The Peoria County Probate Case Files Index was compiled by David E. Richards and Sharon Soltys, interns for the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System at Western Illinois University in Macomb. The 3,105 records in the database were extracted from the Peoria County Probate Case Files (IRAD Accession 2/0103/01).
Probate case files from Peoria County dating from 1825 to 1887 were transferred to the Illinois Regional Depository at Western Illinois University in Macomb. Peoria County Probate Cases Files that are not in IRAD are still in the circuit clerk's office.
The index provides the name of the estate and case file number. The Name field includes the name of the deceased. Names of estates were transcribed directly from the case files. Every attempt was made to obtain accurate spellings of names. If the spelling of a name could not be determined from the case jacket, a search of the various case documents was conducted. However, names were often spelled a variety of ways throughout the case documents. It was also sometimes difficult to decipher handwriting in some case files. 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.
Probate records created prior to 1848 were maintained by the Probate Court in Peoria 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 Peoria 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 case files show the court term; the names of the estate, minor, heirs or legatees, administrator or executor, 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 proofs of heirship, proofs of death, claims against the estate, and recordation of wills.
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 Western Illinois University in Macomb. IRAD cannot accept requests by email at this time. Please contact:
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390