llinois Death Records and Death Index
It may surprise you to learn how often genealogists face this particular set of circumstances. They are aware of when their ancestor was born, when they may have married, when their children were born but they just can’t find out when they died.
There are a fair few instances where the only information missing is the death date which can be very frustrating. This is why knowing what death records may be available to you can be vital in your research.
It is important to note that one of the biggest issues in finding a death record can be looking in the wrong place. You may be surprised how often people miss records because they are looking in the wrong county and sometimes even the wrong state.
In this post we will be looking at Illinois state death records and indexes to try and help you find those elusive ancestors. So if you are confident that your ancestor likely died in the state of Illinois then read on and hopefully we can help you out.
Europeans first arrived in the area we know today as Illinois in 1673 as part of an expedition by Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette. During the French and Indian War however the region was ceded to the British.
As a result of the American Revolution Illinois ultimately became part of the United States. It was on December 3rd 1818 that Illinois achieved Statehood becoming the 21st state to do so.
Social Security Death Index 1935 – 2014
All American citizens, naturalized immigrants and resident aliens require a Social Security number for proof of identification and authorization to work. This number follows us throughout our life and when we die this nine digit code is very important.
The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a database of death records that was compiled from the United States Social Security Administration Death Master File. This was until 2014 when the rules changed and public access to the Death Master File had to take place through a certification program.
Those researching the deaths of ancestors in Illinois will likely find that most people who have died between 1936 and 2014 can be found on the Social Security Death Index. This does however only hold true if the person had a Social Security number when they died.
It is estimated that since 1973 the SSDI recorded 93% to 96% of the deaths of individuals aged 65 or over. The index was updated frequently and by June of 2011 there were 89,835,920 records available.
The index can be found on websites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry.com and offers details such as:
- Given name and surname (middle initial since the 1990s)
- Date of birth
- Month and year of death (Full date of death for accounts active after 2000)
- Social Security number
- State or territory Social Security number was issued
- Last place of residence when alive including ZIP code
Click here to search Ancestrydeathindex
U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
This is more or less an extension of the information you can find from the Social Security Death Index. It has been extracted from the SSDI records but features more details. It does not include all of the names found in the SSDI however but there are at least 49 million names included.
In this record you may find additional information such as:
- Date and place of birth
- Parents' names who, if deceased, would be over 75 when you are viewing the records (may be redacted if under 75)
- Citizenship status
- Sometimes race or ethnic group
Click here to search AncestryDeathindex
Illinois Death Records Index 1916 – 1950
This index can be located at the Office of Illinois Secretary of State and provides a listing of all the filed death certificates between 1916 – 1950. These are the certificates that would have been filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health during this time frame.
Legislation from 1989 allows the department to make available death certificates that were filed 50 or more years ago although this index only lists up to 1950. This online source is an extension of their Reference Room services. Those seeking more recent death records should contact the Illinois State Archives.
This is only an index of the certificates and as such will not show you digital copies. If you know the full name, birth date and the rough area in which a person died you may be able to locate the death certificate number and order a copy of the record.
Click here for the Illinois Death Record Index 1916 – 1950
Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947
This is an index from Familysearch.org a creation of the Mormon Church based out of Utah. It is free to view and search as long as you have a registered account with them. This is an index of deaths that occurred in Illinois between 1916 – 1947 including stillbirths.
There are no images in this collection but there are transcriptions of the records which include details such as.
- Name of deceased
- Death Date
- Race & Ethnicity
- Parents' names and birth place
- Birth date and place
- Burial date and place
Click here to search the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947
It should be noted that this same collection can be found at Ancestry.com but does require a paid membership to view.
Illinois Death Index, pre-1916
This is an ongoing project through the Office or the Illinois Secretary of State that seeks to collect records of pre-1916 deaths. Collected from a select number of counties it is still limited by sources such as death registers and licenses filed by county clerks.
Again there are no digital images available but you can find certificate numbers that allow you to order copies of the records to help you with your research.
Click here to search the Illinois Death Index, pre-1916
Illinois, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999
This collection is found on the genealogy site Ancestry,com and does require a paid membership to view. It offers over 200 years of will and probate records from all of Illinois’ counties. You may discover from this collection the names of an ancestor's family and what they had to pass on to their heirs when they died.
Click here to search Illinois, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999
Illinois County Specific Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemetery Indexes
Aside from the statewide collection and indexes many of Illinois’ counties have their own death indexes and records that could prove helpful. If you know where a relative may have died you may be able to track down more local records.
|County||Illinois Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemeteries by County|
|Aurora||See Kane County|
|Bloomington||See McLean County|
|Centralia||See Marion County|
|Chicago||See Cook County|
|Danville||See Vermilion County|
|Decatur||See Macon County|
|East St Louis||See St Clair County|
|Elgin||See Kane County|
|Joliet||See Will County|
|Naperville||See DuPage County|
County Cemetery Burials
|Quincy||See Adams County|
|Urbana||See Champaign County|
The state of Illinois has a rich and varied history with numerous historical societies found throughout the state. At the county level there is a wealth of death indexes and at the state level there are plenty of resources to help you as well.
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