Illinois Probate Records

From FamilySearch Wiki

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=== Record Overview ===
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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.  
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Probate records are court records created after an individual’s death that relate to a court’s decisions regarding the distribution of the estate to the heirs or creditors and the care of any dependents. These documents are important to family history researchers because they usually exist for time periods before civil birth and death records were kept. While probate records are one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence, they have [[United States Probate Limitations|limitations]].  
  
While probate records are one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence, they have [[United States Probate Limitations|limitations]].
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=== Availability ===
 
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=== Jurisdictions ===
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Variations existed within counties as probate jurisdictions and county boundaries changed over the years.  
 
Variations existed within counties as probate jurisdictions and county boundaries changed over the years.  
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'''Territorial (1787 - 1818)'''<br>County Probate Judge and Clerk (1787 - 1795)<br>Orphans Court composed of Justices of Quarter Sessions (1795 - 1805)<br>Court of Common Pleas (1805 - 1816)<br>Clerk of County Court (1816 - 1819)  
 
'''Territorial (1787 - 1818)'''<br>County Probate Judge and Clerk (1787 - 1795)<br>Orphans Court composed of Justices of Quarter Sessions (1795 - 1805)<br>Court of Common Pleas (1805 - 1816)<br>Clerk of County Court (1816 - 1819)  
  
'''State (1818 - present)'''<br>Clerk of County Court (1816 - 1819)<br>Clerk of County's Commissioners' Court (1819 - 1821)<br>County Probate Court (1821 - 1848)<br>County Probate Court (for counties with 50,000+ population) (1870 - 1964)<br>County Court (1848 - 1964)<br>Circuit Court (1964 - present)
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'''State (1818 - present)'''<br>Clerk of County Court (1816 - 1819)<br>Clerk of County's Commissioners' Court (1819 - 1821)<br>County Probate Court (1821 - 1848)<br>County Probate Court (for counties with 50,000+ population) (1870 - 1964)<br>County Court (1848 - 1964)<br>Circuit Court (1964 - present)  
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Contact the Circuit Court of the county of interest to view or obtain copies of original records. Off-site access to some Illinois probate records might be found in the following:
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*[http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases.html The Illinois Regional Archives Depositories] includes some online Illinois probate indexes.
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*[http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#w=0&p=waypoint&s=waypointsOnly&c=fs%3A1834344 FamilySearch Historical Records] collection includes free online images of will books, administrations, journals, inventories, guardian's records, and order books from probate courts in Illinois. The collection includes the following counties: Alexander, Coles, Effingham, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hancock, La Salle, Logan, Madison, Massac, Piatt, Pope, Rock Island, Shelby, White, Whiteside, and Williamson. The content and time period will vary by county.
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*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.
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*[http://www.deathindexes.com/illinois/index.html DeathIndexes.com] provides links to several Illinois probate records.
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*[http://ilgenweb.net/ USGenWeb, Illinois] is a cooperative volunteer effort with links to resources in the state and counties.
  
 
=== State Statutes  ===
 
=== State Statutes  ===
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*Simons, Franklin Pierce. ''A Treatise on the Probate Practice and Law of Estates in the State of Illinois''....Chicago: Callaghan &amp; Co., 1907. View at [http://www.archive.org/details/probatepracticel01simo Internet Archive].<br>  
 
*Simons, Franklin Pierce. ''A Treatise on the Probate Practice and Law of Estates in the State of Illinois''....Chicago: Callaghan &amp; Co., 1907. View at [http://www.archive.org/details/probatepracticel01simo Internet Archive].<br>  
 
*Starr, Merritt and Russell H. Curtis, editors. ''Annotated Statutes of the State of Illinois in Force January 1, 1885 ....''Volume I. Chicago: Callaghan &amp; Co., 1885. View at [http://books.google.com/books?id=RDwlAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=illinois+statutes&hl=en&ei=uiizTNDDF46gsQOh0Y3zAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CF4Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false Google Books] using the search term "probate" for references specific to probate.
 
*Starr, Merritt and Russell H. Curtis, editors. ''Annotated Statutes of the State of Illinois in Force January 1, 1885 ....''Volume I. Chicago: Callaghan &amp; Co., 1885. View at [http://books.google.com/books?id=RDwlAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=illinois+statutes&hl=en&ei=uiizTNDDF46gsQOh0Y3zAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CF4Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false Google Books] using the search term "probate" for references specific to probate.
 
=== Availability  ===
 
 
*[http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases.html The Illinois Regional Archives Depositories] includes some online Illinois probate indexes.
 
 
*[http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#w=0&p=waypoint&s=waypointsOnly&c=fs%3A1834344 FamilySearch Historical Records] collection includes free online images of will books, administrations, journals, inventories, guardian's records, and order books from probate courts in Illinois. The collection includes the following counties: Alexander, Coles, Effingham, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hancock, La Salle, Logan, Madison, Massac, Piatt, Pope, Rock Island, Shelby, White, Whiteside, and Williamson. The content and time period will vary by county.
 
 
*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.
 
 
*[http://www.deathindexes.com/illinois/index.html DeathIndexes.com] provides links to several Illinois probate records.
 
 
*[http://ilgenweb.net/ USGenWeb, Illinois] A cooperative volunteer effort with links to resources in the state and counties.
 
  
 
=== Learn More  ===
 
=== Learn More  ===
  
*Anne Roach, ''[https://fch.ldschurch.org/WWSupport/Courses/FamilyHistoryLibraryExport/Goldmine__Beyond_the_Court_Order_Book/Player.html Courthouse Records Overview]'' (35 minute online video) [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_online.asp%3FActiveTab=2 FamilySearch Research Classes Online], 2010.  
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*Anne Roach, ''[https://fch.ldschurch.org/WWSupport/Courses/FamilyHistoryLibraryExport/Goldmine__Beyond_the_Court_Order_Book/Player.html Courthouse Records Overview]'' (35 minute online video) [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_online.asp%3FActiveTab=2 FamilySearch Research Classes Online], 2010.<br>
*Eichholz, Alice, Editor. ''Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources.'' Third Edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004. (See page 185.)
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*Rose, Christine.''Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures.'' San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2004. Of particular interest are the chapters, "Estates Galore," "Estate Documents," "Milking Every Clue from Estates," and "Strategies that Work."
*North, Levi. ''A Treatise on the Practice in Probate Courts in the Probate of Wills and Settlement of Estates...Illinois....'' Chicago: Callaghan &amp; Company, 1875. Available free [http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924024669115 online].  
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*Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors. ''The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.'' Third edition. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, Inc., 2006. Of particular interest is the section, "Probate," pages 268 - 277.
*Rose, Christine.''Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures.'' San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2004.
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=== Sources  ===
 
=== Sources  ===
  
*Eichholz, Alice, Editor. ''Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources.'' Third Edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004. There is a Probate Records section under each state's listings.  
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*Eichholz, Alice, Editor. ''Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources.'' Third Edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004. (See page 185.)
*Greenwood, Val D. Third edition. ''The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. ''Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2000. Of particular interest are the chapters, "Understanding Probate Records and Basic Legal Terminology," "What About Wills?" and "The Intestate—Miscellaneous Probate Records—Guardianships."
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*Greenwood, Val D. Third edition. ''The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. ''Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2000, 346.  
*Pease, Theodore Calvin. "The County Archives of the State of Illinois." Clarence Walworth Alvord, editor. ''Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library.'' Volume XII. Springfield, Ill.: Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, 1915. Chap. IV, pp. lxxviii-lxxxi. View a free digital version online at [http://books.google.com/books?id=kVVIAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR127&dq=illinois+probate&hl=en&ei=-Q2zTIvZEYu0sAP295T4Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CF0Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=illinois%20probate&f=false Google Books].
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*Pease, Theodore Calvin. "The County Archives of the State of Illinois." Clarence Walworth Alvord, editor. ''Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library.'' Volume XII. Springfield, Ill.: Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, 1915. Chap. IV, pp. lxxviii-lxxxi. View a free digital version online at [http://books.google.com/books?id=kVVIAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR127&dq=illinois+probate&hl=en&ei=-Q2zTIvZEYu0sAP295T4Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CF0Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=illinois%20probate&f=false Google Books].
*Rose, Christine. ''Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures.'' San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2004. Of particular interest are the chapters, "Estates Galore," "Estate Documents," "Milking Every Clue from Estates," and "Strategies that Work."
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*Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors. ''The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.'' Third edition. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, Inc., 2006. Of particular interest is the section, "Probate," pages 268 - 277.
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<br> {{Illinois|Illinois}}  
 
<br> {{Illinois|Illinois}}  
  
 
[[Category:Illinois|Probate]]
 
[[Category:Illinois|Probate]]

Revision as of 14:29, 12 October 2010

Portal:United States Probate >Illinois

Links to Probate-related Topics

Analyzing Probate · Probate Limitations · Probate Process
 · Glossary of Probate Terms · Wills · United States Probate Records

Contents

Probate records are court records created after an individual’s death that relate to a court’s decisions regarding the distribution of the estate to the heirs or creditors and the care of any dependents. These documents are important to family history researchers because they usually exist for time periods before civil birth and death records were kept. While probate records are one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence, they have limitations.

Availability

Variations existed within counties as probate jurisdictions and county boundaries changed over the years.

Territorial (1787 - 1818)
County Probate Judge and Clerk (1787 - 1795)
Orphans Court composed of Justices of Quarter Sessions (1795 - 1805)
Court of Common Pleas (1805 - 1816)
Clerk of County Court (1816 - 1819)

State (1818 - present)
Clerk of County Court (1816 - 1819)
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)

Contact the Circuit Court of the county of interest to view or obtain copies of original records. Off-site access to some Illinois probate records might be found in the following:

  • FamilySearch Historical Records collection includes free online images of will books, administrations, journals, inventories, guardian's records, and order books from probate courts in Illinois. The collection includes the following counties: Alexander, Coles, Effingham, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hancock, La Salle, Logan, Madison, Massac, Piatt, Pope, Rock Island, Shelby, White, Whiteside, and Williamson. The content and time period will vary by county.
  • 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.
  • USGenWeb, Illinois is a cooperative volunteer effort with links to resources in the state and counties.

State Statutes

Understanding the Illinois probate laws and how they changed over time can help us learn how the estate was administered, taxed, and distributed and might help to solve difficult genealogical problems.

Additional information about Illinois state statutes relating to probate matters can be found at law libraries. For example:

  • Pease, Theodore Calvin. The Laws of the Northwest Territory, 1788-1800. Springfield, Illinois: Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, [1925]. [FHL US/CAN Fiche 6007539 (7 fiche)]

Online digital versions of state statutes can often be found by conducting a search engine search for the term, "Illinois statutes." The following are examples of free, digital books related to Illinois probate laws:

  • Brayman, Mason. Revised Statutes of the State of Illinois....Springfield: Walters & Weber, 1845. View at Google Books using the search term "probate" for references specific to probate.
  • Hurd, Harvey Bostwick, editor. Revised Statutes of the State of Illinois. 1877....Chicago: Chicago Legal News Co., 1877. View at Google Books using the search term "probate" for references specific to probate.
  • Jones, William C. A Practical Treatise upon the Jurisdiction of...Probate Courts of Illinois....Chicago: T.H. Flood & Co., 1892. View at Internet Archive.
  • North, Levi. A Treatise on the Practice in Probate Courts...in the State of Illinois....Chicago: Callaghan & Co., 1875. View at Internet Archive.
  • Simons, Franklin Pierce. A Treatise on the Probate Practice and Law of Estates in the State of Illinois....Chicago: Callaghan & Co., 1907. View at Internet Archive.
  • Starr, Merritt and Russell H. Curtis, editors. Annotated Statutes of the State of Illinois in Force January 1, 1885 ....Volume I. Chicago: Callaghan & Co., 1885. View at Google Books using the search term "probate" for references specific to probate.

Learn More

  • Anne Roach, Courthouse Records Overview (35 minute online video) FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 2010.
  • Rose, Christine.Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2004. Of particular interest are the chapters, "Estates Galore," "Estate Documents," "Milking Every Clue from Estates," and "Strategies that Work."
  • Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. Third edition. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, Inc., 2006. Of particular interest is the section, "Probate," pages 268 - 277.

Sources

  • Eichholz, Alice, Editor. Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources. Third Edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004. (See page 185.)
  • Greenwood, Val D. Third edition. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2000, 346.
  • Pease, Theodore Calvin. "The County Archives of the State of Illinois." Clarence Walworth Alvord, editor. Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library. Volume XII. Springfield, Ill.: Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, 1915. Chap. IV, pp. lxxviii-lxxxi. View a free digital version online at Google Books.