How to Find Illinois Birth Records
Illinois gained statehood in 1816. Statewide registration of deaths began in 1916. General compliance followed in 1922.
Next Step: When did the birth occur?
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:|
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. |
|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:
- FamilySearch.org - 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.
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|
|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.