Frequently Asked Questions

Where are vital records located?

  • Typically, vital records—marriage, birth, and death—are filed in the county where the event occurred. For example, if a person was born in Spring Valley but lived in Peru, their birth certificate would still be Bureau County as that is where they were born.

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What constitutes a vital record as a genealogy record in Bureau County?

  • Birth certificates that are 75 years or older (before today's date in 1942);
  • Marriage licenses that are 50 years or older (before today's date in 1967);
  • Death certificates that are 20 years or older (before today's date in 1997).

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What information appears on a Bureau County genealogy record?

The information varies depending on the year. Some of the oldest records have very little information while some of the newer have full details. The list below is a general idea.

  • Birth
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Date of Birth
    • Parental information
    • Place of Birth
    • Address at time of birth
  • Marriage
    • Groom’s Name
    • Bride’s Name
    • Officiant’s Name
    • Date of Marriage
    • Location of Marriage
    • Date License was issued
    • Date license was filed in county
    • Some Parental information after 1878
  • Death
    • Decedent’s Name
    • Date of Birth
    • Place of Birth
    • Some Parental Information
    • Marital Status
    • Last Address
    • Occupation
    • Location of Death
    • Cause of Death
    • Burial Location

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What records does Bureau County have available on Genealogy Online?

  • Birth certificates: 1878 - 1915
  • Marriage licenses: 1878 – 1964
  • Death certificates: 1878 – 1994

Please remember, it was not required that records be filed until 1916 in the State of Illinois. It is possible for any births, deaths or marriages before 1916 that no record is available as it was not filed at the time.

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Are adoption records available in Bureau County?

  • The Circuit Clerk’s office, the County Clerk, is responsible for adoption records. Nearly all adoption records are sealed, but you should check with the Circuit Clerk’s office with any questions regarding adoption records.

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Are Bureau County genealogical documents considered legal documents?

  • • No, Bureau County genealogy documents are non-certified and are for historical research and information purposes only.

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Who can obtain a genealogy record?

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Try Using Alternate Spellings

If you are unable to locate a document by the full spelling of a last name, please try using alternate spellings. Because some records were handwritten in cursive, the spelling of a name sometimes could be interpreted several ways. Try switching around the vowels. For example, an "A" may be an "O" or "U". Consonants may also take a different appearances. An "L" could be an "F", "S" or "T". The letters "PH" could be an "F".

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How Soundex Works

The Soundex Code indexes names by sound as pronounced in English. Soundex can help genealogists by indentifying spelling variations for a given surname (last name). Surnames that sound the same but are spelled differently, such as REED/REID and SMITH/SMITHE, have the same code and are filed together.

Here’s how it works:

  • Each code consists of a letter and three numbers, such as W235.
  • The letter is always the first letter of the surname and the numbers encode the remaining consonants.
  • Zeroes are added at the end if necessary to produce a four-character code. Additional letters are disregarded.

Here are a few examples:

  • Weston is coded W235 (W, followed by 2 for the S, 3 for the T, and 5 for the N. The vowels are ignored.)
  • Dever is coded D160 (D, followed by 1 for the V, 6 for the R, and 0 because there are no other consonants.)
Number Represents the Letters
1B F P V
2C J G K Q S X Z
3D T
4L
5M N
6R

Disregard the letters A, E, I, O, U, H, W, and Y.

There are a few exceptions to this code.

  • If a surname has any double letters, such as WiLLiams, only the first should be counted.
  • If a surname has at least two different letters side-by-side that are assigned the same code number, such as JaCKSon, they should be treated as one letter.
  • Surnames with prefixes – Van, De, Con, for example – may be coded with or without the prefix. Try both ways.
  • If a vowel separates two consonants that have the same code number, the consonant to the right of the vowel is coded.

Now that you've figured out your name's Soundex code, simply enter the code into the "Last Name" field on the search page.

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Where can additional records be found?

Check out our Community Links page to see more resources for your research!

  • Generic Public Library
  • Local Churches

If you can't find the records you are looking for try visiting the sites below for more information regarding genealogy records.

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My Account

My account allows you to change your password and retrieve previous orders within 30 days from the date of purchase. To access the My Account screen you will need to login using your email address and password. After successfully logging in, on the main navigational bar, will be a "My Account" hyperlink. The "My Account" hyperlink will take you to your account information in which you can change your password and view previous orders within 30 days from the date of purchase.

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I Forgot My Password

If you have forgotten your password to the Bureau County Genealogy site, you can retrieve your password by clicking on the "Forgot Password" link on the main navigational bar or clicking here.

Once you have provided the email address associated with your Bureau County Genealogy site account and clicked the SUBMIT button, your password will be sent to your email address. If you do not receive an email, please check your Junk Folder and your email account filter settings.

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I Need More Information

For more information please complete our Contact form.

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