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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Record Search adds records from Illinois and the Netherlands

FamilySearch Record Search has added over 500,000 records from the Cook County, Illinois Birth Certificate records. The collection includes the City of Chicago and covers the time period from 1878 to 1922 containing over 1.5 million names. From the FamilySearch Wiki:
Legislation in 1819 required physicians to record births and deaths for their practices. They were then to transmit the information to their medical society who was to publish the information in the newspapers. In 1843 a law was passed where relatives of a deceased person could appear before the clerk of the county commissioner’s court and report information regarding the death. The recording of vital records was voluntary until 1877 so few births and deaths were recorded. A fire in 1871 destroyed the Cook County Courthouse and nearly all previous records housed there. The few existing originals that were created by the county clerk may be found in the county clerk’s office or in the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD Health).
In 1877 the State Board of Health was created to supervise registration of births and deaths. All births and deaths were to be reported to the county clerk by physicians. However, many were still not registered because the penalties for non-compliance were weak. In 1915 the state of Illinois gave the responsibility of recording births and deaths to local registrars who reported the information to the county clerk and the State Board of Health (now know as the Illinois Department of Public. By 1919 it is estimated that 95% of the population was recorded in the vital records.
Marriage returns were submitted to the county clerk by the minister or justice of the peace who performed the marriage. Most of these records were also destroyed by the fire in 1871. Only a few marriage records exist prior to the fire. Couples were not required to obtain a marriage license until 1877. A statewide register of marriages was started in 1962 as county clerks forwarded marriage information to the Illinois Department of Health. By 1918, it is estimated that the vital records covered 95% of the population. A few marriage records have markers shaped like spades that indicate records with document numbering problems. When searching the collection displays a image with such markings, a second search might yield an unmarked marriage record with a new number without spades.
New records were also added to the Netherlands, Gelderland Province Civil Registration. The collection contains only images but the are arranged by municipality. Again, from the FamilySearch Wiki: "Record types found on the films are births, marriages, deaths, 10 year indexes, marriage intentions, marriage proclamations, and marriage supplements. The events are recorded either totally by hand or in partially pre-printed books where the information is then entered by hand."

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