Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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|CID=CID1542664
 
|CID=CID1542664
 
|title=Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940
 
|title=Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940
|location=United States}}<br>
+
|location=United States}}<br>  
  
== Collection Time Period ==
+
== Record Description ==
  
County probate records have been kept from the time the county was formed to the present. The included dates vary by county.  
+
This Collection will include records from 1796 to 1940.<br>
  
== Record Description  ==
+
The collection includes name indexes and images of probate estate files from county offices. The exact offices differ by county.
 +
 
 +
Currently, the following are included in this collection:
 +
 
 +
*Allegany County (1779-1946)
 +
*Baltimore City (1920-1941)
 +
*Calvert County (1882-1940)
 +
*Caroline County (1838-1940)
 +
*Cecil County (1851-1940)
 +
*Kent County (1749-1940)
 +
*Prince George's County (1796-1940)
 +
*Queen Anne's County (1833-1940)
 +
*Wicomico County (1868-1940)
  
 
Probate records were court documents and may have included both loose papers and bound volumes. The loose records were generally known as a case file or a probate packet. These files normally included wills, settlement papers, inventories, receipts, and other records pertaining to the estates.  
 
Probate records were court documents and may have included both loose papers and bound volumes. The loose records were generally known as a case file or a probate packet. These files normally included wills, settlement papers, inventories, receipts, and other records pertaining to the estates.  
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Some probate records were recorded in books that may have been labeled with such titles as accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, petitions, guardianships, inventories, or settlements.  
 
Some probate records were recorded in books that may have been labeled with such titles as accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, petitions, guardianships, inventories, or settlements.  
  
The collection includes name indexes and images of probate estate files from county offices. The exact offices differ by county.  
+
Each county began keeping probate records from the time the county was created. Orphan’s Court was the name of the probate court at the county level. Probate records were generally recorded in the county where the person lived. Estates were probated for approximately 25 percent of the heads of households in the United States before 1900, whether or not the individual left a will. Wills were more likely to have been found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.&nbsp;
  
Currently, the following counties are represented in this collection:  
+
For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the [https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A//api.familysearch.org/records/collection/1542664/waypoints Browse].
  
*Allegany (1790-1852)
+
<br>County probate records have been kept from the time the county was formed to the present. The included dates vary by county.&nbsp;
*Anne Arundel (1777-1884)
+
*Baltimore (1664-1863)
+
*Baltimore City
+
*Caroline (1688-1940)
+
*Carroll (1837-1852)
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*Cecil (1675-1948)
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*Charles (1629-1947)
+
*Frederick (1737-1896)
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*Garrett
+
*Harford (1774-1948)
+
*Howard (1840-1873)
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*Kent (1664-1948)
+
*Montgomery (1777-1851)
+
*Prince George's (1770-1948)
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*Queen Anne's (1706-1945)
+
*Somerset (1664-1948)
+
*St. Mary's (1658-1733)
+
*Talbot ()
+
*Washington ()
+
*Wicomico (1868-1940)
+
*Worcester
+
  
This collection is being published as images become available. Additional details will be added as they become available.
+
Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease.
 +
 
 +
The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceedings are reliable, but realize that there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members or those who had previously received an inheritance. In some cases, the spouse mentioned in the will was not the parent of the children mentioned. Also, some wills do not name family members.
 +
 
 +
=== 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.<br>
 +
 
 +
{{Collection citation | text= "Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940" Index and Images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. }}
  
=== Record Content  ===
+
== Record Content  ==
  
 
<gallery caption="Maryland Probate Documents Examples" widths="160px" heights="120px" perrow="3">
 
<gallery caption="Maryland Probate Documents Examples" widths="160px" heights="120px" perrow="3">
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Probate records include petitions, inventories, wills, guardianships, accounts, decrees, and other court documents. They include the following genealogical information:  
 
Probate records include petitions, inventories, wills, guardianships, accounts, decrees, and other court documents. They include the following genealogical information:  
  
*Name of the testator or deceased  
+
*Name of testator or deceased  
*Names of heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, and friends  
+
*Names of heirs, such as spouse, children, relatives, and friends  
*Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian  
+
*Name of executor, administrator, or guardian  
 
*Names of witnesses  
 
*Names of witnesses  
*Residence of the testator  
+
*Residence of testator  
*Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death)
+
*Dates the documents were written and recorded (
  
 
== How to Use the Records  ==
 
== How to Use the Records  ==
  
Probate records are arranged by county and then by date. To begin your search you will need to know:  
+
To begin your search you will need to know:  
  
 
*The place of residence  
 
*The place of residence  
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*The name of the deceased
 
*The name of the deceased
  
Compare the information you find in the probate records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine which record is about your ancestor. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.  
+
==== Search the Collection  ====
 +
 
 +
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.  
 +
 
 +
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at [http://broadcast.lds.org/familysearch/2011-12-03-familysearch-search-tips-1000k-eng.mp4 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.  
 
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.  
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*Use the document (such as the will) or the recording dates to approximate a death date.  
 
*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 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 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.
+
*Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment or military records.
*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.
+
  
Keep in mind:
+
==== Tips to Keep in Mind  ====
  
*Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.  
+
*You may be able to use the probate record to learn 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.  
 
*The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator.  
 
*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.  
 
*Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after 1900.  
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For a summary of this information see the wiki article: [[United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)|United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)]].  
 
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: [[United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)|United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)]].  
  
== Record History ==
+
== Known Issues with This Collection ==
  
Each county began keeping probate records from the time the county was created. Orphan’s Court was the name of the probate court at the county level. Probate records were generally recorded in the county where the person lived. Estates were probated for approximately 25 percent of the heads of households in the United States before 1900, whether or not the individual left a will. Wills were more likely to have been found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.
+
{{HR Known Issues}}For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached [[Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)/Known Issues|Wiki article]]. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to [mailto:support@familysearch.org 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.  
 
+
=== Why the Record Was Created  ===
+
 
+
Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease.
+
 
+
=== Record Reliability  ===
+
 
+
The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceedings are reliable, but realize that there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members or those who had previously received an inheritance. In some cases, the spouse mentioned in the will was not the parent of the children mentioned. Also, some wills do not name family members.  
+
  
 
== Related Websites  ==
 
== Related Websites  ==
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*[[Maryland|Maryland]]
 
*[[Maryland|Maryland]]
  
=== Contributions to This Article  ===
+
== Contributions to This Article  ==
  
 
{{Contributor invite}}  
 
{{Contributor invite}}  
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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.  
 
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 Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections]].  
+
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article [[Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections|Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].  
 
+
==== Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection  ====
+
 
+
"Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940." index and images, ''FamilySearch'' ([https://www.familysearch.org https://www.familysearch.org]): accessed 25 March 2011. entry for Emma Maude Carter, filed 1930; citing Probate Files; digital folder 4,103,819; Cecil County Courthouse, Elkton, Maryland
+
 
+
== Sources of Information for This Collection:  ==
+
 
+
<!--bibdescbegin-->Maryland. Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940. Probate Records. Various county offices throughout Maryland.<!--bibdescend-->
+
  
 
[[Category:Maryland|Probate]]
 
[[Category:Maryland|Probate]]

Revision as of 18:54, 27 February 2013

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

Contents

Record Description

This Collection will include records from 1796 to 1940.

The collection includes name indexes and images of probate estate files from county offices. The exact offices differ by county.

Currently, the following are included in this collection:

  • Allegany County (1779-1946)
  • Baltimore City (1920-1941)
  • Calvert County (1882-1940)
  • Caroline County (1838-1940)
  • Cecil County (1851-1940)
  • Kent County (1749-1940)
  • Prince George's County (1796-1940)
  • Queen Anne's County (1833-1940)
  • Wicomico County (1868-1940)

Probate records were court documents and may have included both loose papers and bound volumes. The loose records were generally known as a case file or a probate packet. These files normally included wills, settlement papers, inventories, receipts, and other records pertaining to the estates.

Some probate records were recorded in books that may have been labeled with such titles as accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, petitions, guardianships, inventories, or settlements.

Each county began keeping probate records from the time the county was created. Orphan’s Court was the name of the probate court at the county level. Probate records were generally recorded in the county where the person lived. Estates were probated for approximately 25 percent of the heads of households in the United States before 1900, whether or not the individual left a will. Wills were more likely to have been found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas. 

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


County probate records have been kept from the time the county was formed to the present. The included dates vary by county. 

Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease.

The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceedings are reliable, but realize that there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members or those who had previously received an inheritance. In some cases, the spouse mentioned in the will was not the parent of the children mentioned. Also, some wills do not name family members.

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.

"Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940" Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.

Record Content

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

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs, such as spouse, children, relatives, and friends
  • Name of executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Dates the documents were written and recorded (

How to Use the Records

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

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

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

  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn 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.
  • 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.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • 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.

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

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
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

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.