The project is finally finished, and you can search the index at the county’s Genealogy Online Web site. Records date back to the 1880s (the Great Chicago Fire destroyed Cook County vital records from before 1871).
First, youll need a free site registration. Then you can search birth and death certificates (older than 75 and 50 years, respectively), and marriage licenses (older than 50 years) by name and optional year range, or year and file number.
Online genealogy guru Steve Morse has created an online form that gives you a sounds-like option for names.
Matches show the persons name, the record date and file number, with an option to download a copy of the record from the clerk’s office for $15.
You also could use the index information to order the microfilmed records from the Family History Library (run a keyword search of the online catalog on cook county and birth, marriage or death). The rental fee runs about $5 per roll; visit your local Family History Center to put in your request.
(Update: Click Comments below for expert tips on finding microfilmed Cook County vital records. Also, as a Family Tree Magazine E-mail Update newsletter reader pointed out, records are still being added to the CookCountyGenealogy database.)