Genealogical Research Illinois State Archives
Most Illinois counties did not begin recording births until 1877. Birth records prior to 1916 were recorded only by county clerks. Beginning in 1916 county clerks and the Department of Public Health jointly maintained birth records. The Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system holds birth records for many counties in Illinois. Search the IRAD local governmental records database for the term birth to get a listing of all birth records held by IRAD. Researchers may contact the county clerk's office in the county where the birth occurred if IRAD does not have birth records for that county. For births after 1915, researchers also may contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records.
Please provide the individual's name and date(s) of the census; county and, if known, township of residence and spouse's and children's names, ages, and birthplaces. Copies of original census entries will be provided.
- 1810-1860 – The Archives has indexes covering territorial censuses (1810, 1818; R.S. 100.008), decennial federal censuses (1820-1860; R.S. 951.001 through 951.005) and existing state censuses (1820-1845, 1855; R.S. 103.002 through 103.008) for this period. All state censuses and federal censuses prior to 1850 list only the names of heads of household with family members indicated by simple tallies. Beginning with the 1850 federal census, all family members are listed under the head of household.
- 1865 – This final state census (R.S. 103.010) currently is indexed only partially. County and township residences are necessary for efficient searches. Searches of unindexed townships with populations exceeding 2,500 cannot be performed because of limitations on staff research time. Again only the names of the heads of households are given.
- 1870 – The Archives has a published index to this census (R.S. 951.006), providing access to heads of households.
- 1880 – An index to this census (R.S. 951.007), available as a CD edition, has been created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Unlike the old soundex system, this database allows for a wide variety of searches, including all of the names entered on the census.
- 1890 – This census was destroyed by a fire in 1921 and consequently is not available for research.
- 1900-1920 – The 1900 (R.S. 951.027), 1910 (R.S. 951.028), and 1920 (R.S. 951.029) censuses can be searched by the names of the heads of households.
- 1930 – Illinois' population schedules are available at the Archives as microfilm (R.S. 951.030). As no index for this census is available, Archives staff members do not have sufficient time to conduct name searches. Visiting patrons are invited to consult this census themselves.
The Archives has records of deaths recorded in special census schedules and death records maintained by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records. The Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system has death records, including those prior to 1916, for many counties. If you are unable to visit the Illinois State Archives Reference Room for death certificates after 1915, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health or the county clerk's office of the county where the death occurred. In compliance with current legislation, the Illinois Department of Public Health and county clerks shall furnish for genealogical purposes certified or uncertified photocopies of death records not less than 20 years old at a specified fee (410 Illinois Compiled Statutes 535/25).
- Mortality Schedules – The Archives houses federal mortality schedules for 1850, 1860, 1870 (Kendall-Woodford counties only), and 1880 (R.S. 951.019 through 951.022) . The 1850, 1860 and 1870 schedules have been indexed. These schedules show only those deaths that occurred during the one year prior to the census enumeration. In order to conduct efficient searches Archives staff need a specific name, the approximate death date, and the county where the death occurred.
- 1877-1915 – Most Illinois counties did not begin recording deaths until 1877. Death records prior to 1916 were recorded only by county clerks. Beginning in 1916 county clerks and the Department of Public Health jointly maintained death records. The Illinois Regional Archives Depository system does hold death records for many counties in Illinois. Search the IRAD local governmental records database for the term death to get a listing of all death records held by IRAD. Researchers should contact the county clerk's office in the county where the death occurred if IRAD does not have death records for that county.
- 1916-1947 – An index to death certificates maintained by the Illinois Department of Public Health from 1916 to 1950 is available on the Illinois State Archives' Web site. Search the Illinois Statewide Death Index (1916–1950). The Illinois Department of Public Health has provided the Archives with microfilm copies of Illinois death certificates for 1916–1947 (R.S. 205.014). Researchers wishing an unofficial and uncertified copy of a death certificate may visit the Illinois State Archives Reference Room. To locate a death certificate in our Reference Room, the following information from the database will be needed: decedent's name; date of death; names of county and, if provided, township where the death took place; and death certificate number.
Land Sale Records
The Archives has compiled the Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales Database of more than 500,000 first sales of the public domain by the federal government to individuals (R.G. 952.000). Subsequent sales of land are recorded in deed records. The Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system does hold deed records for many counties in Illinois. Search the IRAD local governmental records database for the term deed to get a listing of all deed records held by IRAD. Contact the county recorder's office in the county where the land was bought or sold if IRAD does not have deed records for that county. More
You may electronically search the marriage index. The Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system also holds marriage records for many counties in Illinois. Search the IRAD local governmental records database for the term marriage for a listing of all marriage records held by IRAD. Contact the county clerk's office in the county where the marriage occurred if IRAD does not have marriage records for that county.
Military Service Records
Please provide the veteran's complete name; the conflict served in; residence, birthplace or place of enlistment; regiment and/or company; and rank. Photocopies of requested entries found on the military rolls will be provided.
- War of 1812 (R.S. 100.013)
- Winnebago War (R.S. 301.004)
- Black Hawk War (R.S. 301.007)
- Mexican War (R.S. 301.008)
- Civil War (R.S. 301.020, Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery regiments; and R.S. 301.022, Illinois men serving in the U.S. Navy)
- Spanish-American War (R.S. 301.087 through 301.094)
World War I Draft Registration Records
Please provide the registrant's full name along with his county and date of residence. For Chicago registrants, please also provide a street address.
Veterans' Homes, Pension, and Burial Records
Please provide the veteran's name, war of service, name or number of unit and state of residence.
- Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Home (1887–1983) (R.G. 259.002)
- Illinois Soldiers' Widows' Home (1896–1960) (R.G. 260.001)
- National Home in Danville (1898–1934) (R.S. 955.003)
Federal pension records are held for Revolutionary War Veterans (1800–1900) (R.S. 955.001) as well as an index to War of 1812 pensioners (pension applications originally compiled ca. 1871–1916) (R.S. 955.002). An online database of veterans buried in Illinois prior to 1929 is available by consulting the 1929 Roll of Honor. Honor Roll of Veterans Buried in Illinois, (1774–1955), is available only through microfilm indexes.