McLean County Will Record Index (1838–1940) Illinois State Archives

Compiled by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System, Illinois State University


The McLean County Will Record Index was compiled by Jude Geiger, intern for the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System at Illinois State University in Normal. The 6,816 records in the database were extracted from the McLean County Will Record (IRAD Accession 3/0096/01).

Each entry found in the index contains the following categories of information: the name of the estate; the volume and page number of the will record; and the date span of the will record volume. A description of 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 will 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 Will Record:

Probate Jurisdiction

Will 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]


Will records shows the names of the deceased, judge, and clerk of the court; the date of death and the date the will was filed; and the names of the heirs, witnesses, and petitioners; with notarization and a transcript of the will with the date it was approved. The transcript shows the date the will was written, the name of the testator, and the signatures of the witnesses. In cases of intestate death, the record contains a declaration of no will and the appointment and bond of an administrator. The record may also contain witness affidavits, petitions, bonds and letters testamentary.


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 email at this time. Please contact:
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
Illinois State University
2016 Warehouse Road
Campus Box 1520
Normal, IL 61790-1520

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