According to the Illinois State Genealogical Society newsletter, between 1867 and 1964, adoptions were handled by the County Courts, which were abolished in 1964.

Where does one look now for adoption court files for cases that were handled by these courts? Are these publicly available, or are they only available to direct descendants?

A related question: were proceedings of these courts documented somewhere in digest form that may be more accessible than the originals?

2 Answers 2


Records of adoption will be sealed...assuming the local court in question knows to seal them and does not allow them to be viewed by the public.

Chances are these records have not been microfilmed. IRAD usually only has microfilmed copies of the records if the Family History Library has microfilmed them. Few counties have given IRAD actual court records and if IRAD has them, IRAD will be well aware to limitations on access.

  • I will just add that I have been trying to do similar searches and the situation has not changed since this was posted two years ago. I found that IRAD has some records up through the early 1900s at most but then it resides with the local courts, if they have them. I have not found the CyberDriveIllinois particularly useful yet because seems to have a major gap in completeness of data even for the period it is supposed to be covering.
    – CRSouser
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 16:52

It appears that there are 102 counties in the State of Illinois, so you will need to refine your search.

Once you have information on the probable location of the court (based upon residence of the birth mother or the adoptive parents) then you can use the list at CyberDriveIllinois http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/IRAD/iradregn.html to identify the appropriate Regional Archives Depository (of which there are seven, associated with university libraries).

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