Illinois Funeral Homes
Funeral home records vary greatly in the information they contain. Some give details about the deceased, such as the date and place of death, burial, and birth; names of parents, spouse, and other family members; maiden name; religion; and name(s) of the person(s) paying the funeral expenses. A funeral home record commonly includes a biography or obituary and the names and residences of surviving relatives. Morticians frequently file the death certificate and have a copy of the obituary published in newspaper(s) as requested by the family.
Some funeral home records in Illinois start as early as the 1880s, although many of the earliest records have been lost or destroyed. A funeral home currently in business in the area may have old records, because mortuaries that changed hands or relocated often saved the old records. Some records have been given to local libraries or societies.
Funeral home personnel are generally very helpful and are familiar with the locations of active cemeteries and sextons or caretakers you can contact. Telephone calls or personal visits are generally more effective than letters.
The following two nationwide sources are helpful in finding local funeral homes. Both sources are arranged by state and town:
The American Blue Book of Funeral Directors. New York, New York: Kates-Boyston Publications, 1988. (FHL book 973 U24a.)
National Yellow Book of Funeral Directors. Youngstown, Ohio: Nomis Publications, 1996. (FHL book 973 U24y.) This book also lists mortuary colleges, Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and cemeteries, general hospitals, and daily newspapers.
Most funeral homes are listed in both publications, though there may be some differences. Funeral homes in any area usually have a current copy of one or both of these books.
A few published funeral home records can be found in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search under:
ILLINOIS, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- FUNERAL HOMES
ILLINOIS, [COUNTY]- BUSINESS RECORDS AND COMMERCE