Illinois Vital Records
|Illinois Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Public Records or the county clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
Vital Records Reference Dates
Illinois' vital records start the following years:
* A few Illinois counties kept birth and death records before this date.
Searching Online Records[edit | edit source]
Some Illinois Vital Records are indexed and can be searched online at sites including the Illinois State Archives, FamilySearch, . After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
- The Global Database Search created by the Illinois State Archives searches indexed databases on their website (free).
- Click on a database from the list of results and enter the name again to locate the record in that database. The search field is at the bottom of the webpage.
- The largest and most useful indexed databases are the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index and Illinois Death Index (1916-1950).
- Online searchable indexes at the Illinois State Archives include a variety of record types including
Birth Records[edit | edit source]
|Name of Child|
|Birth Date and Place|
|Mother's Maiden Name|
|Parents' State or Country of Birth|
Online Birth Records
- 1824-1940 Illinois Births and Christenings, 1824-1940 at FamilySearch. Index — How to use this collection
- 1871-1915 Cook County Birth Registers, 1871-1915 at FamilySearch. Index — How to Use this Collection
- 1871-1940 Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
- 1877-1940 Most entries were indexed from microfilmed county records. 28 counties are missing from this index (Aug 2014). For a list of counties included, see Coverage Table
- 1842-1872 Indexed from Illinois births, prior to act, excluding Chicago: 1842, 1849-1872, microfilmed records. See FHL film 1992052 (first of 6 films)
- 1824-1940 Includes entries indexed from church records or submitted by individuals.
- Cook County Illinois Historic Vital Records at Cook County Genealogy Online. Index
Births 75 years or older
Birth Records Timeline
- 1843 Legislation, a parent could report a birth to the county. However, very few births were recorded in only a few scattered counties.
- 1877 The State Board of Health required all births be reported to the county clerk, although many were not reported because compliance was not enforced. 
- 1916 Statewide registration of vital statistics began in 1916 and was generally complied with by 1922.
- These usually give the name and sex of the child; the names, birthplaces, and ages of the parents (with the mother’s maiden name); the occupation of the father; and the number of children born to the mother.
- Birth records of adopted children may give the birth parents but have frequently been amended to show only the adoptive parents.
- 75-year restriction on obtaining birth records for deceased persons. Exception: immediate family members.
- Request a special form from Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records.
|Click to a county for more records and ideas.|
Delayed Birth Records[edit | edit source]
Delayed registrations of births were made when the individual applied, usually as an adult. An advantage is that they had to provide evidence to support the birth, which often included the testimony of a close relative or a church or Bible record.
The records can be located in the county where the birth occurred or the county of residence in the state when the individual applied for the delayed birth record. Some delayed birth records can also be found at Illinois Regional Archives Depository System (IRAD) depositories and the Family History Library (FHL).
- Adams County, delayed birth card index, ca. 1868-1915
- Ogle County, Delayed birth index and delayed birth certificates
- Piatt County, Delayed birth records for Piatt County, Monticello, Illinois, ca. 1875-1945
Marriage Records[edit | edit source]
|The county clerk usually kept marriage records from the time the county was organized. A few records date from the 1790s.|
The counties continue to record marriages to the present day and only county clerks can issue certified copies of the marriage certificate.
A statewide register of marriages was started on 1 January 1962 as county clerks forwarded marriage information to the Illinois Department of Public Health. For a fee, the Division of Vital Records can search their statewide register and provide the marriage date and county for couples married after 1962.
Online Marriage collections
- Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900 at Illinois State Archives. Index only. (Free)
- Sources include original county clerks' marriage records and publications of county genealogical societies and private individuals.
- Provides groom, bride, date and county as well as information for contacting the county for a copy of the record.
- Get copies of records from IRAD (can request by phone and receive records within approximately one week at a cost of $1/page) or via the county clerk in the county where the marriage occurred. It is generally faster, easier, and cheaper to obtain records from IRAD.
- Illinois Marriages, 1763 - 1900 at MyHeritage ($) index
- United States Marriages – Illinois, 1587-1959 ($) index
- Illinois, County Marriages, 1800-1940 at Ancestry, ($), Index
- Illinois County Marriages, 1810-1934 at FamilySearch; Index and images — How to Use this Collection
- Illinois, Marriages, 1815-1935 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
- Illinois, U.S., Civil Marriages, 1833-1889 at Ancestry.com, Index only, ($)
- Illinois Marriages to 1850 at Ancestry. Index ($)
- Illinois Marriages, 1851-1900 at Ancestry. Index ($)
- Illinois Marriages, 1790-1860 at Ancestry. Index ($)
- Marriages to 1930 (Catholic) at FamilySearch, Diocese of Belleville Parish Registers — How to Use this Collection
- Cook County Marriage Licenses at Cook County . (Free index, $ for images)
- Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
When an Illinois eloping couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like Crown Point, IN, or South Bend, IN, or Evansville, IN, or Lee County, Iowa Genealogy. Also check counties that "neighbor" the home county.
Death Records[edit | edit source]
Death records are available in the following:
Online Death Records
- Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre-1916 at Illinois State Archives. Index only. (Free)
- IRAD holdings, with instructions on obtain records from them are included
- a list of Counties and date spans currently included
- Illinois Death Records and Indexes at Deathindexes.com.
- Illinois Deaths, before 1916 at MyHeritage - index ($)
- 1749-1999 Illinois Deaths and Burials, 1749-1999 at FamilySearch; index, some images — How to Use this Collection
- 1850-1880 Illinois Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 at FamilySearch; index and images — How to Use this Collection
- 1878-1994 Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
- 1916-1950 Illinois Death Certificate Database, 1916-1950 at Illinois State Archives. Index only. (Free)
- 1916-1947 Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947 at FamilySearch. Index — How to Use this Collection; also at Ancestry, Index ($)
- 1916-1950 Illinois Deaths, 1916-1950 at MyHeritage ($)
- 1935-2014 United States Social Security Death Index. Index — How to Use this Collection also at Ancestry, MyHeritage, and Findmypast.
- Cook County Illinois Historic Vital Records at Cook County. (Free index, $ for certificates)
- -1956 Illinois, Diocese of Belleville, Catholic Parish Records at FamilySearch. (Free)
Fetal Deaths Parents can request a copy of a "Certificate of Birth Resulting in a Stillbirth." A "Fetal Death Certificate" is issued and you must have a direct connection to the fetus, or written authorization from a family member
|Name of Deceased|
|Death Date and Place|
|Age or Birth Date and Place|
|Mother's Maiden Name|
|Name of Spouse|
Death Records Timeline
- 1843 Legislation, members of a family could report a death to the county. However, very few deaths were recorded and only a few scattered counties have incomplete records.
- 1877 The State Board of Health required all deaths to be reported to the county clerk, although many were not reported because compliance was not enforced.
- 1916 death records were mandated by the state with copies sent to the state capital. Compliance to this law reached 95% by 1919.
- These may give additional information, such as the city or town of birth, the informant (who may be a close relative), and the length of residence in the state or county.
- Sometimes burial information, the cause of death, and the names of the physician and mortician are provided.
|Click to a county for more records and ideas.|
Cause of Death[edit | edit source]
- Causes of Death - use this resource when trying to interpret a disease or medical condition listed on a death record or certificate
Divorce Records[edit | edit source]
In the early 1800s, the legislature, the circuit courts, and city courts granted divorces. Illinois divorce records may indicate the date and place the marriage was dissolved. Circuit or city courts have handled most divorce proceedings. The Superior Court of Cook County in Chicago also has jurisdiction over divorces.
The actual records before and after 1962 are available in the county where the divorce occurred. Contact the county clerk of the circuit court for certified copies of dissolution of marriage records. Click here for a list of the circuit court clerks. For a fee, the Division of Vital Records can verify the dissolution of marriages after 1961 if the husband's last name is known. Some divorce records are also available from the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System (IRAD) and the FamilySearch Catalog.
Adoption Records[edit | edit source]
Start with Vital Records[edit | edit source]
It is usually best to start a vital records search using one of the online links listed above. Original records were officially recorded in the county (except for those recorded in Chicago). Links to county pages appear in the box at the end of this article. Statewide vital records are available at the following locations:
- The Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records (birth and death records)
- Illinois Regional Archives Depository System (IRAD): IRAD is run by the Illinois State Archives to archive records from local governments in Illinois. There are seven depositories covering the state. Click here to see what records are available for the county you are searching.
- The Family History Library (FHL): See the Illinois Vital Records topic page of the FamilySearch Catalog . Explore how to search the FamilySearch Catalog. Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be viewed at the Family History Library and some family history centers.
- Learn how to order IL vital records at GenealogyInc and U.S. National Centers For Disease Control.
Additional Helps[edit | edit source]
Tips[edit | edit source]
- Information listed on vital records is given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record. The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
- If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial. A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths. Other substitute records.
- Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
Burned, Lost, or Missing Records[edit | edit source]
For a list of record loss in Illinois counties see the following:
- Burned Counties Research in FamilySearch Wiki
- Michael John Neill, Burned Counties in Family History Circle
Alternative Records[edit | edit source]
These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage and death records.
- Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.
- Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships.
- Census Records: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.
- United States Social Security Administration Records: The SSDI indexes deaths for those who had social security numbers and the death was reported to the Social Security Administration. Most records start in 1962.
- Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices. Also check newspaper social columns for additional information.
- Obituaries: Obituaries found in newspapers can list the age of the deceased, birth date and place, death date and place, and names of living relatives and their residences.
- Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contain abstracted early birth, marriage and death information.
- Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information. In addition, soldiers' homes records can included this same information.
- Probate Records: If no death record exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.
- History: Local histories, family histories and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the FamilySearch Catalog.
More Online Illinois Vital Records Links[edit | edit source]
- USGenWeb.org Illinois Site - Free
- Illinois databases Illinois State Archives - Free
- GenealogyBuff's records from various funeral homes: Northwestern Illinois Obituary and Death Notice Collection from the northwestern counties of Illinois, including Carroll, Whiteside, Jo Daviess, Rock Island and Henry Counties; Northeastern Illinois Obituary and Death Notice Collection from the suburbs of Chicago and Joliet areas; Southern Illinois Obituary and Death Notices Collection from the southern counties of the state of Illinois. - Free
- German Roots Links for Illinois Birth and Marriage and Death Records - Free/($) This site includes all vital records, not just those of German descent.
- Linkpendium links for Illinois Vital Records - Free
- Ancestry databases for Illinois Vital Records and related records - ($)
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
References[edit | edit source]
- Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/ accessed 8 January 2011).
- “United States Fetal Death Records,” Lake Superior Roots, v 29, no 2. (Marquette, Michigan: Marquette County Genealogical Society, 2016), 11.
- Schweitzer, George K, Illinois Genealogical Research (Knoxville, TN: George K. Schweitzer, 1997)
You can learn more about state and county vital records as well as the laws of Illinois affecting them in:
- Schweitzer, George K. Illinois Genealogical Research. Knoxville, Tennessee: Geo. K. Schweitzer, 1997. Includes types of records, research procedures, and county listings. Available at many libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 977.3 D27s.
- Walsh, Diane Renner. Research in Illinois. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2007. Available at many libraries (WorldCat); FHL Collection.
- Find Illinois Vital Records resources available at many libraries (WorldCat). Explore how to search WorldCat.
[Category:Illinois Vital Records]]