Obtaining Birth Records

Index to Birth Records – Cook Co. Illinois Bureau of Vital Statistics – From 1871 to 1916 provides: name, birth date, Birth place (either Cook County or Chicago), and identification number. Note: Some Delayed Certificates are listed on this index and identified by “DS” in the ID Number. This index is available at the Newberry Library in Chicago, or can be ordered (if not already available) at your local Family History Center of the LDS organization.

Once you find the number and date of the certificate you want, you can then order a film from Salt Lake that has the actual certificate. When the film arrives, LDS calls you, and you make a photocopy. The cost is about half of what Cook County charges.

The records can be ordered from Cook County Bureau of Vital Statistics Office, P.O. Box 642570, Chicago, IL 60664-2570, Phone (312) 603-7790. The Vital Statistics is located downtown at the lower level of the Randolph Street entrance to the County Building. The department is open weekdays from 8:30am to 5:00pm. For a small service charge (about $5.00 per order), you can order as many birth certificates that you need and charge your record request to Visa, MC, Am Ex or Discover by calling Vital Chek at (312) 603-7799. You can mail in your request with a check or money order (about $7.00 for each requested certificate) made payable to the “Cook County Clerk” including a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Please include all the pertinent information. The cost is applicable even if the record is not found, so the more info you provide, the more likely you will get your certificate! The staff is stricter about relationship and date of birth when allowing persons to order birth certificates. It may be easier to obtain certificates if you explain that they are for Genealogy purposes. The certificate then comes marked as such so that it can’t be used for illegal purposes. More than likely, if the date of birth was less than 50 years ago, you will not be able to obtain a birth certificate for that individual unless you are the person or parent.

Your local FHC may have the following indices available or orderable:

  • 1871-1915, Chicago Birth Registers, 54 reels, film numbers 1287720 …1287764, and some films that end with 1315959
  • 1878-1894, County birth records, from Cook County Courthouse, Chicago …films 1287765…1287794
  • 1878-1894, Register of births outside of the city, from Cook County Courthouse, Chicago … films 1315972 – 1315973
  • 1896-1933, Chicago, Illinois birth records, from Northwestern memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL … films 1315895 …1315997
  • 1916-1918, Birth Corrections and delayed births, from Cook County Courthouse, Chicago … films 1309023 …1309261
  • 1916-1922, County birth records, from Cook County Courthouse, Chicago …films 1308554 …. 1308642
    NOTE: These are not indexed.

It is our understanding that the IRAD research center has SOME marriage, birth, and death records for Cook and City of Chicago (ONLY), but please call ahead to see what their current year ranges are available for each of the record groups! Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD) Genealogical Research: Local Governmental Records located in IRAD, Ronald Williams Library, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-4699, Telephone: (773) 794-6279, Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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