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Wills and Probate Records

Iowa probate records date from about 1834, when the first county in the state was created.  Probate records are an important source for family history research and are one of the best ways to link individuals to their parents, children, siblings and other relatives.  They may not give the exact date of death, but you can assume the death occurred within a few months of the date of probate.  

Wills usually mention the names of heirs and frequently specify how those heirs are related.  Names of children may be given, as well as married names of daughters and, sometimes, the wife's maiden name.

If there is no will, there may still be a probate record.  In the case of my own family, the husband died and the wife still had to get guardianship of the minor children.  The property and assets were monitored by the court until the children were adults.

A probate court was created in each county when Iowa became an organized territory.  These courts were responsible for settling estates.  Probate courts were eventually discontinued, and probate matters have since been the responsibility of the district courts. 

Index to Wills 1850 - 1976

Thank you so much to the Clinton County Historical Society for sharing this information with us and allowing us to post it online.  The Clinton County Historical Society has many of the original will books from the courthouse but, unfortunately, they cannot be copied.  While you are more than welcome to stop in and view the books, you will have to contact one of the sources above for a copy.

There are over 10,000 names here.  There were a few that were illegible and some of the page numbers were cut off.  Please NOTE:   In order to get copies of wills from the courthouse, you Must have the date of death.



Wills Online

Clinton County Documents

Wills are posted to our
Documents Board

As we get wills transcribed, they are going to the Documents Board.  You can do a surname search from there.

Have a will but you don't have time to do all that typing?  If you can scan it and send it to me via email. I'd be glad to get it online for you.

Getting a Copy of a Will

You can write to the clerk of the district court for copies of wills, administrations and other records.  See County Records for addresses.

PLEASE NOTE:  The County Clerk's Office needs death of date since the books are not what she looks at for making copies. Also a copy of the will costs 50 cents per page not $10. Hope this helps. (This info comes from Jackie and Mary B. -- Thanks!)

The Family History Library has the following records available on microfilm.  These are also at the Clinton Public library.

Microfilm of original records of the Clinton County courthouse, Clinton, Iowa. (Volume B is not listed in index.)

  • Index, 1851-1960 ; Wills, v. B 1851-1867 ; Wills, v. 1 1851-1878 -  FHL  Film 1005226

  • Wills, v. 2 1878-1887 -  FHL  Film 1005227

  • Wills, v. 3-4 1887-1901 -  FHL  Film 1005228