Maine, County Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

From FamilySearch Wiki

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

Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of images of county probate books. The record content and time period varies by county.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Maine, County Probate Records, 1760-1979.

Record Content

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. They may include the following information:

  • Name of the testator or deceased
  • Date of death
  • Names of the heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, and friends
  • Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Dates the documents were written and recorded (may be used to approximate a death date since a will was usually written near the time of death).

How to Use the Record

This section provides information on how to search the collection, what to do with information once found, some tips on how to search, and what to do if no record is found.

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 you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the appropriate "County" Record Type
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type, Record Description" Record Type 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. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

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.
  • 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 employment records or other types of records such as military records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
  • 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.
  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
  • 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 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different 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 counties.

Other Searches

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png
Don't overlook FHL Place United States, Maine items or FHL Keyword Maine items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Maine Archives and Libraries.

Related Websites

Maine Probates

Related Wiki Articles

Maine 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:

"Maine, County Probate Records, 1760- 1979." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing County Courthouses, state-wide, 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, County Probate Records, 1760-1979.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.


 

Need additional research help? Contact our research help specialists.

Need wiki, indexing, or website help? Contact our product teams.


Did you find this article helpful?

You're invited to explain your rating on the discussion page (you must be signed in).

  • This page was last modified on 2 September 2014, at 22:25.
  • This page has been accessed 2,356 times.