Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925 .
This collection contains probate estate files of Worcester County located at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston. The files are arranged by number then alphabetical by surname. The collection is being published as images become available
Probate records include the following types of documents:
- Oaths of executors
- Forms about guardians
- Other court documents
The records usually include:
- 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 you will need to know:
- The place of residence
- The approximate death or probate date
- The name of the deceased
Search the Collection
To search the collection:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page,
⇒Select the "County"
⇒Select the "Case File Number and Year Range" 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. 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.
- 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
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
- 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 1900.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
- 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.
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.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Massachusetts, Worcester items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Massachusetts Archives and Libraries. For additional information about this county see the wiki article Worcester County, Massachusetts.|
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Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- Supreme Judicial Court Archives. Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925. Supreme Judicial Court, Boston, Massachusetts.
- This page was last modified on 20 August 2014, at 17:39.
- This page has been accessed 2,145 times.
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