Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers, 1871-1915
This article describes a collection of records at
Cook, Illinois, 
United States
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Flag of Illinois
US Locator Map Illinois Cook.PNG
Location of Cook County, Illinois
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Location of Illinois
Record Description
Record Type Birth Registers
Collection years 1871-1915
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Cook County Clerk. Cook County Courthouse, Chicago

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection is an index to birth records in Cook County, Illinois, from 1871 to 1915.

Before the early 1900s, most records were kept in ledger books. After that, preprinted forms were used to collect information.

In 1819 a law was passed that required doctors to record births and deaths. The doctors then transferred those records to their medical society, who then published the data in newspapers. By 1843, a new law allowed relatives to report the death of a family member by appearing at the county court. Because that change was voluntary, few births and deaths were recorded until 1877.

In 1871 there was a fire in the Cook County courthouse. The fire destroyed the building and nearly all records stored there. The surviving records may be found in the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD). An IRAD link is found on the bottom right of this page.

The Illinois Board of Heath was created in 1877. Its purpose was to record births and deaths. It was doctors who reported these vital events, but it was not consistent.

In 1915 the responsibility for recording births and deaths shifted to registrars in local areas within the state of Illinois. By 1919, 95% of the Illinois population was documented in state records.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

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For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

Birth records may include the following:

  • Child’s name
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Order of birth
  • Parents’ names (including mother’s maiden name)
  • Parents’ ages
  • Parents’ birth places
  • Father’s occupation
  • Name of doctor/midwife and his or her address

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date of birth
  • The names of the child's parents

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s birth record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the parents. This is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the records to identify siblings and other relatives who may have been born in Cook County. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
  • If you know their religion, search for a church record

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Illinois.

Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]

Related FamilySearch Historical Record Collections[edit | edit source]

Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]

Citing this Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.