Genealogists researching Cook County, Illinois ancestors will be interested to learn that many of the records they seek will soon be available online. This beats the old method of ordering by mail or traipsing down to a musty office in Chicago's Loop. If all goes as planned, newly digitized versions of county records such as birth and death certificates and marriage licenses will be available beginning in January.
The Web site is part of a massive yearlong effort to digitize the county's 24 million vital records, which date to 1871, when record-keeping began after the Chicago Fire wiped out previous stockpiles.
Scanning and indexing each record was completed in June, and the county is uploading about 1 million files per week into a server, a process that is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Documents available online will include birth certificates that are at least 75 years old, marriage certificates more than 50 years old, and death certificates more than 20 years old. No Social Security numbers will be available on the online documents.
For more information, you can read an article in the Chicago Tribune, written by Jason Meisner, at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/west/chi-digital07sep07,0,1385623.story.