Illinois, Cook County Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of records that is available for free online at FamilySearch.|
Access and search the records: Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871=1920 .
Collection Time Period
Cook County has recorded marriage records since 1871, the year of the Great Chicago Fire. A few miscellaneous records exist prior to July 1871.
Early records were kept in register books beginning in 1877. By the early 1900s, most events were recorded on pre-printed forms.
Key genealogical facts found in most Illinois marriage records are:
After 1916, the following information was added:
How to Use the Records
To begin your search, it will be helpful to know the following:
Input the information you have into the appropriate boxes on the search screen. This seach usually returns more than one result. Compare the information in the results to what you already know about your ancestors 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 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.
Keep in mind:
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
Remember, not finding your ancestor listed in this database doesn't necessarily mean the ancestor didn't marry in Cook County.
Try these suggestions:
Marriage returns were submitted to the county clerk by the minister or justice of the peace who performed the marriage. Most of these records were also destroyed by the fire in 1871. Only a few marriage records exist prior to the fire. Couples were not required to obtain a marriage license until 1877. A statewide register of marriages was started in 1962 as county clerks forwarded marriage information to the Illinois Department of Health. A few marriage records have markers shaped like spades that indicates records with document numbering problems. When searching the collection displays a image with such markings, a second search might yield an unmarked marriage record with a new number without spades.
The Cook County Clerk's Office issues certified copies of Cook County marriage records for events that occurred in Cook County, Illinois.
Why the Record Was Created
Marriage records were created to legalize marital relationships and to safeguard the interests of the wife and other legal heirs.
Information in these records is usually reliable but is upon reliability of the informant.
Known Issues with This Collection
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Contributions to This Article
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Example of a Source Citation for a Record Found in This Collection
"Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920." database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed March 11, 2011). George H. Carter and Sarah O'Brien, married 18 September 1878; citing Illinois, Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 4,270,566.; Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
“Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920,” index, FamilySearch, 2010; from Illinois Department of Public Health. “Marriage Records, 1871 - present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.