Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths (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

Record Description

This Collection will include records from 1916 to 1947. As of June 2014 it is still an index only, with no images.

The record consists of one-page pre-printed death certificate forms filled in by hand or typed.

Deaths were not generally recorded at the county level until 1877, although the practice was not universal before 1916. Some records existed in cities prior to 1877. 

A 1915 statute provided for the first effective system of registration of deaths and stillbirths in Illinois. It required the State Board of Health and county clerks to record these events. In 1919 the Illinois Department of Public Health was established as the successor agency to the State Board of Health. 

Deaths that were recorded prior to 1 January 1916 can be found at the county clerk’s office. Death records beginning 1916, with a statewide index from 1916 to the present, are available from the Illinois Department of Health, Division of Vital Records. 

Record Content

Information that Illinois death certificates may contain:

  • County and city in which death took place
  • Address where death occurred
  • Sometimes the voting ward of that place
  • Deceased’s full name
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Birth date
  • Age at death
  • Date of death
  • Occupation
  • Employer
  • City and state of birthplace
  • Name of the informant providing the above information
  • Filing date
  • Name of the registrar

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

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 on-line article [FamilySearch Tips and Tricks].

Using the Information

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.
  • Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • 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.
  • Information pertaining to death is usually reliable. This includes the cause of death, name of the attending physician or attending medical professional, name and address of the funeral home used, and the exact date and place of burial. Other information is dependent upon the reliability of the informant, often a family member.
  • 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.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary.

Related Websites

Follow this link to the Illinois State Archives for information on obtaining death records.

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, Death and Stillbirths, 1916-1947." Index or Index and Images or Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Public Board of Health Archives, Springfield.


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 Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 20 November 2014, at 16:53.
  • This page has been accessed 36,161 times.