Illinois Public Records

Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act is codified at 5 ILCS 140. This law provides public access to information that is contained in government documents and records. According to the law, public records are defined as “all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information, and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body." However, this does not mean that all information is subject to release; exceptions are codified at in the law and include many things considered public records in other states.

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Public & Vital Records for Counties in Illinois

More About Illinois

Illinois is the fifth-most populous state in the United States. It is located in the central part of the United States, in a region labeled the mid-west. The population of Illinois was estimated to be 12,801,539 in 2016. The city of Chicago is in Illinois, the country’s third-most populated city, which is also a major transportation hub. Illinois has diverse economic interests that range from agriculture to manufacturing.

Public Records in IL

Illinois does not maintain centralized public records covering property records, vital statistics, and criminal records. However, the Illinois Department of Public Health does maintain a public records division that carries information about vital statistics.

Property Records

Illinois property records fall into three broad categories: land records, which provide details about a property; deed records, which provide information about ownership; and tax records, which detail tax information.

Land Records

The Illinois Secretary of State maintains an online searchable database for Illinois Public Domain Land Tract sales, which is searchable by both purchaser name and the legal description of the property in question.

Property Tax Records

In Illinois, the state-level taxing agency, the Illinois Department of Revenue, does not administer property taxes. Instead, property taxes are handled at the county level, and property tax records can be found at the county tax assessor’s office.

Deed Records

In Illinois, each county has a recorder of deeds. The recorder of deeds is responsible for filing deeds and other articles relating to real property, such as mortgages, liens, and other encumbrances. Most counties have an option to search public records of these deeds online.

IL Vital Records

In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Health maintains the following vital statistics: adoption, birth records, civil union records, death records, dissolution of civil union records, and dissolution of marriage records. It does not maintain marriage records.

Birth Records

In Illinois, birth records are maintained by the Illinois Department of Health, but are not considered public records. Only the named person, parents shown on the record, or other legal guardians are available to obtain birth records.

Death Records

In Illinois, death records are maintained by the Illinois Department of Health, but are not considered public records. Instead, they are only available to those who have a personal or property right interest with the decedent. This group includes relatives, but groups that need the death certificate have to provide a letter or document establishing that interest.

Marriage Records

In Illinois, marriage records are not available through the Illinois Department of Health, but by the county in which the marriage occurred. They are available through the County Clerk.

Divorce Records

In Illinois, certified copies of dissolution of marriage records are only available from the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the dissolution of marriage is granted, but the Division of Vital Records can verify the facts of a dissolution of marriage that occurred from 1962 through the current index date.

Learn About Criminal Records in Other States

Learn about Illinois criminal records, IL Property Records, or read about public records in another state from the list below: