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Contents

Record Synopsis

Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc.”[1] Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. For further information about the probate process, types of probate records, analyzing probate records, and to access a glossary of probate terms, see United States Probate Records.

History

A brief history of the settlement and boundary changes of Kentucky and the resultant effects on record keeping can be found on Ancestry.

State Statutes

Repositories

Local

  • Probate records of Kentucky are kept by the county clerk.

Regional

National

  • The Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah Kentucky probate records available on microfilm. For collection details see the Family History Library Catalog. Use the "Place Search" option to search for a specific Kentucky county. Then look for topics labeled "Probate Records" or "Guardianship."

Statewide Record Collections

  • Index to Kentucky Wills to 1851, the Testators. Salt Lake City, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1979. FHL Collection, book 976.9 P22i.;This index shows the testator’s name, county, year of the will, volume, and page number.
  • King, Junie Estelle Stewart. Abstract[s] of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories. 1933; reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 1961. FHL Collection, book 976.9 P28k; FHL Collection, film 897212 item 5; FHL Collection, fiche 6051356. Includes surname index. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Learn More

Published Materials

Bennett, R. Terry, Sean E. Mumaw and National Business Business Institute. Kentucky Probate: Beyond the Basics. Eau Claire, WI : NBI, Inc., ©2005. WorldCat entry.

Websites

Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
300 Coffee Tree Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
Tel: 502-564-8300
Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
See specifically the section on Probate records.

  • A discussion of Kentucky Probate Records written by Wendy Bebout Elliott for Red book: American State, County, and Town Sources can be found at Ancestry.

References

  1. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."

 

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