ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES
McLean County Probate Record Index (1834–1934)
Compiled by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System, Illinois State University
The McLean County Probate Record Index was prepared as a cooperative project between the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System and the Lexington Genealogical & Historical Society. The index was compiled by Kristy K. Webster and Eric Groenke, interns for the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System at Illinois State University in Normal, and John L. Johnston, a member of the Lexington Genealogical & Historical Society. The 15,009 records in the database were extracted from the McLean County Probate Record (IRAD Accession 3/0096/03).
Each entry found in the index contains the following categories of information: the name of the estate; the volume and page number of the probate record; and the date span of the probate volume. The type of case is also frequently listed. Please note that the date span shown for each entry is the date span for the entire volume, not for the individual records.
Names of estates were transcribed directly from the probate record. Every attempt was made to obtain accurate spellings of names. However, it was sometimes difficult to decipher handwriting in some entries. Therefore, when searching this index, we suggest that researchers check alternative spellings of names if they do not find an entry for the name for which they are searching.
This database indexes the following volumes of the McLean County Probate Record:
- Volume B — 27 September 1834 – 18 March 1838
- Volume F — 17 December 1849 – 27 June 1855
- Volume G — 02 July 1855 – 16 October 1858
- Volume H — 01 November 1858 – 30 July 1861
- Volume J — 01 August 1861 – 17 December 1864
- Volume K — 19 December 1864 – 12 April 1867
- Volume L — 15 April 1867 – 18 December 1869
- Volume M — 20 December 1869 – 14 October 1871
- Volume N — 16 October 1871 – 29 November 1873
- Volume O — 29 November 1873 – 15 September 1875
- Volume P — 16 September 1875 – 16 December 1876
- Volume R — 18 December 1876 – 17 May 1878
- Volume S — 20 May 1878 – 19 June 1880
- Volume T — 21 June 1880 – 16 September 1882
- Volume U — 18 September 1882 – 11 April 1885
- Volume V — 13 April 1885 – 19 February 1887
- Volume W — 21 February 1887 – 01 December 1888
- Volume X — 03 December 1888 – 31 January 1891
- Volume Y — 02 February 1891 – 31 March 1893
- Volume Z — 03 April 1893 – 28 June 1895
- Volume 26 — 01 July 1895 – 31 October 1896
- Volume 27 — 06 September 1897 – 29 April 1899
- Volume 28 — 01 May 1899 – 30 August 1900
The holdings of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System do not include volume A (1831–September 1834) or volumes C through E (March 1839–December 1849). Volumes I and Q were apparently skipped in the alphabetical sequence. There is a ten month gap in the date span between volumes 26 and 27.
Probate records created prior to 1848 were maintained by the Probate Court in McLean County. The Constitution of 1848 moved original jurisdiction in probate cases to the newly created County Court. [Constitution of 1848, Article V, Sections 16-18] Therefore, probate records recorded after 1848 were maintained by the County Court acting in probate. The Constitution of 1870 gave the General Assembly the authority to create probate courts in counties with populations of 50,000 or more. [Constitution of 1870, Article VI, section 20] However, probate jurisdiction remained with the County Court in McLean County until January 1, 1964 when the functions of both the probate court and county court were transferred to the circuit court. [Constitution of 1870, 1962 Amendment, Article VI, section 4]
Probate records show the court term; the names of the estate, judge and court clerk; the petitions, bonds, oaths, and letters of estate administrators, executors, guardians and conservators; the court's approval of estate inventories, appraisement bills, petitions to sell property, reports of sales, accounts, reports of receipts and expenditures, and final reports; and the orders and decrees of the court. The record may also show the names of heirs, claims against the estate, and recordation of wills.
The County Court also heard cases involving adoption, tax delinquency, commitment of the insane and feeble-minded, naturalization, guardianship of minor children, and conservatorship of the insane, blind and deaf & dumb. The County Court recorded oaths and bonds of court officials and petitions of good moral character. These types of cases were often recorded in the McLean County Probate Record when the County Court was acting in its probate capacity.
Copies of the files found in this index may be obtained by mail or telephone. Inquiries should be made directly to the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Illinois State University in Normal. IRAD cannot accept requests by e-mail at this time. Please contact:
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
Illinois State University
2016 Warehouse Road
Campus Box 1520
Normal, IL 61790-1520