How to Find Illinois Birth Records

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How to Find United States Birth Records Gotoarrow.png Illinois Gotoarrow.png Illinois Births

Illinois gained statehood in 1816. Statewide registration of deaths began in 1916. General compliance followed in 1922.

Next Step: When did the birth occur?

Choose a time period to search for your ancestor's birth record:

Learn more about U.S. Birth Records

Births before 1877

Before 1877, only 30% of the counties in Illinois recorded birth records. Search Illinois, Births and Christenings, 1824-1940 to see if your ancestor's birth record was included. If not, you will need to search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s birth date and place.

  Records that give birth information:
Death Records
Cemetery Records
Church Records
Military Records
Return to top: Choose another birth year

Births between 1877 and 1916

In 1877, Illinois required all births be reported to the county clerk; however, many were not reported because compliance was not enforced. The statewide registration began in 1916 with full compliance by 1922.

STEP ONE: Find Death Information

Try these databases.
Indexes Only.
Database Link or links to access database
FamilySearch, Illinois, Births and Christenings, 1824-1940 Free, index to birth, baptism and christening records. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers.
FamilySearch, Cook County, Birth Records Birth Registers, 1871-1915; Free, Birth Certificates, 1878-1922 Free
Ancestry, Cook County, Birth Index, 1816-1935 Free using Ancestryinstitution at FamilySearch Centers $, Use your own Ancestry subscription
Cook County Historical Society, Birth Certificates, 1871-1937 Free; but requires registration
Illinois State Archives, Carroll County, Birth Certificates, 1877-1913 Free
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

There are two options:

  • - If the indexed information contained a GS microfilm number you can order the microfilm from the Family History Library.
  • Individual County Clerks - If there is no GS microfilm number available, or if you cannot gain access to the microfilm, you may contact the county clerk where your ancestor was born and order a copy of the birth record.
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Births after 1916

The Vital Records office of the Illinois Department of Public Health has copies of births from 1916 to present day. Anything before 1916 must be obtained from the county clerk's office in the county where the birth occurred.

Obtain the Certificate

To Order Birth Certificates
County probate judge's offices Vital Records office of the Illinois Dept of Public Health
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Has an expedited service on Vital Chek May be more expensive than ordering from the county

See restrictions below to find if you "qualify" to order a certificate. You must have full name, exact date and place of the birth to order from the Illinois State Department of Public Health. If you do not have the exact information, a search can be conducted for a fee. Contact the Vital Records Office for more information.

Restrictions to qualify for certificates of persons born within the last 75 years:
To obtain a copy of the certificate, you must be:

  • The person on the certificate
  • The parents shown on the certificate
  • A legal guardian or legal representative of the child. Written evidence of guardianship or legal representation is required.

If you do not want to order the birth record, there are other records with birth information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another birth year

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