Ray was born in Chicago and has been a life-long resident of the Chicagoland area. He is also a life-long enthusiast of Chicago history and is a local historian, genealogist, author, and lecturer. He is a former criminal investigator and police instructor with the West Chicago Police Department in Du Page County and upon leaving police work, started his own historical and genealogical research company at www.historycop.com , He has provided research for many other authors, attorneys, family historians, and television shows. He has appeared as a Chicago history expert on The History Channel, Discovery ID, The Travel Channel, and BBC. He has been featured locally for his research on WGN, CBS and in various publications. He has written three books on Chicago history and writes a Chicago History Blog for ChicagoNow which is owned by the Chicago Tribune. Four years ago he started, “Friends of The White City” which is a 501c3 dedicated to educating the public on the significance of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and runs free tours in Jackson Park from May through October on “The White City”.