Iowa, Poweshiek County Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

These records include probate proceedings from Poweshiek County for the years 1850-1941. They include estate files, wills, administrations, minutes, guardianships and other records related to probate.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Iowa, Poweshiek County Probate Records, 1850-1930.

Record Content

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. Genealogical facts in entries are:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Name of executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Document and recording dates

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the deceased
  • The approximate death or probate date
  • The place of death

Search the Collection

To search the collection:
⇒ Select the appropriate County
⇒ Select the appropriate Volume Title and Year which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives.
  • Use the document (such as the will) or the recording dates to approximate a death date.
  • Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records since the probates exist for an earlier time period.
  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.
  • Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment records or military records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Document dates can be used to approximate the death date because they are often written at or near the time of death.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have also died in the same county. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Probate records often have information about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents. Be aware that the spouse named may not be the parent of the children listed.
  • The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
  • The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceeding are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

General Information About Probate Records

County officials began keeping probate records from the time the county was formed. Probates are generally recorded in the county were the person resided. These records cover approximately 40 percent of adult males who left wills, but this may be less than 25 percent in some areas. Less than 10 percent of women had wills or estate inventories. Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas. A higher percentage of individuals died without a will, but they may have had their estates probated and distributed through the courts. Wills and other estate documents are found in the estate files.

Probate records are used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transfers the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title. The transfer is to an executor or executrix if the deceased had made a will, to an administrator or administratrix if the deceased had not made a will, or to a guardian or conservator if the deceased had heirs under the age of twenty-one or if heirs were incompetent due to disease or disability.

Probate records fall into two general categories: wills and estate papers. Most records 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. Probate records may not give an exact death date, but a death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate. The exact contents of probate records vary greatly depending on the prevailing law and the personality of the record keeper.

Related Websites

Iowa Judicial Branch Website

Related Wiki Articles

Iowa Probate Records

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

“Iowa, Poweshiek County Probate Records, 1850-1930.” Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Poweshiek Iowa County Clerk. State Historical Society of Iowa, Motezuma.

Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Iowa, Poweshiek County Probate Records, 1850-1930.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 23 September 2014, at 22:57.
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