Though state law has tight privacy rules over all vital records, including Illinois death records, you are able to access most records as long as you only request a genealogical copy rather than a certified official copy.
Certified copies are only issued to immediate relatives and those with a documented interest in the record (such as for legal matters). Genealogical copies are available to anyone, regardless of your relationship to the deceased, for all death records beyond 20 years from the current date.
Official state records of deaths start in 1916, though many counties will have their own records back to around 1877.
To make a request from the post-1916 state archives, you can either mail or drop-off an application form to the Department of Health. The full address is Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, 925 East Ridgely Ave, Springfield IL, 62702-2737 USA. If you choose to drop off your application, you won't be able to pick up your records while you are there. Requests still take a few days to process and are mailed out. You will generally have your documents in about a week.
You can get your application form from their website (http://www.idph.state.il.us/vitalrecords/vital/pdf/deathfrm.pdf), to be printed off and filled out. When requesting a certified copy, you will have to include proof of your own identity, such as a photocopy of a government issued photo ID. The form has fields for the deceased's name, date of birth and death, parent's names, social security number and birthplace. Fill out all the information you have in order to get the most accurate results back.
The fees for a certified Illinois death record is $17 USD and a non-certified genealogical copy is only $10. They will take checks or money orders, having them made out to the Illinois Department of Public Health. If your records are not located, you won't be getting any refunds.
The information you can expect on an Illinois death record will vary from county to county, and also depend on what year the information was collected. The standard data includes name of the deceased, date and place of death, age or date of birth and usually names of parents. But some registrations also include occupation, burial location, cause of death and even possibly the name of the physician.
For pre-1916 records, you will have to do your searching outside the state collection. Many individual counties will have their own records, but you have to contact each one to do a separate search. Some offices have indexes that you can search through in person, which is the better option if you are near enough to do so. Also, the Illinois State Archives Reference Room may have some indexes for deaths between 1877 and 1916.
For online research of old Illinois death records, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System has an online index database that can be searched (http://www.ilsos.gov/GenealogyMWeb/iradsrch.html). It includes the document holdings from 7 local universities.
To request Illinois death certificates for a loved one, follow these steps:
Download the Illinois Death Certificate form and fill out completely.
Obtain a copy of your government-issued photo ID. All copies should be legible.
Return the application and copy of ID to the Department of Public Health. You will also need to include a check or money order with the $17 search fee along with any additional fees for credit card and expedited orders.
For more assistance accessing information on Illinois death records, you can contact the Department of Public Health at:
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 East Ridgely Ave.
Springfield, IL 62702-2737
Ways to Access an Illinois Death Record
Because Illinois death records are not considered part of the public record; you will need to request a copy from the Illinois Department of Public Health. In order to be granted access to a record, you will need to be able to prove a personal or property right to the information.
Ways You Can Order Illinois Death Records
If you are able to prove a right to the Illinois death record, then there are several ordering methods available. Illinois death records can be ordered online, by mail, by fax, and in person. An additional fee will be charged for online and fax ordering..
Restricted Access to Death Records
For Illinois death records that are less than 20 years of age, you must be able to prove your relationship to the deceased listed. Uncertified genealogical records are available if the death occurred more than 20 years ago. If you are not directly related to the deceased, then you will need to submit proof of eligibility to be given access to the record.