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Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster
Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994 Search Page
Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994

Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994.

About This Collection

With Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994, you can determine when you ancestor migrated to Illinois.  The record set covers the years 1878 to 1939 and 1955 to 1994. This record is an index that tells you the age of your ancestor and the date and place where he or she died. You will learn where he or she was born. If this is given, it can help to identify that you have the right person.

The collection contains an index of deaths recorded at Cook County, Illinois – including the City of Chicago. Deaths for Cook County (excluding the City of Chicago) are missing for the years 1910-1915.

  • Name of deceased
  • Gender and race of deceased
  • Age of death in years, months and days
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death and duration of illness
  • Occupation of deceased
  • Marital status
  • Nationality and place of birth
  • Place of burial
  • Name and address of reporting doctor

After 1916 the following information was added:

  • Names of parents
  • Birth place of parents
  • Date of burial
  • Name of informant
  • Employer

What’s in This Collection

 You will be able to see who they were married to if they were married. The index also lets you know who their employer was. The place of burial is also given, and I cannot stress enough what the date of death and burial date will enable you to find:

  • Obituary
  • FindAGrave.com or cemetery
  • Church that he or she was affiliated with
  • Funeral home

Researching From This Collection

Get to know the local library in the area. You can find this and many other resources on the Research Wiki: Cook County, Illinois Genealogy. Be sure to also check out African American Resources for Illinois on the Research Wiki. Also look for other records: birth certificate, marriage certificate, probate, and land records. You should order a copy of the certificate for this time period from Cook County because it contains more information.

Example: Josephine Nelms Hardaway

Next, I would like to show you how what I just wrote assisted me. I have Nelms on my dad’s side. His mother was Ora Nelms Foster. Henderson and Lucy Nelms were born enslaved in North Carolina. They were transported to DeSoto County, Mississippi where they were later emancipated. After some time, they migrated to Arkansas. My great grandparents passed from this life. My grandfather, James Foster, and my grandmother, Ora Nelms Foster and their children moved to Memphis, Tennessee. I found them there on city directories and the 1940 US Census.

I have never looked at records that would tell me when her sister, Josephine Nelms Hardaway, or her family got to Illinois. So, I went to her record on Family Tree at FamilySearch.org. Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994 FamilySearch Historical Records were sitting waiting for me to find them and attach them to Josephine and her family members. I never search cold at FamilySearch.org. I search from the person I have on my tree, the Person Page.

I took a screenshot of how the record hints appeared to me. Booker T. Hardaway was the son of John Hardaway and Josephine Nelms Hardaway. All these records need to be reviewed and attached to my family tree. That has saved time. All of the records are my Booker T. Hardaway.

I could not find the Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994 record by looking up Josephine or Josie. Look at the way her name was misspelled on the last two records, Joie. This is definitely the way to search FamilySearch.org looking for historical records.

Record Hints for Booker T. Hardaway Record Hints: Booker T. Hardaway
Record Hints for Booker T. Hardaway

More FamilySearch Wiki Resources for African American Genealogy

Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.

Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.

Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state. 

African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.

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