Illinois Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)

Illinois Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)
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  • How do I find court records and newspaper articles regarding an old murder in Illinois?
    Libraries carry periodicals going back many years, sometimes they're on microfish or if they've updated, in the database. Many researchers use this method, including journalists. That is if there was an article about it. Smaller, local papers are more likely to have it. (Staff)
  • How do I access death records in Illinois?
    The Illinois secretary of state's website has a free statewide search of deaths Indexed pre-1916. The state department of health claims that death records are not public, this is what it says: "only available to those who have a personal or property right interest with the decedent". However, on the same page, there's a paragraph about uncertified are "often used for genealogy or research, are for informational use only and cannot be used for legal purposes". There's a link on the IDPH's website "Researchers", which gives 2 options on how to get the death records, for informational purposes only. (Staff)
  • How do I know in Illinois, if there are sex offenders in my neighborhood?
    Go to Illinois state police website and it will give you info for your neighborhood (Staff)
  • How do I find in Illinois, if a person has been divorced in the past twenty years?
    You can look into the county's case files, either online or on site. Start with free searches for cases online, LaSalle county offers that service openly along with other, usually larger/ more populated counties, smaller counties don't always have their own site. (Staff)
  • How do I get a list of divorces in Illinois, filed within last 2 months?
    Divorces are filed in counties, where the county clerk has them. If you're looking to do statewide research for statistics, then your focus should be statistical data, a different form of public record as opposed to a divorce certificate/filing. Mention the county so that others can be of better and specific help. (Staff)
  • Where do I find in Illinois, a warrant for someone's arrest?
    There are a number of counties in Illinois (Lake, Adams, Carroll and others) where warrant information in their area is published for public viewing online. Some of the counties such as Peoria search databases as opposed to having a pdf list of names and information. The details/data you will see are (generally) defendant's name, offense, case number and bond dollar amount. You may need to search around to figure out the offense or charges as there are a lot of abbreviated terms. Remember that you are doing a search on your own, so you will need to look around at different webpages as even various government department are not necessarily connected to eachother's data. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, copies of marriage certificates?
    Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records does not have marriage certificates as so many other state's state health department does, the clerk in the county where the marriage occurred is where you can request certified marriage records, this is according to the Illinois department of health's own website. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, if there is an active warrant for my arrest?
    Some counties, such as Will county has a sheriffs office warrant search. Which county? (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, property databases?
    Depends on the county, Illinois has property databases throughout the state. There are property tax portals from assessors/deed offices, such as the one in Cook county, which is a free online search you can use to look it up. A search can be done by either PIN or property address. The search results (from the county which I searched) show the following: Property Characteristics, Tax Bill Mailing Address, assessed value history, property class description, tax billed amounts, tax history, exemptions, appeals, tax sale, documents, deeds and liens. There are other bits and pieces of published information on the same search page. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, the law that gives the County the right to tax my property?
    The Illinois Department of Revenue has an explanation of property taxes here on their website. Look up "Illinois Property Tax System - Illinois Department of Revenue", should come up amongst the first on your search engine results. It is a pdf which tells about the tax better for some than the codes alone (such as: 35 ILCS 200/ Property Tax Code. - Illinois General Assembly). You can also find the PDF by going to the department's website and access their publications with a link on their left menu titled "Publications". There after click on "All Other Publications", on that webpage you will see two links that are helpful, 1. PTAX-1004 - The Illinois Property Tax System and PIO-16 - An Overview of Property Tax. (Staff)
  • How can I find out if my son has filed for a divorce in Illinois?
    If you don't need an official copy, you can get a verification from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Vital Records Division. You can make the request by mail, fax or in person. The verification only shows the names, DOBs, date of the divorce and location. The courthouse also has divorce records, however, you need to know which county the divorce was filed, there are 102 counties in Illinois. Official divorce records are not available from the IDPH, they can however verify that it was granted for a small free, around five dollars. The verification from the IDPH covers dissolution of marriages from 1962, it is done by providing the names, DOBs, date of divorce and location of the divorce. If you need official divorce records, you can go to the individual circuit court clerks of the county where it occurred. You can view a list and access either of these with the links on this page above. The Illinois Court Record link will take you to state's court home page, from there you can access circuit court clerk individually. For the verification, you can use the link to birth records (birth, death, marriage and divorce records are usually provided by the same departments) and access the webpage where the verification can be requested. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, contact information for the owner of a property next door?
    Assessors in Illinois provide the public with property information, some of them charge others don't. Depending on the county, they can be readily available online such as in DuPage, however, Cook and Champaign charge a fee. Some of the assessors sites that charge, will show some information about the property before asking to place the order. (Staff)
  • How can I find out my court date, online in Illinois?
    Which court or county? There are court calendars which show upcoming hearings, 'calendared events' as it is sometimes named. The court clerks also have filing information for the public which anyone can access, however, all courts are not the same, and on the same level. There are over one hundred counties in Illinois, they each have their own clerks which handle its filings. There are online calendars from state to local level courts. Many court clerks in Illinois maintain a webpage which shows upcoming hearings. Madison is a typical example, when you look up their county's page, you can see where the circuit court clerk lists information about cases. These different court clerk's webpages are not all the same and not always immediately found. At the state level, the state's public judicial site shows its oral argument calendars (both for either Supreme or Appellate). If you still have questions about a particular case, there is a list of court clerks by districts or circuits on the state's court webpages. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, an index that lists deaths by location?
    Recorded deaths? As in homicides? Crime mapping shows incidents/crimes including assault and homicides from one street to another. All areas are not covered, however, generally the larger cities are shown. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, what criminal sexual assault means?
    "Sec. 11-1.20. Criminal Sexual Assault" can be found looking up the Illinois compiled statutes at the Illinois General Assembly's website. Look for CRIMINAL OFFENSES (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012, within that database you will be able to find links to general definitions and major sex offenses which should help define it. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, how many felons live in my county?
    Which county? Statistics use the data of where the crime occurs rather than where the criminal lives. However, there are sources, sex offenders, warrants and wanted lists that show their last known location. Depending on the county, the law enforcement agency can have their arrests on crime mapping. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, access to and a copy of my police report and any files pertaining to my case?
    These two records mentioned are usually obtained in different places, law enforcement agencies for police reports and criminal courts for case files. Which county or area did the arrest occur? Typically larger cities have better online resources. Both, courts and law enforcement maintain websites which spell out where and how to get copies of their records from their own individual records divisions. Some police and sheriffs make the initial report free to the person(s) which was arrested. Also, if a PD or attorney can have a copy of their defendant's arrest and case file. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, an 78 to 83 year old individual named, David Arthur Moore?
    One of the crucial parts of starting a successful search is knowing which area to look, as in the county or city. Even if it is an old residence. With common names, it is difficult to point out which one is the right person. Therefore, you must use something about the person that is unique that would appear on public records. An example is the age of the person, there are far less people in the age group you've described, which makes it easier. The keyword is 'people search' or any that are similar to look for databases of names and residences. Knowing the age/age-span, along with the middle initial, should be enough help. Other visitors may be able to help by knowing in which city or area the person was last known to be in. (Staff)
  • Where can I find my arrest record and mug shot, in Illinois?
    How to go about obtaining arrest reports are generally mentioned on the police/sheriff department websites' records divisions, policies can differ from one department to another. Some department offer the first copy free to the person that is related to the arrest. Mug shots and arrests can be seen online, but only of the very recent persons detained. A full report of all arrests and prosecution, called a RAP sheet is different as it shows all arrests, not just a particular one. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, transfer of a deed on a property that was foreclosed?
    Which county? There are many private sites which offer varieties of lists of foreclosed homes and properties, however, if you are looking for a government source to check also, the county of Lake for example, shows foreclosed property sales, sales schedule, most recent sales, bidder and homeowner information. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, if someone is divorced?
    Most state department of health provide divorce/vital records, or dissolution of marriage as the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) names it. The IDPH can only verify facts such as names of persons divorcing, dates of birth, event and the location of the divorce beginning 1962 to the present index date. For official (certified) copies you need to contact the circuit court clerk of the county where the divorce occurred/granted. A list of all circuit court clerks can be viewed online by clicking on the link 'Illinois Court Records:', on the home page you will see the 'Courts' tab, select 'circuit', then click on #3 Circuit Court Clerks/Contact Information, and you will see a list of all clerks and their contact information. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Illinois, about free offender's criminal records?
    Greatly depends on where the criminal search is going to be focused. First, you can look up a list of addresses to check into all areas where the criminal record would be. Second issue to consider is when this occurred. If it is recent, individual county and city jails show their inmate lists online for anyone to check freely. If it is post convictions, the department of corrections offers a similar search for their inmates. You will be able to see a mug shot, physical descriptions and other information about offense/charges, release, sentence, admission, parole date and more. Crime maps are also a free public source which can search incidents/arrests by city block. Along with free searches, government agencies offer various searches that are minimal in cost. Certain court records searches are also free to search such as Adams county. You can get a list of all circuit courts from the state judiciary. (Staff)
  • Where can I find recent arrests in Illinois?
    There are a couple of ways (and probably more) to look up recent arrests. If you're looking up the entire state, you can try crime maps which shows incidents street or block by block. Another method is to look at each individual police department's list of persons in custody, commonly known as an inmate or jail roster, sometimes arrest logs. State police departments don't make as many of the arrests as the local police departments. Since local police departments make a majority of the arrests, its records are going to be spread across various localities across the state. Not are reliable but can be helpful are the online news organizations as they may not show un-eventful arrests. (Staff)