Wills and Probate Records

Jackson County Wills and Probate Records


 A probate record is the record of the settlement of an estate after a person's death. Even if a person leaves a will, there can be a settlement of the assets of the deceased person. That is the probate record that you are looking for. Probate searches in Jackson County aren't always easy, but they can be rewarding.

In searching for Jackson County probate records, there are several places to look. First, if the record you are seeking is pre-1910, check books on Jackson County probates, titled "Jackson County, Missouri Wills and Administration 1827-1862" and "Jackson County, Missouri Wills and Administrations 1862-1910", these books are for sale through the Jackson County Genealogical Society and can be seen both at JCGS Library and at the mid-continent Genealogy Branch. In these books, are abstracted the names, relationships, and other important facts from probate record microfilms which can be seen at JCGS library. Some probate films can also be seen at mid-continent. 

A book available at both libraries is Joanne Chiles Eakin's book "Wills and Administrations 1860-1870 Jackson County, Missouri." Many years ago, Edna V. Kinnaman edited a book called "Marriages, Wills, Deeds, Land Grants, Bible and cemetery records. This 2-volume set is not a complete listing, but has an index in another volume. Also at the mid-continent branch are two new books listing wills and probates. The books, compiled by Becky Carlson and Carolyn Larsen of the Local Records Preservation Program of the Missouri State Archives, are: "Jackson County Probate Court: Independence case files, 1828-1900, series 1-2" and "Jackson County, Independence, courthouse wills 1834-1927". Both books are indexes, not actual records.

Another way to start your search is to call 816-881-3755, the number listed under Probate Information in the Jackson County section of the blue government pages in the metro Kansas City phone book. Give the name of the person you are researching, and at least the approximate year of the death, and they will look for the probate file. The record may be in the Jackson County Records Center in the caves East of 291 Highway in Independence. In that case, the file will be requested and brought to either the Independence or Kansas City courthouse office for you to look at. In some cases, you may be given permission to see it at the Records Center.

Probate records from the Kansas City courthouse whose file numbers are under 66,000 have been sent to Jefferson City for filming at the Missouri State Archives. If the record you are seeking is in that category, the Probate office will request the file from Jefferson City, and again, it will be brought to the courthouse for your viewing.

Many probates are listed in a database on the website of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court. Go to www.16thcircuit.org and click on Public Access. You can search for a probate record either by the person's name or by the case number, if you already know it. There may be probates here as early as 1901 on this database. The early cases, which are listed as "Archived" seem to have minimal information in the database. However, it does give you the case number so you can request the complete probate packet or file by number.

The Jackson County Probate Court charge for copies if $1.00 per page, so find out first how many pages are included in the probate packet. In addition to the fee, you must send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your request.


This page was last updated August 19, 2006.