Your Chicago Ancestors has earned its positive reputation because Steven goes out of of his way to provide truly exceptional service to each of his clients. He understands that your research needs can change last minute, and he is ready to adapt his services quickly to ensure your success. Read on to learn more about what he can do for you.
Cook County Circuit Court Archives
Divorce, Probate, Naturalization, and Criminal Records
Navigating the Cook County Circuit Court Archives can be a frustrating and tricky process. Indices are a combination of microfilm, microfiche, and ledgers. In some cases multiple indices, for different courts, must be searched to locate a record. Challenges are now compounded with new COVID-19 protocol. Researchers are now required to make a appointment, then limited to one hour for their research. This time restriction can be challenging, particularly when you are not familiar with the procedure.
Retrieving records from the archives is a two part process. The first visit will include an index search, and the ordering of the record if a file number is found. The records are stored off-site at an archival warehouse. The transferring of the records will take four to six weeks. Once the record arrives a second trip is required to copy the documents. The archives is unique, as it encourages scanning of documents versus photocopying. This eliminates any type of copy fees. Upon completion you will be provided with a PDF of the file contents via Google Drive.
Research fees are $40.00 per hour, unless otherwise noted, with a one hour minimum. A deposit equal to one hour is required before any research is performed.
Divorce files are available for the years 1871 through 1986. Prior to 1964, an individual could petition for a divorce in the Superior or Circuit Court. Both court indices must be searched, if the divorce occurred prior to the courts merging. After 1963 one index can be searched for the desired divorce. Learn more about requesting a search.
Probate files are available for the years 1871 through 1976, with some wills dating from the 1850s. Included in this collection are estate matters of minors and incompetents. Learn more about requesting a search.
Naturalization records are available for the years 1871 through 1929. Records filed in the Circuit, Superior, County, and Criminal Courts are available at the archives. There are several online databases available to aid your search. If you find an entry for your ancestor, you can request the accompanying document(s). Learn more about those databases.
Criminal Case Files
Criminal Court cases exist for the years 1871 through 1900 and 1927 through 1983. Case files have been destroyed for the years of 1901 through 1926. Learn more about requesting a search.