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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Maine  Gotoarrow.png  Probate Records


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] The probate process took place whether there was a will (testate) or not (intestate). Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, depositions, orders, decrees, guardianships, 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.


Probate records of Maine are kept by the register of probate or the clerk of the probate court in each county. The records generally date from the year a county was formed. You can obtain copies of the original probate records by contacting the appropriate clerk's office. The addresses are listed in:

The probate records include wills, depositions, administrations, guardianships, inventories, and accounts.

State Statutes





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

Statewide Record Collections

An excellent source of transcripts of early wills is:

An index to wills and other probate records from 1687 to 1800 is:

  • Frost, John E. Maine Probate Abstracts. 2 volumes. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1991. (FHL 974.1 P2f.); the 1986-88 edition is on ten fiche beginning with (FHL 6332995.); The abstracts are of various types of records found in the probate courts of Maine, such as wills, administrations, estate divisions, estate accounts, guardianships, and other court actions. The abstracts are compiled into two volumes: Volume 1  (1687-1775) and Volume 2 (1775-1800). Volume 2 contains an every name index. Microfiche copies are also available at the Maine Historical Library and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Learn More

Published Materials

  • Luce, Enos T. Hand Book of Practice in the Probate Courts of the state of Maine. Containing notes on the execution and probate of wills, duties of executors, administrators, guardians and trustees: also full forms of petitions, orders and decrees, with references to the Revised statutes and amendments thereof; and decisions of our courts. Second edition. Revised by John A. Watterman. Portland, Maine: Dresser, McLellan & Co., 1880. A digital version of this book is available online at Internet Archives.
  • Southgate, Horatio. The Probate Manual: Containing Forms Adapted to the Practice of Probate Courts in the State of Maine: Also the Laws Establishing Probate Courts, Regulating Wills, the Descent, Distribution, Division, and Sale of Estates. Portland, [Me.]: Printed by Thomas Todd, 1830.


Wiki articles describing online collectiona are found at:


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


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