Kathy Morrow put together a wonderful list of resources for working with probate records.
Why is working with probate records so important? Let’s face it, most of the people we research as genealogists are deceased. A probate record, the court-supervised process of validating a deceased’s will, can be very helpful in finding relations to that person, in discovering land holdings, or gleaning that nugget of information that will help you break through a persistent brick-wall. Knowing how these records work, how to find them, and the easiest way to navigate through the process can make these invaluable records a wonderful resource for your research.
Probate is the court-supervised process of validating a will if the deceased made one. Probate steps are similar even if there isn’t a will, and includes identifying assets and determining their value, paying outstanding bills and taxes, determining the care of dependents, and distributing the remainder of the estate to their rightful beneficiaries. Each state has specific laws in place, and there is generally a special probate court with its own judge. (Source: Balance.com: What is probate?)
- What Happens During the Probate Process? (has a great flow chart & information on each step of the process)
- Family Search Wiki – United States Probate Records
- Family Search Wiki – Analyzing United States Probate Records
- Margaret Linford – Using Wills and Probate Records in Genealogy Research
- Family History Daily – Probate Records Could Be the Key to Unlocking Your Family’s Hidden Past
- Shirley Hornbeck – This and that genealogy tips on probate records and wills
- Ancestry Support – Searching Probate Records
- Ancestral Findings – Finding Probate Records
- ThoughtCo – How to Use Wills and Estate Records to Learn About Your Ancestors
- Legacy Webinar by Linda Woodward Geiger – Estate Records – More Than Just Wills
- Cyndi’s List – Wills and Probate
- Ancestral Findings – Looking for Probate Records in Your Genealogy Research: Why You Should
- Family History for Beginners – a video series on basic methods and records
- Testate: a person who died having made and left a legally valid will
- Intestate: a person who died having made no will, or whose will is found not legally valid.
Quick Tips and Favorite Links
- Amy Johnson Crow – 5 Types of Maps Every Genealogist Should Know 2 Guidelines for Resolving Conflicting Information in Sources
- Legacy Tree 5 Tips for Maximizing Use of the Internet Archives
- Family History Fanatics
|Have a useful genealogy site or resource? Let us know and we’ll be glad to share it.|