North Carolina Estate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Revision as of 15:44, 28 March 2012 by Cdeadder (Talk | contribs)
FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Collection Time Period

These records cover the years 1663 to 1978.

Record Description

This is a collection of loose papers relating to the settlement of estates. They cover matters such as provision for heirs, including minor children, as well as distribution of funds, land and property, and slaves. The records from various counties in North Carolina were filmed at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History.

The records include the following:

  • Administrators' bonds
  • Guardians' bonds
  • Inventories
  • Accounts of sales
  • Annual accounts
  • Allotments of years provisions
  • Settlements
  • Divisions
  • Petitions of many sorts
  • Bills and receipts

An index is being created for this collection. Additional records will be added to this collection as they become available.


County Dates Court Title in Family History Library Catalog
Lincoln County 1735-1914 North Carolina. Superior Court (Lincoln County)

North Carolina. County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (Lincoln County)

Lincoln County, North Carolina, will records, 1824-1964, will index, 1772-1964; estate records, 1735-1914*
Bute County (Bute county was discontinued in 1779 and split between Franklin and Warren Counties) 1764-1784 North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina) Wills and estate papers (Bute County, North Carolina), 1764-1784*
Catawba County 1663-1978 North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina) Wills and estate papers (Catawba County), 1663-1978*
Cumberland County 1663-1978 North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina) Wills and estate papers (Cumberland County), 1663-1978*
Currituck County 1663-1978 North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina) Wills and estate papers (Currituck County), 1663-1978*
Edenton District (Edenton District covered the following counties: Gates, Hertford, Bertie, Tyrrell, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden, and Currituck) 1756-1806 North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina) Wills and estate papers (Edenton District), 1756-1806*
Warren County 1772-1940 North Carolina. Superior Court (Warren County) Warren County, North Carolina, estate records
Avery County 1916-1955 North Carolina. Superior Court (Avery County) Avery County, North Carolina estate files, ca. 1916-1955

Notes about this Collection

Only the estate files are contained in this collection, the wills are not included.

Additional records will be added to this collection as they become available.

These records are organized by the County, then alphabetically by the surname with the year of probate included in parenthesis. Some of the records are faded and may be difficult to read.

The North Carolina State Genealogical Society has partnered with FamilySearch to index these records. The estate records for the years 1669-1759 has a microfilmed index available at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Record Content

Probate records usually include the following kinds of information. Be aware that not all information may be found in every record:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Probate date and place
  • 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

How to Use the Record

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The name of the deceased
  • The approximate death or probate date
  • The probate place

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. Look at the list of entries created by your search. 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. Click on the camera icon to view the image.

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 the document recording dates to approximate a death date if you do not already have one.
  • 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.
  • Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions and adoptions or guardianships of any minor children and dependents.
  • 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. It can help you to organize the names into families.
  • 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 check for variant spellings of the surnames.

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

Record History

Most probate records in North Carolina were created on a county level though many were later sent to the North Carolina State Archives. For the colonial period, dozens of North Carolina wills were proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in London, England. The contents of probate records vary greatly depending on the prevailing law and the personality of the record keeper.

Why the Record Was Created

Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: 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.

Related Websites

North Carolina State Archives

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.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

North Carolina. Division of Archives and History. Estate Files, 1663-1978. North Carolina State Archives. Raleigh.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

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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|


Examples of Source Citations for a Record Found in This Collection

"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1917" database and images, FamilySearch ([https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 28 March 2012. entry for Bettie Walter G Adams, probate estate year 1895; citing Estate Files, FHL microfilm 1,651,372; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carloina, United States.


 

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