Cook County, Illinois

Cook County

Cook County was founded on January 15, 1831 from Putnam County. This county was named for Daniel Pope Cook (1794–1827), politician and first Attorney General of Illinois .

The Cook County Seat is located in Chicago also, the county government website is blog.cookcountygov.com/ .

Areas bordering to Cook County are   Lake County (north), Berrien County, Michigan (east), Porter County, Indiana (southeast), Lake County, Indiana (southeast), Will County (south), DuPage County (west), Kane County (west), McHenry County (northwest)

Cities, Towns & Villages located in Cook County include  Berwyn, Blue Island, Burbank, Bridgeview, Calumet City, Chicago, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Countryside, Des Plaines, Elgin, Evanston, Harvey, Hickory Hills, Hometown, Markham, Northlake, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Cicero.

Townships located in Cook County include  Leyden, Lemont, Hanover, Evanston, Elk Grove, Bremen, Berwyn, Bloom, Barrington, Cicero, Calumet, Proviso, Oak Park, Northfield, Norwood Park, Orland, Palos, Palatine, Lyons, Maine, New Trier, Niles, Stickney, Schaumburg, Riverside, Rich, River Forest, Thornton, Wheeling, Worth.

Cook County vital records can be found at the Illinois Department of Public Health has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Illinois for current fees and application process.

You can search online for Cook County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Illinois Birth CertificateMarriage CertificateDivorce CertificateDeath Certificate Applications to mail.

Cook County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Cook Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Cook Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Cook Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research.

Cook County Societies and Family History Resources

A list of Cook County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

Cook County Courthouse and Government Records


Cook County Courthouse

frequently fail to notice the significance of Cook County court, probate, and land records data as a resource of family history and genealogy details. Buried away in Illinois courthouses and archives everywhere are the dreams and worries of the many Illinois people.

The chances are very good that your forefathers have left a detailed record of at least quite a few facets of their lives in the Cook County court records. Even if your forefathers is not referred to in a Court case, take into account all of the other procedures which may have lead to her or him showing up in court records.

Remember to contact the clerk's office to determine hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics in advance of visiting or asking for information because of in some cases changing contact info. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The records and documents are readily available to interested parties, barring private issues. Most staff will help people in finding the materials, but it's up to the person to perform the researching.

The following indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Cook county. The dates indicated below are the first known records for this county which may include records of land, estates, taxes, vital records, divorces, naturalizations, court records, and so forth. Most of the major records for the county (Cook) were destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871, total record loss (1831–1871) due to a Fire on October 9, 1871.

Remember to contact the clerk's office to determine hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics in advance of visiting or asking for information because of in some cases changing contact info. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The records and documents are readily available to interested parties, barring private issues. Most staff will help people in finding the materials, but it's up to the person to perform the researching.
  • Cook County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: County Building, 118 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60602
  • Cook County Clerk maintains records and issues certificates of vital statistics (birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates) for the entire County.
    • Phone: 312-603-5656
    • Marriage Records: 1856
    • Birth & Death Records: 1871
  • Cook County Recorder of Deeds serves the people of County by receiving, filing and maintaining all records related to real property in our county. These documents range from all types of conveyance deeds, mortgages, releases and assignments, property liens, as well as, assorted federal, state and local liens. The Recorder’s office is responsible for the recordation and storage of plats of subdivision, land surveys and monument records. Many other types of miscellaneous documents are recorded, such as; foreign birth certificates, foreign marriage licenses, and military discharge paperwork to name a few. The Cook County Recorder’s Office has land records from 1871 onward. Prior to 1871, the Chicago Title Insurance Company has pre-fire tract and copy books as abstracted from the original documents filed in the Cook County Recorder’s Office and from the issuance of the first government land patents. The Illinois State Archives has the original documents related to the government land patents. Federal land sale began from the various land offices in Illinois in 1814…”
    • Phone: 312-603-5050
    • Land Records:1871 see above
  • Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court, commonly known as the Circuit Clerk, is the keeper of the files and records of the Circuit Court. The Circuit Clerk's Office retains documents some of which include criminal law, chancery, support, probate, adoption, ect.... A will index survives that begins in the year 1850. The Illinois Historical Records Survey lists a record series titled “Documented Record of Wills,” which begins in 1851 and a series titled “Abstract of Probate Proceedings” beginning in 1861. All other probate records begin in 1871.
    • Address: Archives Department, Rm. 1113, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, IL 60602
    • Phone: 312-603-6601 or 312-603-6628
    • Probate Records: 1871 see above
    • Court Records: 1871
  • Cook County Treasurer's Office is responsible for the statutory duties required as County Treasurer and as Ex-Officio County Collector of Real Estate Property Taxes and Drainage District Taxes for the entire county.

Cook County Links

The following are web links to Family history and genealogy, Records and Resources associated to Cook County. These genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Commercial Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some require a cost. This is simply a collection that has been gathered or submitted. I do not recommend or promote one genealogy site over another. Feel free to provide your own preferred Cook County genealogy or family history affiliated sites.

Cook Co. IL Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Cook Co. IL Books, Newspapers & Publications

Cook Co. IL Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Cook Co. IL Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Cook Co. IL Census Records

Cook Co. IL Cemeteries & Graveyards

Cook Co. IL Church & Bible Records

Cook Co. IL Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Cook Co. IL General and History Websites

Cook Co. IL Military Records

Cook Co. IL Schools & Directories

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