Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947
This article describes a collection of records at
Illinois, United States
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Flag of Illinois
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Location of Illinois
Record Description
Record Type Deaths and Stillbirths
Collection years 1916-1947
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in This Collection?

This collection includes death and stillbirth records for the state of Illinois from 1916 to 1947.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Death certificates may contain:

  • Deceased’s full name
  • County and city in which death took place
  • Address where death occurred
  • Sometimes the voting ward of that place
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Birth date
  • Age at death
  • Date of death
  • Occupation
  • Employer
  • City and state of birthplace
  • Name of the informant providing the above information
  • Filing date
  • Name of the registrar

Collection Content

The collection contains one page pre-printed death certificate forms filled in by hand or typed. Deaths were not generally recorded at the county level until 1877, although the practice was not universal before 1916. Some records existed in cities prior to 1877. A 1915 statute provided for the first effective system of registration of deaths and stillbirths in Illinois. It required the State Board of Health and county clerks to record these events. In 1919 the Illinois Department of Public Health was established as the successor agency to the State Board of Health. Deaths that were recorded prior to 1 January 1916 can be found at the county clerk’s office. Death records beginning 1916, with a statewide index from 1916 to the present, are available from the Illinois Department of Health, Division of Vital Records.

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date of death
  • The place where the death occurred
  • The names of family members and their relationships

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the death date or age to calculate an approximate birth year
  • Use the birth date to search for a birth record
  • Search for the family in census records
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent Repeat this process for each new generation you identify

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
  • Consult the Illinois Record Finder Table to find other records

Citing this Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Illinois Death and Stillbirths, 1916-1947." Database. FamilySearch. : 14 June 2016. Public Board of Health Archives, Springfield.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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