Divorce Research: Cook County Circuit Court Archives



I will visit the Circuit Court Archives in Chicago to search the plaintiff and/or the defendant indexes for Circuit Court and Superior Court divorces that took place between 1871-1963.

If I find a case number, I will have the file brought in from the warehouse and return in about a week to make color scans of the records. If I’m not able to find a match, I will provide you with a detailed explanation of how and what I searched and will try to include quick camera images so you can look at the index entries, too.

Fees $10 for the index search (billed as an expense). $40/hour for scanning pages from the file with a minimum of 15 minutes. Most files can be scanned in about 30 minutes but sometimes files are large; my quote will usually allow for 45 minutes but if I don’t need to use all the time, I won’t.

Images I provide jpgs (rotated and cropped) and a single pdf that makes files easy to read. I usually use a flatbed scanner but there are two times when I use a digital camera instead: 1) when pages are so brittle that I can’t flatten them; and 2) when I can’t remove fasteners and can’t flatten the pages on the scanner bed. I work hard to get good images no matter what approach I take. They are very readable, even when the pages aren’t optimal for scanning.

I am happy to follow your guidelines and work within your budget. Let me know if you have a preference for how I should make copies. For example, I can scan all the pages in a file or I can select the most relevant genealogical documents. Please understand, though, that if I don’t copy everything, there’s a chance that I might miss something important. I can also opt for quick digital images rather than scans (saves a lot of time) when files are particularly large.

Scanning time varies based on how hard pages are to copy (folded or flat, legal-size requiring me to stitch two images together or 8.5 × 11) but a good rule of thumb is that I can scan, rotate, and crop about 60 images in an hour.

$40.00 /hour + expenses

Retainer upfront; Balance due on completion


Cook County, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois


Cook County Circuit Court Archives

Ordering instructions from chicagogenealogy

Please provide me with the names of the husband and wife and the approximate year of the divorce. If there are any known variations in the spelling of the surname, please include those, too.

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