Records of State Mental Hospitals at the Illinois State Archives, Part 1 | Page 2 | Newberry

Records of State Mental Hospitals at the Illinois State Archives, Part 1

NOTE: A follow-up to this post was published on Thursday, July 26, 2012, with the title “Help in Accessing Closed Records of Illinois State Mental Hospitals.” It answers many of the questions we have received via comments. To learn more about accessing mental health records, please read this follow-up after reading the post below. To get answers to Individual questions, contact a librarian.

When a genealogist finds an ancestor in the U.S. Census enumerated in a state mental hospital, questions naturally arise.  Why was my ancestor in this institution? How long was he or she there?  What was it like to be there?

The answers to these questions are hard to get because mental health patient records are closed in Illinois.  The patient or his or her guardian must sign a release of information.  After death, the release comes through the executor of the patient’s estate or through a court order issued in an Illinois circuit court.

Patient records are held in one of three places:  the Illinois State Archives (ISA) in Springfield, the hospitals, and more recent records by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The Archives advises that case files were not required to be retained until the early 1980s, so there are likely losses.  Case files from the 1800s at ISA consist of large registers with a few lines of description, not voluminous file folders full of material.

“Basically any record from a mental health and developmental center that mentions a patient name is closed – this includes what would seem like mundane things such as ‘Registers of Visitors’ or ‘Telephone and Telegraph Messages,’” explains ISA archivist John Reinhardt.  It does not matter how old the record is.

The good news is that there are many open records that will give you a context about the institution to which your ancestor was committed.  Examples are photos, floor plans, statistics, funding levels, descriptions of therapeutic programs, and reports on living conditions.

I discuss the open records at the Illinois State Archives in this article.  Future articles will cover the ISA’s closed records and the process of obtaining a court order to access them, as well as additional sources of open and closed material.

Past and Present State Hospitals

  • Alton State Hospital
  • Anna State Hospital
  • Chester State Hospital (treated the criminally insane)
  • Chicago State Hospital
  • Dixon State Hospital (treated epileptics and the developmentally disabled)
  • East Moline State Hospital
  • Elgin State Hospital
  • Galesburg State Research Hospital
  • Jacksonville State Hospital
  • Kankakee State Hospital
  • Manteno State Hospital
  • Neuropsychiatric Institute (Chicago)
  • Peoria State Hospital
  • Tinley Park State Hospital

The Descriptive Inventory of the Archives of the State of Illinois (online at, or in hard copy at many libraries) provides thumbnail histories of many hospitals and their name changes. For example, RG (Record Group) 267.000 notes how Galesburg State Research Hospital became Galesburg Mental Health Center.

You’ll need both the RG number and the record series number to request holdings at the Archives. 

RG numbers consist of three digits followed by a decimal point and three zeros.  267.000 in the previous paragraph is an example of a RG number. 

Record series numbers indicate sub-sections of record groups.  Record series numbers consist of the first three numerals of the RG number followed by a decimal point and three digits of sequentially ordered numbers.  103.228 mentioned later in this article is an example of a record series number.  It identifies “Governors’ subject files (index division)” within records from the Secretary of State’s Office at RG 103.000.

Although mail research requests are permitted, they can only be done for indexed records, and only three of the record series listed below contain indices. “Due to limitations on staff time we are unable to research administrative or correspondence files or any non-indexed records,” clarifies Reinhardt, “but they are available for public use at the Archives.  I highly recommend that, prior to making a mail request, researchers contact us regarding the ability of our staff to research the records of interest and for clarification of any research and copy fees.” 

Illinois residents pay no research fee and receive up to two non-certified photocopies (if found) at no charge when submitting a research request.  The cost of additional photocopies is $0.50/page.

Non-residents prepay a non-refundable $10 fee that includes up to two non-certified photocopies (if found).  The cost of additional photocopies is $0.50/page. See for more information.

The ISA reserves the right to limit the number of additional photocopies provided both to Illinois and non-Illinois residents, based on the amount of material requested, because of the small number of staff.

Given that distance research is severely limited, and that most of the material is unindexed, in-person visits will be most productive.  You are the best judge of what you want to learn and the level of detail you wish to pursue. You will also make many more contextual connections reviewing a swath of material and forming a big picture. The archivists are there to answer questions that arise. It’s actually a more efficient use of your time to do the research in person.  Just make sure to double-check with the Archives before your visit to confirm access to the items you wish to see.

Contact information: Illinois State Archives, Norton Building, Capitol Complex, Springfield, IL 62756, telephone (217) 782-4866, facsimile (217) 524-3930.  Hours are 8 am – 4:30 pm weekdays, except state holidays.  The Norton Building is located near the northwest corner of Edwards Street and Second Street.  Use the handicapped-accessible entrance.  Like other government archives, you’ll need to go through a metal detector in the lobby and store coats and large items in a locker.  Parking is available at the Visitor’s Center on Edwards Street between College and Pasfield. Daily Amtrak trains also serve Springfield; the station at 100 N. Third Street is about five blocks away.

Open Records of State Hospitals at the Illinois State Archives

These edited listings are taken from the Descriptive Inventory and include the RG number, the name of the department that created the records, the subcategory, the overall date span, the total number of cubic feet of records, and the presence or absence of an index. I have listed them in RG order.  When no particular hospital is noted in the listing, assume that the records apply to all of the hospitals and/or references to all hospitals will be contained therein.

103.228 — Secretary of State

EXECUTIVE SECTION. GOVERNORS’ SUBJECT FILES (INDEX DIVISION). 1824-1960. 24 cu. ft. No index.  Mainly reports on expenditures, buildings and grounds and so forth.

  • Anna State Hospital (1869-1896)
  • Chester State Hospital (1893-1896)
  • East Moline State Hospital (1891-1896)
  • Elgin State Hospital (1870-1895)
  • Jacksonville State Hospital (1865-1871; 1879-1880; 1885-1896)

206.002 – Dept of Public Welfare

ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS. Ca. 1928-1961. 66.5 cu. ft. No index.

Photographs of buildings, grounds, special facilities, and patient activities at mental institutions; annual reports of the Department of Public Welfare and of divisions, institutions, and programs under its control; reports of investigations of these institutions.

Continued by 218.001 — Dept of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS. 1961-1973. 27 cu. ft. No index.

Per ISA:  “These records do not normally contain patient names and are open with limited restriction – our staff reserves the right to review any material prior to it being copied by a patron in order to insure that no identifying information related to a patient is compromised.”

206.007 – Dept of Public Welfare

GENERAL ORDERS. 1910-1923. 1 vol. Index, 1910-1915, 2 vols.

Orders to department institutions concern patient care, duties of officers of institutions, construction of facilities, employee conduct, appointments, salaries, supplies, holidays, appropriations, job descriptions, workmen’s compensation, unions, safety, name changes of state institutions, and new divisions within the department.

206.009 – Dept of Public Welfare

REPORT ON THE STATE MENTAL HOSPITALS IN ILLINOIS. 1953. 3 vols. No index. Report of the Central Inspection Board of the American Psychiatric Association surveys, evaluates, and provides recommendations in regard to the operational phases of state mental health facilities.  Facilities evaluated include:

  • Alton State Hospital
  • Anna State Hospital
  • Chicago State Hospital
  • East Moline State Hospital
  • Elgin State Hospital
  • Galesburg State Hospital
  • Illinois Security Hospital
  • Jacksonville State Hospital
  • Kankakee State Hospital
  • Manteno State Hospital
  • Peoria State Hospital

218.008 — Dept of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

HOSPITAL ACCREDITATION SURVEY FILES. 1971-1974. 6 cu. ft. No index.

Records arranged by facility include correspondence concerning survey preparation, completed survey questionnaires, lists of standards with the facility’s performance noted, and survey results and recommendations. Questionnaires contain information on capacity of facilities, types of care available, construction, hospital bylaws, hospital ownership and management, compliance with laws and regulations, hospital resources, number and type of practitioners, and type and condition of facilities and equipment used. Records are included for:

  • Alton State Hospital
  • East Moline State Hospital
  • Elgin State Hospital
  • Galesburg State Hospital
  • Jacksonville State Hospital
  • Kankakee State Hospital
  • Manteno State Hospital
  • Peoria State Hospital

218.013 — Dept of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

FACILITY CLOSING FILES. 1975-1986. 2 cu. ft. No index.

Files include departmental surveys, proposals, studies, reports, and related correspondence which concern the closing and consolidation of mental health facilities. Subjects include statewide changes in client populations, the disposition of residents at facilities scheduled for closing, employee layoffs and transfers, displaced employee re-education programs, conversion and reuse of facilities, physical plant shutdowns, and the disposition of equipment. Also included are maps of facility grounds, structure floor plans, press releases, and newspaper clippings. Facilities addressed in these files include:

  • East Moline Mental Health Center
  • Galesburg Mental Health Center
  • Manteno Mental Health Center

243.012 — Dept of Corrections

DISCHARGE RECORD. 1878-1918; 1922-1970. 7 vols. Partial index, 1878-1918.

Record shows the inmate’s name, registration number, and type of discharge. For 1878-1918 record gives detailed information on escapes, deaths, pardons, and transfers to the insane asylum.

Per ISA:  Because these are prison records, they are open 75 years to the day after their creation. For example, a discharge record created February 3, 1937 would be open February 3, 2012.

 252.017 — Jacksonville Mental Health and Development Center

BIENNIAL REPORTS. 1847-1862. 1 vol. No index.

Biennial reports of the trustees, superintendent, and treasurer to the General Assembly include narratives on the construction and renovation of facility structures and sanitation systems; funding and expenditures; patient admissions, treatments, recoveries, and deaths; farm and garment shop production; legislation affecting the mentally ill; and personnel matters. Attached to narratives are listings of institution officers; copies of the institution’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, and general rules; and statistics concerning admissions, recoveries, discharges, funding, expenditures, and farm and garment shop production.

258.002 — Kankakee Mental Health Center

PATHOLOGICAL REPORTS. May 1, 1893-July 1, 1895. 1 vol. Index.

Autopsy reports on 192 patients are arranged by the type of diagnosed mental condition (e.g., senile dementia, chronic mania, organic brain disease). Reports include the patient’s admission number, age, and sex, cause of death, and comments regarding the conditions of vital organs. Occasionally provided are the duration of the mental condition, the length of institutionalization, and comments on the patient’s behavior. Also included are summaries of autopsy observations, photographs and drawings of the brain and other vital organs, and closing remarks of the staff pathologist concerning overall observations.

 Per ISA:  “These records are open to public inspection without restriction since no patient names are given.”

262.011 — East Moline Mental Health Center

PHOTOGRAPH FILES. 1898-1962. 0.25 cu. ft. No index.

Files include twelve photographs of former superintendents of the facility and six photographs of the grounds prior to the construction of the East Moline Mental Health Center building.

262.012 — East Moline Mental Health Center

SCRAPBOOK. 1953-1964. 1 cu. ft. No index.

Scrapbook of newspaper clippings concerns staff appointments, visitation days, mental illness panel discussions, volunteer programs, therapy projects, legal cases, facility improvements, operations of the hospital farm, recognition of personnel, Mental Health Week activities, hospital conditions, and fund drives.

 306.001 — Board of Mental Health Commissioners

ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS. 1929-1971. 30 cu. ft. No index.

General file contains a wide range of material including reports, surveys, and investigations of state mental institutions, including material from the board’s 1962 investigation of Anna State Hospital; promotional material and publications of the Departments of Public Welfare and Mental Health; and photographs of inmates and employees of Jacksonville State Hospital taken during a 1963 legislative tour.

 351.003 — Board of Administration

REPORTS OF OFFICIAL VISITS. 1910-1915. 1 vol. No index.

Reports were made by the board’s alienist*, fiscal supervisor, physician, and various committees after visiting state institutions. Reports primarily deal with the treatment and care of inmates, living conditions, and maintenance of institutional property.

* A physician who is an expert witness on mental competence.

by Grace Dumelle, Genealogy and Local History Assistant


Thank you so much for the info, and I am so sorry it took me so long to get back to you but I just say this answer from you....I have written to so many people, places and I sometimes forget who I write to ect..I will use these sites that you recommended and get back to you and let you know what I have found...
I am trying to get information on an inmate who died at Dixon Stae Hospital in 1933 names Josephine Albright. I am doing research for descendant of one Josephine Albright nee Collier who was married to Charles F. Albright in Wisconsin 1880-1964 Beloit Wis. Josephine Albright has completely fallen off the radar for all known descendants and I am trying to learn if the Josephine Albright inmate at Dixon State hospital is the same spouse of Charles F Albright. Any help would be appreciated.
@Allen - We suggest you try to obtain the death certificate for Josephine Albright. The Illinois Department of Public Health has these records.
I am trying to find my grandfather in the 1940 census. I know he was hospitalized as a veteran in early 1936 and remained hospitalized until his death in 1956. I found a Frank Novak in Elgin state hospital in 1940. How can I get information to determine if his my grandfather
Was looking for my great-grandmother in 1930 and 1940 census and found her name listed at the Jacksonville mental hospital. I'm wondering how I might find out if it is my great-grandmother, and if so, any other information about why she was there, when she left and where she went from there.
@ Brenda - Because these records are not available to the public, the best course of action would be to start with some legal advice. If you don't know of a lawyer who can assist you, you may want to try the Illinois State Bar Association service available at: Be sure to check out Part II of this post, "Help in Accessing Closed Records of Illinois State Mental Hospitals," available at:
my great great grandfather was in the springfield mental hospital around 1925 and later i think i have a son with mental illness and would like to have my great great grandfathers records his name was conrad derring from effingham county or shelby county
I am trying to find information on Rebecca Fox. She was a patient at the Chicago State Hospital in 1920. She is listed in the 1920 record as an inmate. But in the 1930 record she is listed as being a patient. I know her husband passed away in 1912 and she was new to America at this point with several children. If anyone could help me figure out what may have happened. I would be greatful.
According to my grandmother, her brother (and my great uncle) Inel Bolden, was placed at the Institute For the Feeble Minded, later known as the Lincoln State School and Colony, in Lincoln, Illinois. Inel was born on or around 1914, and according to my grandmother he was placed in this facility in 1930 or 1931. My grandmother is now 98 years old and not in the best health. She has asked me numerous times over the past few years if I could find out were brother Inel is buried and any information I can find regarding why he was at that institution in the first place. This is a tough task but if you can help me get started on this I would surely appreciate it. What should I do first? And how should I go about ascertaining Inel's mental health file from the State of Illinois (assuming it even still exist)?
@Ron - a reply has been sent to you privately.
@Cheryl - According to the "Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947" database (available on Rebecca Fox died 10 Aug 1932. You may want to start by obtaining a copy of her death certificate. For information about ordering Cook County Vital Records, see:
@Betty - Please see above response to Brenda.
I am looking for any information on my grandmother, Grace Klick who was a patient at Manteno State Hospital and may have died there in the late 1950's or early 60's. My mother, Alice Raschke did not give us any information and I cannot find anywhere she may have been buried. If anyone knows any of this information please let me know to put this unfortunate mystery to rest.
@Cynthia - Unfortunately, there is no state-wide death index in Illinois for that time frame. I checked the Kankakee Death index ( for Grace Klick, but found no entry. The Illinois State Archives website holds the Department of Public Welfare, "Admission and Discharge Reports," Record Series 206.008. It appears that this series only includes records up to 1951. I suggest contacting the Archives to see if they do hold later records. Note that these records are restricted (see for more details).
I'm not currently an Illinois State Resident as I am 84 years old and live w/my oldest daughter in Pennsylvania,but have lived my whole life in Illinois previously. I grew up in what is currently E.St.Louis,Ill. The area at the time of the war(WWII) was called PingPong. My recollection at the age of approx. 13 was seeing my father Tilford Lafayette Self,being walked out to the local constables (Bill Black) car accompanied by my mother, Rosa Lee Self. My father had been acting strangely(he was 56 yrs. old when he married my mother and she was 19 yrs.old) according to what was told to us kids,by standing in the middle of the night looking over us while we slept. Not a good enough reason to be committed to Alton State Hospital the way I see it but my mother must have felt as though he was a threat to us,and I don't remember him being anything but gentle natured when growing up. Some speculation by my siblings was that father had gotten a little senile,but also my mother had feelings for another man at the time who just happened to be fathers best friend. How convenient! Anyway, to wrap this story up, father was taken to Alton around the beginning of WWII and back then we had no phone so an Aunt of ours,my fathers sister Cleo,went to pick him up about a year after his being committed to live with her and when I was about 15 yrs.old a letter came to our house from Aunt Cleo that father had died. So what I would like to know,is what on earth was he committed for(around 1941),and he was only there for about a year. Could you lead me in the direction to get this information as I'm not a" spring chicken " anymore and would like for my heirs to have this information as they are working on our geneology. Thank you for your help in advance. Sincerely Grace M. (Self) Conner
@Grace- As an immediate family member you should be able to obtain these records. Check this post for further details- You'll need to get a certified copy of your father's death certificate and determine if there is a probate file. Tilford Self appears to have died in Clay County, Arkansas, so its best to check with the County clerk to find out how to obtain this information. You can contact them at: or (870) 598-2813.
You don't have the watertown state hospital for the insane!!!!!
@Lena - Per Joseph. Mehr in "An Illustrated History Of Illinois Public Mental Health Services: 1847 To 2000," legislation was passed in 1895 authorizing the state hospital in Watertown. The village of Watertown was later annexed by the city of East Moline and in 1929 the name of the institution was changed to East Moline State Hospital. For more reading suggestions, check out this post:
There is a family named Totten in Cherry Valley IL (I think one of them is the former police chief of the village...everybody knows the Tottens) Maybe they know of Paul Totten and the village also has a cemetery.
My great aunt Mary L. Faber was a patient at the Anna State Hospital. She was sent there in l904. I am unable to get the Judge in the Circuit court in Union County to release her record. I cannot find any record of her death. She was not listed on the 1910 Federal Census for the Hospital. Can someone help me as to what to do next? Thank you. Laverne
@Laverne - I'm responding with a private email.
@Laverne - I'm responding with a private email.
Everyone wants to know about their ancestors and other vital information related to them. Genealogy records are now available online and are easily accessible as well for people of Illinois. For more information regarding Illinois public records:
I want to see the records of my mother, who was in Elgin State Hospital. She was placed there shortly after I was born in 1945 due to cretinism resulting in problem behavior. From June 1947 to August 1947, she was in the University of Illinois R&E Hospital for a brain tumor surgery. She was returned to the Elgin State Hospital, but taken home eight months before she died on Feb 29, 1948 at home of the brain tumor. I have the UI records, and both her birth certificate and death certificate, and my own original birth certificate. I was adopted out in a closed adoption but I do have my original birth certificate and names of all her relatives. I wonder if you could help me to find her Elgin State Hospital records. Thank you.
My grand father, Antonio DeLucia, was a patient at Kankakee State Hospital per the 1930 census. I also came across a record from immigration record #55,788-935 dated July 1932 - stating that the doctor recommended he be deported back to Italy for reason of insanity. This never happened because I have a death certificate, he died January 19, 1937 Chicago, Illinois. Additional information is a birthdate of January 5, 1881 in Acerra, Italy. Please can anyone help with additional information! Thank you
My great-grandmother, Mary Callahan was a patient at Chicago State Insane Hospital in the 1930's. Supposedly she died there. How can I find why she was there, Did she, in fact, die there and her case files. All of her relatives on the Callahan side are dead. Please advise. Thank you
@Barbara G. - Check out the information in the first part of the post at: It explains the process for gaining access to mental health records when you are an immediate family member.
@Barbra J. - You may find the additional information in a subsequent post of some help. Also, be sure to check for probate records for your grandfather as they may contain information about his mental status. Cook County probate records are available from the Archives Department of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. More details can be found on their website:
@Lydia - You may want to start by acquiring a copy of your great-grandmother's death certificate. The Illinois State Death Index 1916-1950 database will provide the details you need to order a copy. You may also want to check probate records for both Mary and her husband (see response to @Barbra J. Because the mental health records are not available to the public, the best course of action would be to start with some legal advice. If you don't know of a lawyer who can assist you, you may want to try the Illinois State Bar Association service available at: Be sure to check out Part II of this post, "Help in Accessing Closed Records of Illinois State Mental Hospitals," available at:
Both of my great grandparents ended up in the Bartonville State Hospital ( Peoria) around the same time and they are buried in the cemetery behind the building. They had a son ( my grandfather) out of wedlock because they had an affair while married to other people. My grandfather was left on the steps of an orphanage, I would like to find out how to get more info on my g grandparents. My dad has my grandpas birth certificate which is the only reason we know who my g grandparents are, my grandpa was adopted but was able to keep his birth name. My g grandparents was John Scott Green and Barbra Scott. John died around 1945 , and I think Barbra died around 1953.
@Naomi - There are a few strategies you can try to learn more about your great-grandparents beyond looking at mental health records as described above and in the post at: . I'd first suggest obtaining copies of their death certificates. Then I'd look for probate documents. If either Barbara or John eventually divorced, I'd check those records as well (you might learn this from the death certificates). To learn more about finding these records in Peoria County, check out the FamilySearch Wiki at:,_Illinois
I am looking for information on Mattie Belle Meckstroth who was on the 1910 census for Anna State Hospital. She was my great-grandmother and we are unable to find any records of her death certificate or where she is buried. Any help that you may be able to give us on her stay at Anna State Hosp. would be appreciated. My grandmother Mabel Meckstroth Wasson would have been her daughter.
I am looking for records on my Great Aunt, Bertha Viola Shimp. I found her in the 1920 census in Elgin State Mental Hospital. She eventually moved back with her family in Naperville, but in about 1931 was committed to Dixon State Hospital, where she died in 1935. I'm wondering if it's possible with either institution to obtain any of her records and how I would go about obtaining them.
@Patricia - There is an entry for Mattie in the online "Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre–1916." The link to this index and information on ordering death certificates is: For additional information on obtaining mental health records, see our post at:
@Barbara - Please check out Part II of this post, "Help in Accessing Closed Records of Illinois State Mental Hospitals," available at: It should answer most of your questions.
I am looking for my husbands great aunt who, in 1940, was listed at Dixon State hospital. Her name is Olivia J Duneer and had Downs Syndrome. She was born @1888 in Minnesota. After her parents died we assumed she went to live with her brother or sister, but have not been able to find anything until the release of the 1940 Census. Is there a way to find when she died and where she is buried?
@ Julie - As there is a good chance Olivia stayed at Dixon the rest of her life, I suggest requesting her death certificate from the Illinois Department of Public Health, giving Dixon as her last known address. Although her medical records are confidential, her death record should be publicly available. You can read the details at:
My great-great grandmother died in Manteno State Hospital in 1943. To the best of my knowledge, she was there for approximately 3 years. The index included in the article above does not have any matches for MSH in the years she was there. Would that mean that her records are closed? If so, could you possibly give me a little insight on how I could possibly go about obtaining them? Thank yoyu
@Mike - You can search the Illinois State Archives' records for "Manteno State Hospital" by going to: . It looks like Manteno records for the time period you need are included in the "Department of Public Welfare: Admission and Discharge Reports, 1920-1951." These records are closed, however. Please check out Part II of this post, "Help in Accessing Closed Records of Illinois State Mental Hospitals," available at: It should answer most of your questions.
I am searching for any information on my mother whowas a patient at Manteno in the late 50's thru 70's. Her name was Virginia Becker or Virginia Ocsecki
@Patrick - Please check out Part II of this post, "Help in Accessing Closed Records of Illinois State Mental Hospitals," available at: Since you are looking for your mother's records, the first section of the post contains the information you need.
I am wriring from Richmond Texas. My great grandmother spent time in the Jacksonville State Hospital IL somewhere between 1920 and 1930. I have been searching everywhere for records on her and am having no luck. Her name was Carrie Minert Brownlow. Any assistance wout be appricated.
My great grandfather, Herbert W. Moak, died in Kankakee State Hospital on May 10, 1937. Any information or even a picture would be greatly appreciated!
To get answers to questions regarding obtaining these records, please check out Part II of this post, "Help in Accessing Closed Records of Illinois State Mental Hospitals," available at: If you still have questions, submit them using the form at:
ANNA IL asylum patient HOLLIE BOLTON--HALLIE BOLTON--HOLLIE BOLTMAN She is my great aunt and was admitted possibly by husband Felix Bolton between 1925-1930. She remained a patient till her death in may 1971. Believe she died in metropolis IL Her birthdate is March 1896- McLean Co KY. Anna Hospital ordered her burial permit JUNE 1971. Looked in Cemetery on the grounds of Anna Hospital. Not located. I want to find her resting place and put a stone on her grave a d flowers. She was a deaf-mute and we visited her when I was a child from 1963-1969 Then lost track of her. She was a loving kind lady and she deserves to be found and future generations to know where she is. If anyone knows Anything of her life as a patient and what happened to her, please email me @
@ Janie - You should be able to order a copy of your great-aunt's death certificate from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The website is:
PLEASE. I am searching for ANY info. on my great-grandmother:DAISY EWER. I know she was in Watertown State Hospital in 1919(age 34) til her death at age 63 in 1949!Admitted when?,why, any info on her death and place of burial...
@Cheryl - Although the hospital records are sealed, death certificates in Illinois older than 20 years are publicly available. According to the Illinois State Archives Death Index for 1916-1950, Daisy died 4 June 1949 in Rock Island. Her death certificate number is: 0025607. Information on obtaining the certificate can be found at: The death certificate will provide cause of death and burial location. It may also include length of residence.
From Jen: How are the above requirements affected by the January 2013 change in the HIPPA law allowing release of records over 50 years old?
@Jen - Good question, Jen. I am awaiting clarification from the Illinois State Archives. The HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) law is a federal law. The change allowed the release of medical records for patients deceased 50 years or more. However, Section 5 of the state Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act (740 ILCS 110/5/e) reads: “Records and communication shall remain confidential after the death of a recipient and shall not be disclosed unless the recipient’s representative, as defined in the Probate Act of 1975, and the therapist consent to such disclosure or unless disclosure is authorized by court order after in camera examination and upon good cause.” In practical terms, that boils down to obtaining a court order, because how would one know the identity of the therapist to ask consent without having the records? And even if the psychiatrist or nurse was known, is that person still alive? Judy Russell, the attorney and genealogist behind The Legal Genealogist blog, writes that the HIPPA change does not trump “additional and more restrictive state laws.” See her May 13, 2013 comment on her April 8, 2013 post “Breakthrough for medical genealogy,” (used with permission). My guess is that the Illinois State Archives will need to request a legal opinion to clarify the matter. No telling how long that will take, but I will follow up and report ISA’s response. Grace Dumelle


Add new comment