Illinois Probate Records
|Links to Probate-related Topics|
Record Overview[edit | edit source]
Probate encompasses all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, whether there is a will (testate) or not (intestate). Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. Probate records may not give an exact death date, but the death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate. Wills usually mention the names of heirs and frequently specify how those heirs are related. Names of children are given, as well as married names of daughters.
While probate records are one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence, they have limitations.
Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]
Clerk of County's Commissioners' Court (1819 - 1821)
County Probate Court (1821 - 1848)
County Probate Court (for counties with 50,000+ population) (1870 - 1964)
County Court (1848 - 1964)
Circuit Court (1964 - present)
Obtaining the Records[edit | edit source]
The Illinois Regional Archives Depositories includes some online Illinois probate indexes.
The Family History Library has microfilmed many Illinois probate records, generally from the date of the county’s creation until the early 1900s. Probate records can be found in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search.
- DeathIndexes.com provides links to several Illinois probate records.
- USGenWeb, Illinois A cooperative volunteer effort with links to resources in the state and counties.
Learn More[edit | edit source]
- Anne Roach, Courthouse Records Overview (35 minute online video) FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 2010.
- Eichholz, Alice, Editor. Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources. Third Edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004. (See page 185.)
- North, Levi. A Treatise on the Practice in Probate Courts in the Probate of Wills and Settlement of Estates...Illinois.... Chicago: Callaghan & Company, 1875. Available free online.
- Rose, Christine.Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2004.