Track Down Free Illinois Marriage Records & Licenses

Free Illinois Marriage Record Search
Access anyone's marital information in Illinois, free of charge.

Free Illinois marriage records are readily available so anyone can search for information about another citizen’s marital status.

Members of the public can uncover if someone is or has ever been married in Illinois, with details such as when the marriage happened and who that person was married to.

Public records are important because they allow for relevant information to remain accessible and available to anyone interested; this is true for marriage records, too.

In Illinois, marriage records are kept by the local county clerks’ offices and are available upon request. It’s also possible to work with the state’s Bureau of Vital Records for verifications of recent marriages and the Illinois State Archives for historical records.

Accessing Marriage Records in Illinois

Anyone can search and find marital records in Illinois. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, marital information is public records and should be readily available to citizens.1

The Illinois Department of Public Health provides interested individuals with verification of marriages. Those aren’t certified copies of marriage certificates but contain valuable information about someone’s marital status.

Certified copies, which can be used for official purposes, must be requested at the county where the marriage occurred. The Illinois Department of Public Health has a full list of county clerk offices in the state so citizens can know where to go and who to contact.2

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2022, about 47% of the Illinois population is married, while about 10% is divorced.3 In fact, Illinois marriage statistics show that the state registered over 76k marriages and almost 25k divorces in 2017.4

Screenshot of Illinois marriage statistics from 2012 to 2017, showing total marriages per year and a breakdown by county.
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health4

The state requires that individuals must be 18 or older to marry, but exceptions are approved when someone who’s 16 can obtain a parent or guardian’s consent. More about the requirements to marry in Illinois will be discussed further in this article.

How To View & Request Illinois Marriage Records

A marriage verification can be obtained with the Illinois Department of Public Health for any marriage that happened in the state of Illinois from 1962 to the present day.5 It brings factual information about that particular event and is a convenient way to find out if someone is married in Illinois.

This is the information that anyone can expect to find in a marriage verification:

  • Names
  • Dates of Birth
  • Date of the Event
  • Place where the event happened

To request a marriage verification, individuals may contact the Illinois Department of Public Health by mail, fax, or in person. The verification costs $5. Those requesting must fill out an application and have a valid ID.6

Screenshot of a marriage verification application form with fields for spouses' names and birthdates, place of marriage, and date of marriage.
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health6

To order by mail, the required paperwork must be sent with payment (check or money order). Fax requests must include a credit card number so payment can be collected. In both cases, citizens should add the following fees: $12.95 handling fee and $19.50 if UPS delivery is requested.

This is the department’s contact information:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 E. Ridgely Ave.
Springfield, IL 62702-2737

Fax: (217)523.2648

How to search records from before 1962 will be detailed below.

Searching Counties in Illinois for Marriage Records or Licenses

There are no restrictions on who can access and obtain Illinois state marriage records. However, certified copies of marriage records must be requested at the county where the wedding happened.

The Cook County Clerk’s Office is the official repository for all marriage records for the city of Chicago and its suburban areas.7 They offer three different types of certificates to the population: standard, wallet, and commemorative certificates.

Wallet certificates are small and convenient to keep at hand. They cost $15 for the first copy and $4 for each extra copy requested simultaneously. It can be ordered by mail or in person.

Commemorative certificates are special versions of the standard certificates. They cost $65, and citizens can choose from 10 designs by local artists. Those certificates are printed on canvas and ready to frame.

People can order commemorative certificates online or in person at the clerk’s office.8

Screenshot of a section of the online commemorative certificate order form with fields for union type, marriage date and city, spouses' full names, and certificate information.
Source: Cook County Clerk’s Office9

Standard certificates are the traditional paper copy of an official marriage certificate. They cost $15 for the first copy and $4 for each extra, as long as they’re ordered at the same time. Standard certificates can be ordered directly with the county clerk, in person or by mail.

Mail requests (for both standard and wallet certificates) must include a filled-out form, a copy of a valid ID, check or money order payment, and a self-addressed stamped envelope.10 This is where the requests should be sent to:

Cook County Clerk’s Office
Bureau of Vital Records
P.O. Box 641070
Chicago, IL 60664-1070

In-person requests can be made at any of the four Cook County Clerk’s Office locations below:

Bureau of Vital Records – Downtown Chicago
118 N. Clark Street, Rm 120
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-603-7790

Clerk’s Office North Suburbs
Skokie Office
5600 W Old Orchard Rd. – Room 149
Skokie, IL 60077

Phone: 847-470-7233

Clerk’s Office South Suburbs
Markham Office
16501 S. Kedzie – Room 238
Markham, IL 60428

Phone: 708-232-4170

Clerk’s Office West Suburbs
Maywood Office
1311 Maybrook Square – Room 104
Maywood, IL 60153

Phone: 708-865-6060

Also, it’s important that citizens know that the same types of certificates are available for civil unions, too.11 The steps to obtain a civil union certificate are the same as the ones for a marriage certificate.

It’s possible for Cook County residents to order standard marriage certificates from Currency Exchange.

VitalChek is endorsed by the Cook County government as well, and is a third-party site where marriage and other vital records can be purchased for an additional fee. This option is available to citizens throughout Illinois and the entire country, not just in Cook County.

The DuPage County Vital Records Office offers marriage and civil union certificates to anyone interested in them.12 There aren’t any restrictions regarding who is eligible to make a request.

Marriage and civil union certificates can be requested in person or by mail. The requirements for both are the same, except for the application form. There’s an application for a marriage certificate and a different application for a civil union certificate.13, 14

Screenshot of a section of the marriage certificate application form with fields for number of copies requested, spouses' names, marriage date, place of marriage, address, contact information, and signature.
Source: DuPage County Clerk13

Each initial certificate costs $14, and any extra copy ordered simultaneously is $2. This is the address to visit the clerk’s office in person:

DuPage County Clerk
421 N. County Farm Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187

Phone: (630)407-5500

For mail orders, there’s a P.O. Box that should be used as follows:

DuPage County Clerk
P.O. Box 1028
Wheaton, L 60187

Lake County has rules that differ a little from the other counties in the state.15 At this particular location, only those named in the certificate, their child or family member, or a legal agent or representative can make a request.

For those entitled to order a marriage certificate, it’s possible to access three types of documentation:

  • Certified Record — for official purposes, which costs $10 for the first copy and $4 for each extra copy order at the same time;
  • Non-Certified Record — available only for records that are at least 75 years old. It comes marked as “for genealogical purposes only” and cannot be used for official purposes. It costs $4 each;
  • No Record Found Certificate — which can be purchased for $1.50 when no records are found about the searched event.

Orders can be placed in person or by mail, and there’s an application to fill out.16 This is the address citizens can visit or send their mail requests to:

Lake County Clerk
Vital Records Department
18 N. County St. – Room 101
Waukegan, IL 60085

Phone: (847)377-2411
Email: vitalrecords@lakecountyil.gov

Requests for civil union certificates follow the same procedures (except for the Non-Certified Record, which isn’t available for this kind of request).17 Also, Lake County offers information in Spanish for those who have difficulties with the English language.

Both counties, DuPage and Lake, also work with Vitalchek for online orders of marriage certificates.

How To Trace Genealogy & Family Marriage Records Through Archived Indexes in Illinois

Historical state marriage records can be searched using tools that can lead to valuable information, especially for those interested in genealogy, family trees, etc. Those tools provide free marriage license searches and more to those who are interested.

The Illinois State Archives compile all sorts of historical records for the state. One of their ongoing projects is the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, which comprises information about marriages between 1763 and 1900.18 Citizens can search the index by bride or groom name and, if available, add the county where the marriage happened to narrow the search.19

This is a free public marriage records search.

Screenshot of Illinois Statewide Marriage Index search results showing spouses' names, marriage date, volume, page number, license number, and county.
Source: Illinois Office of the Secretary of State19

The State Archives also offer a comprehensive list of entities that hold information, including Universities and others, which citizens can reach out directly to if they wish to further their research. It’s called the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System and includes more records than only marriage certificates and licenses.20 Still, it contains relevant information.

Citizens can also contact them directly using the following information:

Illinois Regional Archives
Illinois State Archives
Margaret Cross Norton Building, 3E
Capitol Complex
Springfield, IL 62756

Phone: (217)782.3645

Local counties in Illinois can also help citizens perform genealogical searches. Lake County, for example, offers assistance with marriage licenses starting in 1839.21 They offer Non-Certified Certificates for records that are 75 years old or more for $4 each.

DuPage County also offers assistance with records over 75 years old at $1 per record. Those records are marked as being for genealogical purposes only.

Cook County offers assistance in searching for ancient records in person. This is where citizens in that area should go for help:

Cook County Clerk’s Office
Bureau of Vital Records
118 N. Clark Street, Rm. 120
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-603-7790

Are Common Law Marriages Recognized in Illinois?

Common law marriages haven’t been accepted in the state of Illinois since 1905.22 It means that it doesn’t matter how long a couple has been living together unless there’s a proper arrangement in place that is legally accepted, they aren’t considered to be married or in any sort of domestic partnership.

The only exceptions are common law marriages contracted in a state that recognizes it, which Illinois will recognize, too.

Therefore, those who wish to cohabitate but don’t want to get married should be aware of their options and make sure they aren’t foregoing any rights they believe to be entitled to. A common option in Illinois is to enter a civil union.23

The process of establishing a civil union isn’t much different than a marriage. Citizens must contact their local clerk’s office and apply for a license. Then, they must officiate it and bring the license back to the clerk’s office for recording.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that a civil union isn’t a marriage – consequently, it may not be recognized in other states, and it’ll likely not lead to the same rights and protections a proper marriage would. Also, civil unions won’t show as state marriage records.

Individuals interested in going into a civil union should seek out information and make sure all their questions are answered before doing so.

If, for whatever reason, establishing a civil union isn’t a good option, the advice is to retain a lawyer who could work with the couple to find a solution that will meet their needs and, at the same time, protect them as they build a life together.

How To Request a Marriage License in Illinois

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act determines the rules for someone to be able to get married in the state. Simply put, the husband and wife-to-be must be at least 18 years old, not blood-related, and not already legally married to someone else. There’s an exception for the age threshold: individuals 16 or 17 years old can marry if their parents (or legal guardians) provide consent.

Both parties must appear in person at their local clerk’s office, at the county where they intend to marry. They must present a valid ID (that also will work as proof of age), fill out and sign the marriage application, and pay the fee.

Marriage licenses in Illinois are provided on the spot. The couple only needs to wait for a few minutes.

However, there’s a 24 waiting period before the wedding can take place. Only after that time, they’re allowed to marry.

After the wedding, the license must be returned to the clerk’s office no later than ten days after the ceremony for recording. Marriage certificates aren’t automatically provided to the spouses and must be requested following the steps mentioned in this resource.

In Illinois, marriage licenses expire after 60 days and marriages officiated after the license expiration aren’t valid.

In Cook County, marriage licenses cost $60, and citizens can apply for one at any of the four locations of the clerk’s office.24 Those are the addresses:

Cook County Clerk’s Office
Downtown Chicago Office
118 N. Clark Street, Rm. 120
Chicago, IL 60602

Clerk’s Office North Suburbs
Skokie Office
5600 W Old Orchard Rd., Rm 149
Skokie, IL 60077

Clerk’s Office South Suburbs
Markham Office
16501 S. Kedzie, Rm. 238
Markham, IL 60428

Clerk’s Office West Suburbs
Maywood Office
1311 Maybrook Square, Rm. 104
Maywood, IL 60153

When working with the DuPage County Clerk’s Office, citizens pay only $35 and can start their application online.25 If the preference is to visit the office in person, this is where they should go:

DuPage County Clerk
421 N. County Farm Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187

Screenshot of a section of the new DuPage County online marriage application form with tabs for marriage info, spouses' info, and relationship, showing fields for anticipated date of ceremony, marriage location, return address, and contact information under the marriage info tab.
Source: DuPage County25

To get married in Lake County, citizens must fill out the application before going to the clerk’s office in person.26, 27 The license will cost $35, and it’s possible to pay an extra $10 to order a certified copy of the marriage (which otherwise won’t be automatically provided). This is the clerk’s address:

Lake County Clerk
18 N. County St. – Room 101
Waukegan, IL 60085

Illinois marriage records are important — especially when it’s necessary to perform a marriage background check — and citizens should feel free to make use of any tool and resource that will lead to information that’s relevant to them.


References

1Illinois General Assembly. (n.d.). 750 ILCS 5/ Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2086&ChapAct=750%20ILCS%205/&ChapterID=59&ChapterName=FAMILIES&ActName=Illinois%20Marriage%20and%20Dissolution%20of%20Marriage%20Act.>

2Illinois Association of County Clerks and Recorders. (n.d.). IACCR Member Counties. IACCR. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.iaccr.net/MemberCountiesMain.html>

3United States Census Bureau. (2019, March 9). Illinois Marriage – Census Bureau Tables. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://data.census.gov/table?q=Illinois+Marriage>

4Illinois Department of Public Health. (n.d.). Marriage Divorce Statistics. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://dph.illinois.gov/data-statistics/vital-statistics/marriage-divorce-statistics.html>

5Illinois Department of Public Health. (n.d.). Marriage Records. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records/marriage-records.html>

6Illinois Department of Public Health. (2016, April). Application for Verification of Civil Union Record Files. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://dph.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/idph/files/forms/verification-marriage-record-files-052516.pdf>

7Cook County Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). Marriage License Request. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.cookcountyclerkil.gov/vital-records/marriage-civil-union/marriage-certificates>

8Cook County Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). Commemorative Certificates. Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough, Bureau of Vital Records. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://commemorative.cookcountyclerkil.gov/>

9Cook County Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). Commemorative Certificates. Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough, Bureau of Vital Records. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://commemorative.cookcountyclerkil.gov/unioncert/create/83>

10Cook County Clerk’s Office. (2021). Marriage Or Civil Union Record Request Form. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.cookcountyclerkil.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Vitals_MarriageandCivilUnionRecordRequest_2021.pdf>

11Cook County Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). Civil Union Certificates. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.cookcountyclerkil.gov/vital-records/marriage-civil-union/civil-union-certificates>

12DuPage County. (n.d.). Vital Records – County Clerk. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.dupagecounty.gov/elected_officials/county_clerk/vital_records.php#collapse83500b3>

13DuPage County Clerk. (2019). Application for Certification of Marriage. Retrieved November 3, 2023 from <https://cms5.revize.com/revize/dupage/County%20Clerk/Documents/Vital%20Records/MARRIAGE%20FORM%202019.pdf>

14DuPage County Clerk. (2019). Application for Certification of Civil Union. Retrieved November 3, 2023 from <https://cms5.revize.com/revize/dupage/County%20Clerk/Documents/Vital%20Records/CIVIL%20UNION%20FORM%202019.pdf>

15Lake County, Illinois. (n.d.). Marriage Records. Office of the County Clerk, Lake County, IL. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.lakecountyil.gov/3964/Marriage-Records>

16Lake County, Illinois. (2022, November). Marriage Record Request Form. Office of the County Clerk, Lake County, IL. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.lakecountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/994/Marriage-Record-Request-Form-PDF?bidId=>

17Lake County, Illinois. (n.d.). Civil Union Records. Office of the County Clerk, Lake County, IL. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.lakecountyil.gov/3965/Civil-Union-Records>

18Illinois Secretary of State. (n.d.). Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763–1900 Illinois State Archives. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.ilsos.gov/departments/archives/databases/marriage.html>

19Illinois Secretary of State. (n.d.). Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://apps.ilsos.gov/isavital/marriagesrch.jsp>

20Illinois Secretary of State. (2020, October 29). IRAD County Listings. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.ilsos.gov/departments/archives/IRAD/irad.pdf>

21Lake County, Illinois. (n.d.). Genealogical Research. Office of the County Clerk, Lake County, IL. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.lakecountyil.gov/381/Genealogical-Research>

22Illinois General Assembly. (n.d.). 750 ILCS 5/ Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+III&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=3137500&SeqEnd=3900000>

23Lake County, Illinois. (n.d.). FAQs • Lake County, IL • CivicEngage. Office of the County Clerk, Lake County, IL. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.lakecountyil.gov/Faq.aspx?QID=228#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20civil%20union,law%2C%20seek%20competent%20legal%20counsel.>

24Cook County Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). Marriage / Civil Union. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.cookcountyclerkil.gov/vital-records/marriage-civil-union>

25DuPage County. (n.d.). DuPage County Clerk Online Services. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://countyfusion1.kofiletech.us/countyweb/loginDisplay.action?countyname=DuPageMarriage>

26Lake County, Illinois. (n.d.). Marriage Licenses. Office of the County Clerk, Lake County, IL. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.lakecountyil.gov/383/Marriage-Licenses>

27Lake County, Illinois. (2020, July). Marriage License Application. Office of the County Clerk, Lake County, IL. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.lakecountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/40695/Marriage-License-Application-Record-Request>