Illinois, Cook County Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Image Visibility

Due to the provisions and guidelines of a newly revised contract with Cook County,  FamilySearch has removed all images for Illinois, Cook County vital records from its historical records collections online; free indexes to the collections will remain.

As part of our new agreement, FamilySearch will receive an additional 4.7 million records for FamilySearch patrons from the over 9 million free indexed records in the Cook County collection. The following collections are affected by the change:

  • Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1922
  • Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers, 1871-1915
  • Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922
  • Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920

Original images can be ordered or viewed through the following mediums.

1.  Microfilm and microfiche from the Family History Library are available via Online Film Ordering in most parts of the world. The film number is included in the source information found on the index of the record. https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Ordering_Microfilm_or_Microfiche  

2.  Illinois, Cook County web site http://cookcountygenealogy.com/  (pay site)

3.  Request a digital copy of items found in the Family History Library  catalog services from the Family History Library (photoduplication). Include source information found on the index of the record in your request.  https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Photoduplication_Services

Record Description

This collection consists of a name index to marriages for Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. It covers the years 1871 to 1920.

For copies of the certificate for this time period please contact Cook County.

Record Content

The following information is found in most Illinois marriage records:

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Ages of bride and groom
  • Town of residence of bride and groom
  • Date license was issued
  • Date marriage was solemnized
  • Name of person officiating at marriage

After 1916, the following information was added:

  • Birth date of bride and groom
  • Full names of parents
  • Employer

How to Use the Records

To begin your search, it will be helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the bride and/or groom
  • Identifying information such as the approximate marriage date (year)

Search the Collection

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the wiki article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s 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. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Not finding your ancestor listed in this database doesn't necessarily mean the ancestor didn't marry in Cook County.
  • Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. 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.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after 1900.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • If you know their religion, search for the marriage in church records.
  • Look for town records of marriages.
  • Search family records such as a family bible.

General Information About These Records

Early records were kept in register books beginning in 1877. By the early 1900s, most events were recorded on pre-printed forms.

Marriage returns were submitted to the county clerk by the minister or justice of the peace who performed the marriage. Most of these records prior to 1871 were destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire. Only a few marriage records exist prior to that date. Couples were not required to obtain a marriage license until 1877. A statewide register of marriages was started in 1962 as county clerks forwarded marriage information to the Illinois Department of Health.  A few marriage records have markers shaped like spades that indicates records with document numbering problems. When searching the collection displays a image with such markings, a second search might yield an unmarked marriage record with a new number without spades.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered. 

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Cook County Clerk. Cook County Courthouse, Chicago.


Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 20 November 2014, at 18:24.
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