Historical Society Offers New Resource for Genealogists
A valuable new tool for genealogists has just been completed by volunteers and staff at the Madison County Archival Library. It is expected that the new “Guardianship Index” will help genealogists solve roadblocks in their family trees and allow them to learn more about their ancestors.
MCHS has put the index on its website so it can be accessed by anyone, although a visit to the library will be necessary to see the actual file. The index can be found at https://madcohistory.org/archival-library/archival-library-resources/probate-court-files/
It can also be located by going to www.madcohistory.org, and looking at Library Resources on the Archival Library page.
The guardianship files are part of an estimated 34,000 pre-1960 probate court records donated to the Madison County Historical Society (MCHS) by Madison County government in 2013. Estates involving a minor heir, unlike regular probate files, can be listed under the minor child, the parent, a court appointed attorney or in other ways that make them virtually untraceable without an index. Normal probate files are listed on the cover by surname and were indexed by the Madison County Circuit Clerk’s office, an index still in use today.
Additional background is available on the website. The detailed index describes this subset of Madison County probate records dealing with the guardianship of minor heirs of an estate. This index does not exist anywhere else, and the documents they describe are not available online.
This was a multiple year project for Archival Library staff and volunteers that was slowed by the onset of COVID-19. Volunteers who identified minors, guardians, and other relevant individuals included Betty Byrd, Susan Coffey, Lynn Engelman, Gary Forshaw, Derik Hefferly, Marty Lane, JoAnn Nabe, Don Reaka, Marilyn Sulc, Joan Wentz, and Janet Zuehlke. The Society is very grateful to this loyal group of volunteers who first worked with Library Research Manager Mary Westerhold, and, after her retirement, with Mary Z. Rose, to create this one-of-a-kind resource.
The Madison County Archival Library at 801 N. Main Street in Edwardsville is owned and operated by the Madison County Historical Society. Hours are Wed-Thurs 9-4 and Sunday 1-4. For information about the Guardianship Index, call 618-656-7569.