Illinois Genealogy Records with Birth Information

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Recording births by county officials did not start until 1877 in Illinois and 1916 by state authorities. Yet there are many records which have birth information into the 1700's.

The following chart lists those records, with the approximate years of birth covered by those records. (See explanation below the chart)

Illinois Records with Birth Information
Types of Records
Birth Years Covered*
Birth Information Included
Military Records (Men only) 1750's-early 1900's Pensions: Name • Birth date (month, day, year) • Birth place (town or county and state) Many Revolutionary and Civil War pensioners were in Illinois. Service records: (Civil War) often give birth date and place.
Censuses before 1850 1770's-1840 Name of head of the household • Age groups for males and females (helps estimate birth year) • Residence (where the parents lived about the time the child was born)
Cemeteries (Most existing records 1850's-present) 1790's-present Name • Married or maiden surname of a woman (seldom both) • Birth date (usually month, day, year)
Censuses 1850-1870 1770-1870 Name • Age • Gender • Birth place (state or nation)
Marriage records (started at county creation) 1800-1990's Name • Age (sometimes birth date, other times only "of age" or "minor") • Place of birth often in later records
Censuses 1880-1940 1810-1940 Name • Age • Gender • Birth place (state or nation). Also has: Relationship to head of household • Parent's place of birth (state or nation) • 1900 census gives month and year of birth.
Obituaries (popular since 1870's) 1800-present Name • Birth date (usually month, day, year) • Birth place (usually town or county and state or nation) • Names of parents • Often mother's maiden surname • Living relatives (spouse, children, siblings)
Death records (County) (started 1877) 1807-present Name • Age at death (may give exact birth date) • May give: Place of birth • Names of parents (sometimes maiden surname of mother)
Church records 1820's-present Churches vary greatly in the birth information they record. Most include: Names of members • Baptismal or christening date • Age at baptism • For children, names of parents
Death records (State) (started 1916) 1846-present Name • Exact birth date • Age at death • Place of birth (state or nation, often town or county) • Names of parents (usually maiden surname of mother) • Informant's name and address (often a spouse, child, or other close relative)
Newspapers (started early in populated areas) 1870's-present Early Birth announcements often provided only names of parents, their residence, and gender of the child.
Birth records (County) (started 1877) 1877-present Name • Birth date (Month, day, year) • Birth place (town or county) • Names of father and mother • Often gives maiden surname of mother
Birth records (State) (started 1916) 1916-present Name • Month, day and year of birth • Birth place (town or county) • Names of father and mother, usually giving her maiden name
How the Birth Years Covered were calculated

1) Started with the date each record type began
2) Then estimated about 70 years for the oldest persons included in the record type

Obviously, there were a few who were older, while most were much younger than 70.
Death records, for example, started in 1877. A 70-year-old person who died in 1877 would have been born about 1807.
Marriages, on the other hand, were more often for people between 16-30 years of age.

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