Kentucky 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

The collection consists of an index of probate records created in Kentucky county courts. Probate records include wills, bonds, inventories of estates and other records.  This is an ongoing project and records will be published as they become available. When the collection is complete it will contain records from 1727-1990.

Some probate records were recorded in books which may have carried many titles, such as:

  • Accounts
  • Administrations
  • Appraisals
  • Minutes
  • Petitions
  • Guardianships
  • Inventories
  • Settlements

Wills are normally transcribed into a bound volume.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

FamilySearch just began indexing this browse collection. The project is a pilot. Indexers will be indexing the volume level indexes. Today users can search the following counties by name and link to the index page. In the near future users will be able to search the indexed names and will be linked directly to the first page of the probate. The following is what has been indexed by county.

County # of Indexed Records Years Covered
Caldwell 3,669 1809-1968
Henry 3,078 1800-1910
Hickman 3,098 In process
Russell 1,728 In process
Trimble 858 In process


Each county began keeping probate records from the time the county was created.


Record Content

Probate records may include: petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, and other court documents. Information found in this collection may include:

  • 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 (Used to approximate event dates i.e. A will was usually written near time of death.)

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

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

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

To search the collection image by image
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select "County"
⇒Select "Volume Title and Year" which takes you to the images

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.

Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

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.
  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
  • 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.
  • 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 or military records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Probate record may include informatio about land transactions.
  • 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 died in the same county or nearby. 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.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
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Don't overlook FHL Place Kentucky items or FHL Keyword United States, Kentucky items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Kentucky Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

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.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through these images in this collection and click on, "Show Citation" box: Kentucky Probate Records, 1727-1990

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.


A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"Kentucky, Probate Records, 1792-1977" Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing County Courthouses, state-wide, Kentucky.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 9 July 2014, at 14:36.
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