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How to correct a birth, marriage
or death record

The Cook County Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records, as the local registrar, can make certain changes to birth, marriage and death records. However, some changes must be made by a different local registrar, by the Illinois Department of Public Health, or within a certain timeframe.


Birth record corrections

Corrections made by a local registrar must be completed before the child turns 1. The local registrar may make multiple corrections, such as spelling of child’s first name and mother’s place of birth, but those corrections must be made at the same time.

Please note: If your child was born in Berwyn, Cicero, Evanston, Blue Island, Chicago Heights, Evergreen Park, Harvey, Melrose Park, Skokie, Bremen Township or Proviso Township, please contact your local registrar. 

MAJOR corrections include:

  • Child’s last name
  • Mother or father’s last name
  • Mother or father’s country of birth

Major corrections cannot be made by the Cook County Bureau of Vital Records. If you believe that the Medical Records clerk where the child was born made a data entry error, please contact the medical records clerk at the hospital where the child was born. If hospital medical records determine that it was not a data entry error made by their staff, then the correction must be made by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records.

MINOR corrections include:

  • Child: First name, middle name, time of birth, sex (if name warrants)
  • Mother or Father: First name, middle name, date of birth (no more than 2 years different than date on record), state of birth, address, social security number 

To make a MINOR correction, please print and fill out the Minor Correction of a Birth Record form.

  1. Mail the correction request form, a copy of current photo identification, and the certificates containing the errors to:

   Cook County Clerk David Orr
   Bureau of Vital Records
  
Attn: Current Records
  
P.O. Box 641070
  
Chicago, IL 60664-1070

  1. Visit any Bureau of Vital Records locations. Please bring current photo identification and the certificates containing the errors.


Marriage record corrections

Corrections to marriage records are made at the discretion of the Cook County Bureau of Vital Records.

All correction requests must be made in person at the Bureau of Vital Records downtown office, 50 W. Washington, Lower Level-25, Chicago.

  • Typographical error: If you believe a typographical error was made, you must appear in person with the identification used at the time of application and the document containing the error.
  • Legal name change granted by a court: Please appear in person with identification and a certified copy of the court decree, both of which must reflect the new name.
  • Legal name change due to naturalization: Please appear in person with identification and an original copy of naturalization, both of which must reflect the new name.

If your correction does not fall under one of the above categories, you will need a court order to have your marriage record amended. This means that you will have to file a complaint in circuit court against the Cook County Clerk's Office. The Chicago Legal Clinic Chancery Advice desk on the concourse level of the Daley Center (CL-16) may be able to help you prepare the necessary court documents. For more information on the Chancery Advice Desk you can go in person to the Advice Desk between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or click here


Death record corrections

Corrections made by a local registrar can be made up to 1 year from the date of death. The local registrar may make multiple corrections, such as spelling of decedent’s first name or decedent’s occupation, but those corrections must be made at the same time.

Corrections may be requested by: decedent’s spouse or the informant, funeral director or physician identified on the record.

Please note: If the deceased died in Berwyn, Cicero, Evanston, Blue Island, Chicago Heights, Evergreen Park, Harvey, Melrose Park, Skokie, Bremen Township or Proviso Township, please contact your local registrar.

MAJOR corrections include:

  • Decedent’s last name
  • Surviving spouse’s last name
  • Cause of death
  • Decedent’s country of birth
  • Spouse’s first or middle name
  • Informant’s first or middle name

Major corrections cannot be made by the Cook County Bureau of Vital Records. Please contact the funeral director who handled the decedent’s burial or cremation. You may also choose to have major corrections made by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records.

MINOR corrections include:

  • Decedent’s first or middle name
  • Decedent’s sex (if name warrants)
  • Decedent’s date of birth (no more than 2 years different than date on record)
  • Decedent’s place of birth (city and state only)
  • Decedent’s social security number
  • Decedent’s residence
  • Demographics
  • Decedent’s occupation
  • Decedent’s military service
  • Time of death
  • Place of death
  • Parents’ first or middle name
  • Informant’s address

To make a MINOR correction, please print and fill out the Minor Correction of a Death Record form.

  1. Mail the correction request form, a copy of current photo identification, and the certificates containing the errors to:

    Cook County Clerk David Orr
    Bureau of Vital Records
    Attn: Current Records
    P.O. Box 641070
    Chicago, IL 60664-1070

  2. Visit the Cook County Clerk’s downtown Bureau of Vital Records, 50 W. Washington, Lower Level-25, Chicago. Please bring current photo identification and the certificates containing the errors.

Wallet Certificates