Illinois, Cook County Deaths - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
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 Death Index
Collection years 1878-1994
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Cook County Clerk, Illinois


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

This collection consists of a name index to deaths for Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. It covers the years 1878 to 1939 and 1955 to 1994. Early records were kept in register books beginning in 1877. By the early 1900s most events were recorded on pre-printed forms.

Legislation in 1819 required physicians to record births and deaths for their practices. Then, the physicians transmitted the information to their medical society which published the information in the newspapers. In 1843, a law was passed where relatives of a deceased person could appear before the clerk of the county commissioner’s court and report information regarding the death. The recording of vital records was voluntary until 1877 so few births and deaths were recorded. A fire in 1871 destroyed the Cook County Courthouse and nearly all previous records housed there. The few existing originals that were created by the county clerk may be found in the county clerk’s office or in one of the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD).

In 1877, the State Board of Health was created to supervise registration of births and deaths. All births and deaths were to be reported to the county clerk by physicians. However, many were still not registered because the penalties for non-compliance were weak. In 1915, the state of Illinois gave the responsibility of recording births and deaths to local registrars who reported the information to the county clerk and the State Board of Health (now known as the Illinois Department of Public Health). By 1919, it is estimated that 95% of the population was recorded in the vital records.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

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]

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Name of deceased
  • Gender and race of deceased
  • Age of death in years, months and days
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death and duration of illness

  • Occupation of deceased
  • Marital status
  • Nationality and place of birth
  • Place of burial
  • Name and address of reporting doctor

After 1916 the following information was added:

  • Names of parents
  • Birthplace of parents
  • Date of burial
  • Name of informant
  • Employer

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

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person
  • The date of death and where the death occurred

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting 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.

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

Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Look at the actual image of the record, if you can, to verify the information and to find additional information.

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

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in census records
  • Search for other vital records, such as births and marriages
  • Search for church, land, and probate records
  • Search for an obituary or cemetery record

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

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names
  • One possibility why a person might not be found in the death records database is because there are missing certificates in this collection. The absent certificates are identified throughout the microfilm with a card stating the missing numbers. Since the actual certificates are absent from the microfilm they could not be indexed
  • Use alternative indexes
  • Contact the Cook County Clerk's Office

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

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

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

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.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.