As of now, if you visit the website to search for Cook County Illinois Vital Records (https://genealogy.cookcountyclerk.com/), you will discover that YOU CAN NO LONGER SEARCH THE SITE FOR BIRTH, MARRIAGE OR DEATH CERTIFICATES related to your ancestral search.
As of now, you will have to provide Cook County Vital Records, via a series of online forms, the information related to who you are looking for, providing details you might not even know such as exact date of the event in question. There are some parts of these forms that are optional to fill but without YOU being able to search and determine which vital record you are interested in, the entire selection process is left up to them! Imagine if you are looking for a SMITH or JONES or some other common name for which there are 35 SMITHs with the same first name and you do not know much else to exactly supply! You sort of like to be able to see these for yourself with their death dates or birth dates and maybe narrow down who you think is your ancestor that you want to pursue further.
I basically stepped my way through each form inputting information for the “requester” information and for the “requested” information just to see how it was stepping through each form with required and optional information. Ultimately, I got to the end of the input information and would have been at the stage to then submit the request after having supplied billing information for them to bill me.
Here is the part of the Cook County Vital Records website focusing on information to obtain genealogical copies of birth, marriage and death certificates:
These are the fees you can expect to pay up front for non-certified genealogical copies:
Birth – $15; and $4 for each additional copy
Marriage – $15; and $4 for each additional copy
Death – $17*; and $6* for each additional copy
*Effective July 1, 2012 per PA 97-0679
Also, Cook County notes the following when you do not have an exact date/year:
If you are uncertain of the exact date of birth, marriage or death and want us to search more than one year, include $1.00 for each additional year you want searched, up to a maximum of 10 years.
Many of us just liked to search the former site for our surname or the surnames we are researching just to get a feeling of what all exists. Then with some background information we might have, we then could make an educated guess that person “X” is maybe our ancestor and that we are willing to then submit a request to them with payment to get a copy of the vital record back to us.
BUT NOT ANYMORE!
I have sent an email to Cook County Vital Records asking them to respond to me with the logic they used to create such a system that becomes pure guesswork for the researcher to input a request without knowing what is out there.
If anyone reading this wants to contact Cook County Vital Records to offer your own opinions on the new system you can do so with the following email address:
I will see if they respond in any fashion.
Our librarians group just got wind of this just after our most recent quarterly group meeting. The email messages we exchanged were buzzing about this among us to say the least!
Again, the lesson to gather from this is that nothing is forever. So do the most you can with what is out there assuming it can disappear in a blink of an eye. Capture whatever you can in whatever manner you can. If you see a list of names of interest to you, download the webpage, copy the names and put them in an Excel spreadsheet, take a photo of the page from your screen. Assume something that is helpful to your research will disappear.
Crossing my fingers that feedback to Cook County Vital Records may cause them to reverse the decision we now see they made. Not holding out much hope this will happen.
Oh well! Sorry for the bad news.
Schaumburg Township District Library