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Illinois Genealogy Resources

Chicago and Cook County

Vital Records (Birth, Marriage and Death)

The Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the Cook County Court House and the official documents which were recorded and filed prior to that date. Compulsory recording of vital statistics did not begin until January 1, 1916 in Illinois.  Cook County, however, has a large percentage of registered. births, deaths, and marriages.
  • Alquire, Joan L. Some Cook County Marriages Prior to the Fire. South Holland, Illinois: The South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society, 1981. Contains abstracts of 423 marriage licenses issued prior to the 1871 fire. Available on microfilm through the Family History Library.
     
  • Birth Certificate Index, 1893-1926. Wilmette Historical Museum.
     
  • Chicago Board of Health. Chicago Deaths 1871-1933. 13 microfilm reels. An alphabetical listing of Chicago and Cook County deaths obtained from documents returned to the clerk. The index was compiled by the Works Progress Administration, and is arranged alphabetically by surname.
     
  • Chicago Board of Health. The Board maintains vital statistics for Chicago only. Birth records from 1955 to the present and death records from 1961 to the present are available for a fee at the Board.
     
  • Chicago Genealogical Society. Chicago Ancestor File: 1974-84. Records of over 10,000 Chicago residents contributed by more than 1,250 of their descendants, compiled and indexed by the Society. A copy can be obtained from the Society. More recent data is being published in The Chicago Genealogist.
     
  • Chicago's Irish Families, 1875-1925.  This database is a collection of records regarding many of the Irish families who made their home in this city between 1875 and 1925. Newly updated to add over 5,000 entries, information provided includes births, marriages, and deaths, often including names of relatives. Taken from a wide variety of sources, including local histories, parish records, local newspapers, and cemetery inscriptions, this can be an extremely helpful database for those researching Irish-American ancestors. Ancestry.com subscription product.
  • Cook County Genealogy Online.  Online birth, death and marriage records available online from the Cook County Clerk's Office.
     
  • Cook County Public Records.
     
  • Chicago Official Death Record. (As transcribed from the Chicago Tribune - December 1907). Genealogy Buff.
     
  • Cook County Birth Index, 1871-1916. Is available on microfiche at the Newberry Library, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository in Chicago, and various area Family History Centers.
     
  • Cook County Birth Records.  Cook County USGenWeb.
     
  • Cook County Death Index, 1871-1916. Is available on microfiche at the Newberry Library, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository in Chicago, and various area Family History Centers.
     
  • Cook County Death Records. Cook County USGenWeb.
     
  • Cook County Marriage Index, 1871-1916. The family History Library holds a microfilmed marriage index from Cook County that covers the years 1871 to 1916 for grooms and 1878 to 1916 for brides. The film is available at some of the area Family History Centers and through the Newberry Library.
     
  • Cook County Marriage Records. Cook County USGenWeb.
     
  • Cook County Vital Records.  Excellent overview of records and sources from Newberry Library.
     
  • Cook County Vital Statistics. This site offers information and application forms for birth, death, and marriage certificates for Cook County.
     
  • Cook County (Illinois). County Clerk. Chicago Death Certificates, 1878-1915. 655 microfilm reels. The certificates are divided into 4-month periods and are arranged numerically. A microfiche index is available to locate the proper certificate. Many certificates are missing or filmed out of sequence.
     
  • Cook County (Illinois) County Clerk. Death Record Indexes, 1871-1916. 70 microfiches. Index to the certificates above.
     
  • Cook County (Illinois). County Coroner. Coroner's Death Records, 1879-1904. Microfilm. The records are for each month and are arranged alphabetically by surname.
     
  • Death Notices from Lithuanian Newspapers, 1900-1979. The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago. Available on microfilm from the Family History Library.
     
  • Death Records Database. RootsWeb.
     
  • Dziennik Chcagoski Death Indexes, 1890-1971. This online index is a compilation of death notices appearing in the Dziennik Chicagoski, Chicago's Polish daily newspaper, for the years 1890-1929.  The Polish Genealogical Society originally published indexes for the years 1890-1929 as a series of four books, which are available for sale by Polish Genealogical Society of America and available at many libraries in the United States.
     
  • Gross Point Register of Permits to Dispose of Human Body, 1902-1919. Wilmette Historical Museum.
     
  • Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003. Ancestry.com subscription product.
     
  • Hollowak, Thomas. Index to Obituaries and Death Notices appearing in the Dziennik Chicagoski. 1890-1929 in 4 volumes. Served Chicago's Polish community. At the Newberry Library, Call # Local History Ref F548.9 P7 H65 1984 through F548.9 P7 H653 1991 (2nd floor open shelf). See also online version above.
     
  • Husband, Lori. Deaths in the Chicago Defender, 1910-1920. Park Forest, Illinois: L. Husband, 1990. (Newberry # Local History Ref F548.5 .H87 1990 (2nd floor open shelf).

  • Illinois, Cook County Marriages 1871-1920 - Name index and images of marriage licenses and returns recorded at Cook County, Illinois - including the City of Chicago - 865,669 records as of 26 April, 2010. FamilySearch.org.
     
  • Illinois Statewide Death Index (1916–1950). An index created by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinois Death Index Before 1916 (partial) includes a Cook County death index for 1871-1915.
     
  • Johnston, W. Wesley. Researcher's Guide to the Pre-Fire Records of Chicago and Cook County. Springfield, Illinois: Wesley W. Johnston, 1982.
     
  • Marriage Records Database. RootsWeb.
     
  • Marriage Records Project. Illinois State Genealogical Society.
     
  • Marriages in the Chicago newspaper  1884, partial. Illinois USGenWeb.
     
  • Marriages listed in Chicago newspapers  Partial, 1879, 1882, 1884, 1892, 1894-1895, 1903. Illinois USGenWeb.
     
  • Newbill, Leona Hopper. Cook County, Illinois Marriage License Records 1870-1880. A typescript with bride and groom index. Available on microfilm through the Family History Library.
     
  • Novak, Joe. The Denni Hlasatel Obituary Index. 1891-1995 in 2 volumes. Sugar Grove, Illinois: Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois, 1996. Served Chicago's Bohemian community. At the Newberry Library, for 1891-1970, Call # Local History Ref F548.9 .B67 N679 1996 (2nd floor open shelf) and for 1971-1995, Call # Local History Ref F548.9 B67 N6792 1997 (2nd floor open shelf).
     
  • Online Vital Records Indexes. Wilmette Historical Museum.
     
  • Polish Marriages in Chicago through 1915. Marriages in Catholic parishes in Chicago compiled by the Polish Genealogical Society of America.
     
  • Sam Fink's Chicago Marriage and Death Index. Compiled by a Chicago researcher from Chicago newspaper death notices covering 1833 to 1889 and Cook County death records from 1878 to 1884. Also included are pre-Fire marriage notices 1833-1871. Information for the index originated in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Evening Journal, Chicago Democrat, Chicago Examiner, Chicago Evening Post, Chicago Record Herald, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Examiner,  and the Inter-Ocean. It is available on microfilm at the Newberry Library, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository in Chicago, and various area Family History Centers.
     
  • U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880. Ancestry.com subscription product.
     
  • Vital Records Projects. Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists. Indexes to births (1900-1920), deaths (1900-1926) and marriages (1900-1920)
     
  • Wilmette Death Certificate Index  1913-1953. Wilmette Historical Museum.