Illinois Archdiocese of Chicago Cemetery Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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Collection Time Period

These records begin as early as 1864 and go through 1989.

What is in the Collection?

The Archdiocese of Chicago covers parishes in Cook and Lake counties. The records are 95% in English with the remaining 5% distributed in Czech, Latin, German, and Hungarian.

Collection Contents

Illinois Chicago Catholic Church Registers (08-02720) Burial DGS 4232747 480.jpg

The records include the following:

The death and burial records include:

  • Name of deceased
  • Death date
  • Burial dates and places
  • Age
  • Cause of death
  • Residence

In addition, they may also list the following:

  • Birth year
  • Names of children
  • Mortuary or undertaker

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know the following:

  • The person’s name.
  • The approximate burial or death date.

To search the collection by name:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors 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 compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the birth date or year to search for birth records.
  • Use the birth date along with relative’s names to find the family in census records.
  • Use the locality and relative’s names to locate church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral 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 been buried in the same cemetery or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. 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.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby cemeteries.

Additional Information About These Records

Church records in the United States began in the early 1600s. They can be found in the churches, church archives, or university archives. They normally record christenings, confirmations, marriages, and deaths.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in the world. Traditionally Catholic records have been kept at the parish level, so a majority of records will be found at the church where the event transpired.  Older Catholic records and records of defunct Catholic parishes have often been moved to archives, historical archives or university libraries.

To know who were members, Churches were required to record the date a person was baptized in the Christian religion. Many churches also recorded the date of birth along with the date of baptism. Churches were also required to record the burial and marriage dates of the members of the local congregation. Only some churches performed confirmations and were required to record the names of those that were confirmed members of the church.

Church records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the priest or a clerk appointed by the priest, who usually recorded an event at or very near the time it occurred.

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How You Can Contribute

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 Records.

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


Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

“Illinois, Archdiocese of Chicago Cemetery Records, 1864-1989,” Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Archdiocese of Chicago.


Image Citation

The image citation will be available once the collection is published.