Last September, I wrote a brief article that stated (in part), "Genealogists researching Cook County, Illinois ancestors will be interested to learn that many of the records they seek will soon be available online." Anyone who has been waiting for those records will be pleased to learn that the prediction has come true: birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates are now online.
The Genealogy Unit of the Cook County Clerk's Bureau of Vital Records provides non-certified versions of birth, death, and marriage records for the purpose of genealogical research. Records found on the site are for Chicago and Cook County, dating back to 1872.
NOTE: The Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871, destroyed all Cook County vital records prior to that date. After some rebuilding, record keeping resumed in 1872.
The site contains:
- Birth certificates that are 75 years or older (before today's date in 1933);
- Marriage certificates that are 50 years or older (before today's date in 1958);
- Death certificates that are 20 years or older (before today's date in 1988).
You might note that the web site states, "More than 6 million of the 8 million genealogy records are already searchable. And we will continue to add more as we bring our database up to date." In other words, not all the records are online just yet.
The marriage licenses show the groom’s name, bride’s name, the officiant’s name, date of marriage, place of marriage, date of issuance, and date filed with the Cook County Clerk’s office. The marriage records do not normally show the names of the parents. Also note that the marriage records show the date the license was filled out, not the date of the marriage, which usually was a few days later. In a few cases where the bride or groom got "cold feet" at the last minute, there is a possibility that the license was issued but the marriage never took place.
The records are not free, however; each record costs $15, plus a credit card fee of $1.75 will be charged for your total order. Once you pay for the record(s) you want, you will be able to view the original records (not transcriptions) on your computer screen. You can also save the images to a hard drive or print them on a local printer.
The Cook County, Illinois, records are available now at: http://www.cookcountygenealogy.com.
My thanks to Maureen Brady for telling about about this valuable new resource.