How to order Illinois Vital Records

Illinois Birth, Marriage, Divorce as well as Death records, generally known as vital records, provide you with information about significant events in your ancestors life. Vital records, normally held by a civic authority, can provide a person an even more complete picture of your ancestor, help you differentiate between two people utilizing the identical name, and allow you to locate links to a completely new generation. They might consist of information like the occasion date and place, parents’ names, occupation and residence. The cause of death is also included in most Illinois death records.

Illinois vital records really are a foundation of Illinois ancestors and family history research because they were typically recorded at or close to the time of the event, making the record more likely to be reliable. This web page includes links, details that will help you obtain copies from Illinois state and county vital records keepers. Vital records (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) mark the milestones of our lives and are the foundation of family history research.

Illinois Division of Vital Records, issues, documents, and stores certified copies of vital records including birth, marriage, divorce death certificates for occurrences that took place in Illinois.  To verify current fees or for information on how to expedite a document, call (217) 782-6553.

  • Ordering Illinois Birth and Death  Certificates: The Division of Vital Records has Birth and Death Certificates from January 1916 to present. The fee for a birth certified copy is $15 and a certification is $10. The Fee for a death certified copy: $19 and a genealogical copy is $10. Earlier records and for copies of State records since January 1916, write to County Clerk in county where event occurred. The fee for the copy varies.
  • Ordering Illinois Marriage and Divorce Certificates:  The Division of Vital Records has Marriage and Divorce Indexes from January 1962 to present. Certified copies are not available from Division of Vital Records office. The fee  is $5 for index verification. Certified copies of marriages are located with County Clerk in county where license was issued. Certified copies of divorces are located at the Clerk of Circuit Court in county where divorce was granted. The fee for the copy varies.

How to Order Illinois Vital Records

Background of Illinois Vital Records

Records of marriage were kept on the county level from the time when the county was formed, in most cases. However, most counties did not begin recording deaths and births until 1877. It wasn’t until 1916 that all counties consistently recorded those records. There may be some records available of deaths and births before 1877, but they are few and far between. In 1941 the “Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Illinois” was published by the Works Projects Administration (WPA). It lists each county’s available records as of that time. An index to Illinois marriage records from 1763 to 1900 can be found at the Illinois State Archives. Each county’s recorder can also supply copies of marriage records from that county.

Any deaths or births that were recorded before January 1, 1916 were recorded in the recorder’s office of the given county. That office should be contacted for those records. However, many records can also be found through IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depository). Researchers should check with IRAD to see if its holdings include the records of interest.

From January 1, 1916 onward, all deaths and births were required to be recorded at the Illinois Department of Public Health and the county recorder’s office in the county where the event took place. The Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records or the county recorder’s office can supply copies of those records. Deaths that occurred after January 1, 1916 until about 1950 have been places in a statewide online index. It can be found on the website for the Illinois State Archives and is called simply “Illinois Death Certificate Index.” The Illinois State Archives is also currently working on creating an index of deaths that took place before 1916. However, recent death and birth records, as well as some earlier records, may be restricted for privacy.

The county clerk of the court holds divorce records for the county. Researchers may also find it useful to know that 400 divorces took place in Chicago around 1868, after the Civil War ended.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has divorce and marriage record indexes on file that cover 1962 to the present day. However, copies of those records can only be obtained from the original counties where the events were recorded. State records are not available to individual researchers. Some Illinois county courthouse records, especially from the southern part of the state, can be found on microfilm at the Illinois State Archives. IRAD Centers can also give researchers access to those records. Researchers may also submit information requests in writing to the IRAD Coordinator, Illinois State Archives.

Searchable Illinois Databases and other Helpful Links

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