ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES
Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763–1900
An Ongoing Project of the Illinois State Archives & the Illinois State Genealogical Society
Since 1985 the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) has cooperated with the Illinois State Archives to create an index to Illinois marriages occurring prior to 1901. Today more than one million marriages, or two million names, are included in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. Data entry has been done by Archives staff and volunteers working on mainframe terminals at the Illinois State Archives and by other volunteers who have entered hundreds of thousands of marriages at home on their personal computers. Currently the Marriage Index resides on the Secretary of State web server and Department of Information Technology has developed an online program to allow volunteers to use their web browsers to send marriage data directly to the server for inclusion in the index.
The sources for this index include original county clerks' marriage records, such as marriage registers and licenses, as well as publications of county genealogical societies and private individuals. For each marriage, the index includes the names of the groom and bride, the date of the marriage or issuance of the license, the name of the county in which the marriage was performed, and a citation to the original record—volume and page number for registers or file number for licenses. Volume and page or license numbers are omitted in the index when published sources failed to provide this information.
The following abbreviations were used in the license field when marriages were entered from a source other than a marriage register or license:
- AFD ONLY — Affidavit Only
- APLONLY — Application Only
- CA CH RC — Catholic Church Record (St. John the Baptist Catholic Church)
- CHUR REC — Church Record
- DEED BK — Deed Book
- FINK — Sam Fink's Index to Chicago Marriages (1833–1871)
- FR NEWSP — Freeport Newspaper
- IRQ JRNL — Iroquois Journal
- ISGS ART — Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly
- LICRETUR — License Return
- NO MARR — No Marriage
- NOT MAR — Not Married
- PER COLL — Perrin Collection (Illinois State Archives)
- The date shown in the data returned as a result of a search may be either the date of the marriage or the date a marriage license was issued depending upon the source from which the information was extracted. The date is shown in the following format: YYYY/MM/DD (e.g., 1836/09/06).
- Illinois marriages were not required to be performed in the county of the bride's or groom's residence. If your search does not find a marriage in the county you expected it to occur, try selecting STATEWIDE in the location option box.
Copies of marriage records included in the Statewide Marriage Index may be obtained from the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System if IRAD holds marriage records for that county or from the county clerk in the county in which the marriage occurred.
- Request a Marriage Record from IRAD — Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD) hold original marriage records or microfilm copies for many Illinois counties. The IRAD holdings include marriage records for over seventy of the 102 counties in Illinois. Consult the Local Governmental Records Holdings Database to see if IRAD has marriage records for the county and date of the marriage you are requesting. Type the search term MARRIAGE in the title field to return all marriage records in the IRAD holdings. If IRAD does have marriage records for the county you are searching and for the pertinent time period, write the appropriate IRAD depository and include in your letter all of the information on the marriage given in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. The addresses and telephone numbers of the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories are listed in the IRAD section. Marriage record searches are free, but a small copy fee will be billed for records found. IRAD provides uncertified copies only. Certified copies must be requested from the county clerk.
- Request a Marriage Record from a County Clerk — County clerks are the official custodians of all marriage records recorded in Illinois counties. To obtain copies of marriages found in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, write the appropriate county clerk and include in your letter all of the information on the marriage given in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. Only county clerks may issue certified copies of marriage records. Search and copy fees will vary from one county to another.
- Copies of marriage records are not available from the Reference Unit of the Illinois State Archives in Springfield.