Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate 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: Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files, 1809-1915 .
Probate estate files acquired from the Maine State Archives in Augusta. The files are arranged by packet or case number. Many packets were missing at the time this collection was microfilmed.
For a list of records by case number and name range currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. Information in entries may include:
- Name of testator or deceased
- Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
- Name of executor, administrator, or guardian
- Names of witnesses
- Residence of testator
- Document and recording dates (Used to approximate event dates, i.e. a will is often written near time of death)
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know:
- The name of the deceased
- The approximate death or probate date
- The place of death
Search the Collection
To search the collection image by image
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select "Case File Number and Name 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 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.
As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times
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.
- 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 occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment records or military records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- 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 also died in the same county. 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.
- Probate records often have information about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents. Be aware that the spouse named may not be the parent of the children listed.
- The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
- 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.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for an index. Local genealoical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
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Contributions to This Article
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We especially need language translations for both content and images. For specific needs, please look for callout boxes throughout the article or visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files, 1809-1915
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found it. This will help you or others to find the same record again.
Keep track of records where you did not find information about your ancestor so you and others won’t waste time looking through these records in the future.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
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.
- "Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files, 1809-1915" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Maine State Archives, Augusta.