Maine, Aroostock 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

The collection consists of probate indexes ,books, dockets, and estate files located in Houlton, Maine for the years 1837 to 2007. This collection is being published as images become available.

For a list of record categories currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Record Content

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians, and other court documents. Information found in entries includes:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Lists of belongings, property, and so forth
  • Document and recording dates (Sometimes the date of death will be given. Recording dates are also used to approximate event dates, i.e. a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.)

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Names of interested parties
  • Approximate date of the transaction
  • Location of the property

Search the Collection

To search the collection:
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the appropriate "Record Type"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Year, volume or case number and name" which takes you to the images.

Many of these volumes have indexes at the beginning or end. You should search these first. If your ancestor is in the index download a copy or write down the page numbers listed for your ancestor. You can then quickly turn to those pages.

If you do not find your ancestor in the index, 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. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example use the residence and names to locate church and census records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records.
  • Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents.
  • To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir, even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person.
  • One deed does not usually give sufficient information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all deeds for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information.
  • For each parcel of land owned, you should obtain two documents: 1) the deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family and 2) the deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

General Information About These Records

Aroostook County was formed in 1839 from parts of Penobscot and Washington Counties. Wills, estates and other probate matters are under the jurisdiction of the County Register of Probate. The Probate Court has had several names over the years; the Widows and Orphans Court, the Poor Court, and the Court of Protection.

Probate records were court documents and may have involved loose papers and/or bound volumes. The records were generally known as an estate file or probate packet. These files included all documents related to estate settlement, including settlement papers, inventories, receipts, wills, and other records pertaining to the estates, including accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, bonds, petitions, guardianships, inventories, and settlements.

The Probate Court handles the following types of procedures:

  • Adoptions
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships
  • Change of Names
  • Estates
  • Trusts

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 to heirs from the deceased 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.

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. The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance, or the spouse mentioned may not be the parent of the children mentioned.

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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:

"Maine, Aroostook County, Probate Records, 1837-2007" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Houlton Courthouse, Houlton, Maine.

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 Maine, Aroostook County, Probate Records, 1837-2007.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 8 October 2014, at 19:52.
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