About Our Society

SSGHS is based in its research library at 3000 W. 170th Pl., Hazel Crest, IL.  60429 – 1174
The telephone number is (708) 335-3340.
SSGHS is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

The History of SSGHS:
South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society was organized in February of 1968 under the name of South Cook and North Will Counties Historical and Genealogical Society.By 1973 there was a library of some type with Thelma Kohlberg in charge of the books, which were kept at her house.

In 1975 the Society moved from one of the modular buildings at Thornton Community College to quarters in the Roosevelt School building in South Holland.  Custom built library shelves and tables were donated by Edith Degenhart.

In 1979 the library benefited from two large donations of books and periodicals.

In 1983 books were inventoried and a value of $43,000 placed on them.

We began a serious quest for a new home early in 2003.  Preliminary inquiries about sites had begun years earlier.  By May we had found a new home in Hazel Crest and after renovations it was open for business on June 2, 2003.

Librarians who have served the Society include:

Thelma Kohlberg
Margaret (Peggy) Poe Laird
Joan Alguire
Alice DeBoer
Paula Malak

Our library currently houses over 14,000 books, periodicals and microforms.  In addition to those items, we have CDs, maps, directories and special collections manuscripts.  The current librarian is Laurie Coolidge.

The Purposes of SSGHS:

To collect, preserve and publish historical and genealogical materials and records of south Cook County and east Will County.
To encourage and foster the research and study of genealogy and local history.
To develop and maintain a genealogical and historical research library.

The Services of SSGHS:

Meetings, classes and workshops.
Research in Special Records, including the Pullman Car Works Personnel Records.
Speakers’ Bureau.
Cemetery Photo Service  – SSGHS photographers will take photographs that you request of tombstones located in our area of interest.  We can also provide photographs of buildings or other landmarks of interest to you.
Pioneer Certificates – A very nice memorial gift to your children, grandchildren, or others to honor your ancestors.
WWII Harvey Letters – Do you have roots in Harvey, Illinois?

The Projects of  SSGHS:
Obituary and Cemetery Indexes
Local census readings for SSGHS quarterly, Where the Trails Cross
Reading, recording and publishing tombstone data from area cemeteries
Special publications featuring SSGHS research
Collecting local church and town records


President: Patty Higgins
First vice president: Shirley Koelling
Second vice president: Kathy Wellington-Nassios
Corresponding Secretary: Patty Robinson
Librarian/Recording Secretary: Laurie Coolidge
Treasurer: Mary Ann Boggs


Phyllis Drewno

Charles Ranlett

Carole Kopera

Carole Magnuson

Nancy Fiore

Nadine Mack

Kenneth Carlborg

Linda Swisher

Thomas Mackowiak

Paula Malak

Donna Work

More about SSGHS

SSGHS: A “home” for those interested in genealogy, family history, and the history of our area. The Society’s prime area of interest is the 20 townships of southern Cook County and eastern Will County with its total population of 1,000,000 and the adjoining Chicago communities of Roseland, Pullman, and Kensington.
Within this geographic area, we continue to provide a center where genealogists, beginning and advanced, can share their enthusiasm, growing knowledge, and family search problems and solutions.
Our library facilities with meeting rooms close at hand—all in the Hazel Crest Municipal Center—provide bright and functional quarters where we may engage in these activities.

Our core programs: library, Pullman, programs, publications, and outreach/education.
Our library now includes more than 14,000 books and related materials—CD’s, microforms, pamphlets, and other research materials. While the emphasis of the library collection is on our prime area of interest, we have considerable materials on northwestern Indiana, downstate Illinois, and the rest of the United States as well as general how-to-do-it genealogical books. The library is open from 21 to 26 hours a week.
The Pullman collection is located immediately adjacent to the library. This contains 200,000 employee files covering 50 years of the operations of the Pullman Corporation. Our monthly schedule of programs operates from February to November. There are no General meetings in December and January.  During the year our mix of programs of genealogical and historical subjects included programs on Research into African-American Genetic Genealogy; The Alpha Wreck Odyssey (an Indiana Dunes shipwreck with possible ties to the Underground Railroad); Do-It-Yourself Photo Restoration Basics; Jane Reed – How does the genealogist/historian prove a story of murder, deception, and revenge in frontier Ohio of 1820?; and Favorite Genealogy Websites.
Our schedule of publications includes 11 monthly newsletters (February through November with a combined December-January issue), our quarterly publication Where The Trail Cross, and special publications such as First Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery (Blue Island-Alsip), the result of reading of tombstones conducted by SSGHS volunteers.