Probate Court Files
In 2013, the Madison County Circuit Clerk’s office donated its onsite archive of pre-1960 probate court records to the Madison County Historical Society (MCHS). The estimated 34,000 records are housed in a climate-controlled storage facility adjacent to the Weir House museum. The file organization system implemented by the Circuit Clerk’s office has been retained: the files are stored in boxes numbered 1 through 1615.
Organization of Files
The Circuit Clerk’s office created an alphabetical index to the files according to the last name on the file cover. The index was scanned and made available on the Madison County Illinois Circuit Clerk CONTENTdm Website. The index is also available at the Archival Library. The MCHS collection includes boxes 250 through 1615. Contact the Archival Library to arrange to view a specific file. (Boxes 1 through 249 are located at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.)
Cases involving the guardianship of minors are concentrated in a subset of the collection – boxes 496 through 695. In the probate context, a “guardian” is defined as a person of legal age responsible in the eyes of the court to manage the inheritance of a minor.
Archival library volunteers and staff created an index to the guardianship files. They identified minors, guardians, and other relevant individuals in the case. Volunteers who participated in this long project include Betty Byrd, Susan Coffey, Lynn Engelman, Gary Forshaw, Derik Hefferly, Marty Lane, JoAnn Nabe, Don Reaka, Marilyn Sulc, Joan Wentz, and Janet Zuehlke.
***Using the Guardianship Index***
Step 1: Consult the Minors Index to identify a minor of interest. The minors are listed alphabetically by last name. When you find the minor, note the File Location.
Step 2: Using the File Location from step 1, consult the appropriate Location List (below) to identify other relevant individuals in the case. The cases are listed in order by File Location.
Step 3: Contact the Archival Library to arrange to view the file or to find out about obtaining copies.