Once in a while, non-deeds may be discovered with the actual land records. An ancestor died in 1893 in Illinois--no will and no probate. There apparently were no bills from the estate, other than funeral expenses. The oldest son filed an affidavit with the land records indicating that the farm was owned free and clear at the time of his father's death. The affidavit partially explained why there was no estate settlement for the father either.