Illinois Vital Records

Illinois Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Illinois regarding a person’s most important life events. These records include such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates and are compiled and stored in a permanent central registry that state entities use to develop statistical analysis of its population.

Birth Records

A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the birth or to a certified copy or representation of the original document. Three-time categories organize the birth records in the state of Illinois: early-1877, 1877-1916 and 1916-present. In 1843, the legislature required a parent to report the birth of a child to the county. However, very few births were recorded in only a few scattered counties. In 1877, the State Board of Health required all births be reported to the county clerk, though many were not reported because compliance was not enforced. All the records from that time were collected from the county offices and clerks. The state of Illinois signed a law requiring statewide registration of birth records in 1916 and was generally complied with by 1922. From that time, birth records have been managed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Division of Vital Records.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The state of Illinois manages death records in the following categories: early-1877, 1877-1916 and 1916-present. All records in the early-1843 category were collected from Illinois county and clerks offices. First, the legislature required relatives to report a death the county. Then in 1877, the State Board of Health required all deaths be reported to the county clerk, though many were not reported because compliance was not enforced. The state instituted statewide registration in 1916, and since then all death records have been mandated by the state and copies have been sent to the state capital.

Marriage/Divorce Records

A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. The county clerks of the state of Illinois usually kept marriage records from the time the county was organized; a few records date from the 1790s. The only change in recording and registering the marriage records is that in 1877 pre-printed marriage register books in Illinois provided columns for ages, residences, birthplaces and sometimes the names of the parents or guardians of the bride and groom. A statewide register of marriage records began on 1 January 1962 as county clerks forwarded marriage information to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?

In late 1800, the Illinois State Legislature passed a law named the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. This law was enacted with its last changes made in July 1984 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: Illinois FOIA Procedures. Every person throughout the state can request access to all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.

What Does Vital Records Access mean to You?

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee the public is provided access to public records. The law was first enacted in 1984, but the latest law was enacted in August 2009 and went into effect on 1 January 2010.

Illinois State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (773) 832-5217

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Name
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Illinois Washington County Courthouse 1818

Illinois Washington County Courthouse 1818

  • State Archives hold over 1,000 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: appellate and circuit/ trial.
  • There are 24 judicial circuits in the state, each comprising one or more of Illinois' 102 counties.
  • The Illinois Appellate Court has fifty-four judges serving five districts
  • The highest Court in Illinois is Illinois Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court of Illinois is the state supreme court and consists of seven justices including a chief justice
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