Illinois Death Certificates (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Each death was recorded on a one-page, preprinted form. Death certificates are intact and extant and are being preserved under good conditions. Some records may have been damaged or destroyed during their transfer to state officials.
Death records include the following genealogical information:
- Dates of death and burial
- Birth date (usually included)
- City, county, and state of death
- Name and location of the cemetery where buried
- State and country or sometimes town and county of birth for the deceased (usually included)
- State or country and sometimes town and county of birth for the parents (usually included)
- Name of the deceased, spouse’s married name, and parents’ names (usually includes the mother’s maiden name)
- Name of the informant (usually a family member; often a son or daughter of the deceased)
- Age in years, months, and days
- Residence or address (usually includes length of time at that residence or length of time in the United States, if foreign born)
- Marital status (single, married, widowed, or divorced)
How to Use the Records
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- The place where the death occurred.
- The name of the person at the time of death.
- The approximate death date.
Compare the information in the death record to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
When you have located your ancestor’s death 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 death date or age to calculate an approximate birth year.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their 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 (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
- Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
- The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried 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.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
Keep in mind:
- The information in these 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 the late 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary
Death records were recorded on the state level from January 1, 1916, to the present. Before this, some death records were kept at the county level beginning in 1877. Although the recording of death records began in 1916, some areas did not comply with the mandate until 1922.
Why This Record Was Created
Deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. Death certificates were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.
The information recorded about the death is usually reliable, including the cause of death, the name of the attending physician or medical professional, the name and address of the funeral home, and the date and place of burial. The accuracy of other information depends on the reliability of the informant, often a family member.
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Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
- Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023
Sources of Information for This Collection:
Illinois Department of Health. Certificates of death. From URL, date accessed or downloaded. Digital identification number if any, certificate number, name of individual, death date.
Illinois Department of Health. Certificates of Death. From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org), September 29, 2006. Certificate 41557, Katherin L. Gentes, Nov. 16, 1925.
- This page was last modified on 19 August 2014, at 20:58.
- This page has been accessed 7,078 times.
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