptees mother using DNA.

Please visit our website at www.ancestrysisters.com, or email us at ancestrysisters@gmail.com.  Ancestry Sisters are members of the Association of Professional Genealogists. 

Our clients are the most important part of the journey and we look forward to working with you.


CHICAGO ADOPTION RECORDS

If you or a relative was adopted in Cook County, here is how you go about requesting the original adoption case file.


  1.  Write a letter to the Clerk of the Circuit Court
  2.  In the letter, indicate the information you want and why you are requesting it
  3.  Explain your relationship to the adoptee
  4.  Provide the adopting parent's names and the year (as close as you can) to when the adoption took place.
  5.  Include a copy of the original birth certificate if you have it.
  6. I would also include a copy of the adoptees death certificate to prove they are deceased.
  7.  Include a notarized copy of your photo ID with current information on it.
  8.  Include a check payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County in the amount of $18, and an additional $9 if you want a certified copy of the judgment order.
  9.  Mail the request to 
    • The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
    • Richard J Daley Center
    • 50 West Washington Street
    • Room 1202 - County Division
    • Chicago, IL  60602
    • on the front of the envelope, write "Attention Adoption Unit"

Upon receipt of the letter, the clerk will look for the file.  Once found, they will send the court file along with your request to the presiding Judge for review.  The Judge's office will follow up with any additional correspondence.

Update - I am hearing that sometimes Cook County sends the request back and denies the claim based on closed adoptions.  I can't explain why they would do this when other cases have been opened.  Please make sure you call out that you want a judge to open the records since the child was born before 1946.  If all parties are deceased, call that out on the request.  

Below is the image of the document that Cook County gave me on how to submit for such a search.




Adoptees: Using DNA and Social Media to Find Your Birth Parents



About 18 months ago, I was contacted by an adoptee who had been trying to find her birth parents since 1984.  To start your search at the age of 30 and keep up the hunt for another 30 years must be the ultimate feeling of resignation and wonder.  Yet thanks to the emerging science of using DNA by adoptees, and a creative use of Social Media, I am thrilled to say that she now knows who her birth mother is and has 5 new siblings.  The icing on the cake is that she also knows her lineage brings her to the Sokolov region of the Czech Republic. 

How did we do it?

We were presented with the only documents that she had gathered over the years – the original birth certificate from Chicago, adoption papers and a letter from Catholic Charities.  The OBC had a mother’s name, but the father’s name was filled in with the words “legally omitted”.  The other small clues given to us by Catholic Charities were that the mother was 23 years old, from a small town in Wisconsin and of Czech descent; while the birth father was of Irish descent.  That was all I had to work with.

Thus, I began by setting up a tree and searching for quite some time to find any females born in Wisconsin with the given name from the OBC.  After finding a few candidates with this name, sadly I was able to locate all of them and cross them off the list.  It became apparent that some facts within the OBC were falsified, if not all of them (which is very common).  The address on the Birth Certificate didn’t help us either because it led us back to a former location for Catholic Charities.  These dead ends meant that DNA was more important than ever.

So we patiently waited to get her DNA results back from Ancestry.com, which confirmed that 44% of her DNA was Eastern Europe, 20% Ireland and 15% Western Europe.  However, the closest match was a 3rd – 4th cousin.  3rd cousin matches means you probably share the same 2x Great Grandparent, and 4th cousins mean you probably share the same 3x Great Grandparent.  Because that takes us back over 150 years, you then must forward reconstruct the tree on all branches to find a candidate for a parent.  With limited clues, and the daunting # of branches, this makes it difficult to pinpoint a family of interest. 

After waiting an entire year, we finally got a 2nd cousin match.  Now it gets interesting because as I set up the tree for this match, it became clear this person was 100% Czech from the Chicago area.  I was on a roll, setting up all branches and building it back with helpful records from the Cook County Illinois area – Naturalizations, online vital indexes, Chicago Tribune Obits, and more.  But as I got back to the 1930 era (when the birth mother was born), I found one Great Uncle to our match that was living in a very small town in Wisconsin (population was less than 1000).   And this Great Uncle had a daughter born in 1928, who was of high interest.  All fitting to our Catholic Charity clues.  If this is our mother, we know this DNA match is a perfect 2nd cousin match to the adoptee.

Since this family was the only one found living in a small town in Wisconsin, I urged our adoptee to reach out to the children of this woman of interest.  I found the birth mother’s obituary that named her children and spouses.  Thus, I was able to locate a daughter thru Facebook.  It is thru this initial contact that she began to communicate with the family.  Eventually, they offered to take a DNA test so we could determine a relationship.  When the results arrived, Ancestry predicted a “Close – 1st Cousin” Match.  To confirm these findings, I downloaded the Raw DNA for both the adoptee and the potential sister, and then uploaded it to GEDMATCH where we performed a 1 to 1 comparison.  The results showed that they shared 29% of their DNA.  This is a perfect range for sisters that share one parent. 

It is only because of the generosity of this potential sister that we were able to confirm the birth mother.  Now this part of the journey is over for the adoptee and a new journey begins to get to know her new-found family.  

And oh yes, we still need to find the birth father.  The search never truly ends……………




Chicago Missing Heirs Research

Below is our new Facebook page about Missing Heirs Research in Chicago.  We have conducted Missing Heirs Research for several years and would be happy to help with your probate case.  Please contact us if you need help in searching for Missing Heirs in Chicago, the state of Illinois or the United States.

https://www.facebook.com/Chicagomissingheirsresearch/

Thank you.

Ellen and Elizabeth