Pennsylvania Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This collection includes probate records created in Pennsylvania counties. The records include wills, estate records and indexes. Probates have been recorded on a county basis since the origin of the Commonwealth in 1682. Some major cities such as Philadelphia also kept probate records. Complete records are available in most counties. Probate actions taken in a locality before the present county was formed are found in records of the parent county.  
 
This collection includes probate records created in Pennsylvania counties. The records include wills, estate records and indexes. Probates have been recorded on a county basis since the origin of the Commonwealth in 1682. Some major cities such as Philadelphia also kept probate records. Complete records are available in most counties. Probate actions taken in a locality before the present county was formed are found in records of the parent 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: 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.
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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: 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.
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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.  
  
For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link at:
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=== Citation for This Collection ===
[https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A//api.familysearch.org/records/collection/1999196/waypoints">Browse]
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=== Citation for This Collection ===
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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.  
 
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.  
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| text=<!--bibdescbegin-->Pennsylvania, County Probate Clerks. VirginiaPennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994. County Clerks, Pennsylvania.<!--bibdescend-->}}  
 
| text=<!--bibdescbegin-->Pennsylvania, County Probate Clerks. VirginiaPennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994. County Clerks, Pennsylvania.<!--bibdescend-->}}  
  
=== Record Content ===  
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=== Record Content ===
  
 
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Image: Pennsylvania Probate Records Pages 5 and 6 DGS 4152539_38.jpg  
 
Image: Pennsylvania Probate Records Pages 5 and 6 DGS 4152539_38.jpg  
 
Image: Pennsylvania Probate Records Pages 7 and 8 DGS 4152539_39.jpg  
 
Image: Pennsylvania Probate Records Pages 7 and 8 DGS 4152539_39.jpg  
</gallery>
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</gallery>  
  
 
Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. They may include any of the following genealogical information:  
 
Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. They may include any of the following genealogical information:  
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*Name of the testator or deceased  
 
*Name of the testator or deceased  
 
*Names of the heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, and friends  
 
*Names of the heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, and friends  
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*Names of witnesses  
 
*Names of witnesses  
 
*Residence of the testator  
 
*Residence of the testator  
*Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death).  
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*Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death).
  
== How to Use the Record ==  
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== How to Use the Record ==
  
 
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:  
 
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:  
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*The place of residence  
 
*The place of residence  
 
*The approximate death or probate date  
 
*The approximate death or probate date  
*The name of the deceased  
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*The name of the deceased
  
==== Search the Collection ====  
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==== Search the Collection ====
  
 
To search the collection select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page next select the place and then the Record Type, Date, Volume or Surname Range which takes you to the images. Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.  
 
To search the collection select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page next select the place and then the Record Type, Date, Volume or Surname Range which takes you to the images. Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.  
  
==== Using the Information ====  
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==== 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:  
 
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:  
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*Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives.  
 
*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.  
 
*You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.  
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*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.  
 
*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.  
 
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.  
 
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.  
*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.  
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*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  
== Related Websites ==  
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== Related Websites ==
  
*[http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/record-search-court-land.php?locIndex=14656"&gt;ePodunk,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]
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*[http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/record-search-court-land.php?locIndex=14656 "&gt;ePodunk,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]  
*[http://www.publicrecordcenter.com/pennsylvaniapublicrecord.htm"&gt;Public Record Center.com]
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*[http://www.publicrecordcenter.com/pennsylvaniapublicrecord.htm "&gt;Public Record Center.com]
  
== Related Wiki Articles ==  
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== Related Wiki Articles ==
  
*[[Pennsylvania]]
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*[[Pennsylvania]]  
*[[Pennsylvania_Probate_Records]]
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*[[Pennsylvania Probate Records]]
  
 
  == Contributions to This Article ==  
 
  == Contributions to This Article ==  
  
{{Contributor invite}}  
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{{Contributor invite}}
  
 
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
 
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
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=== Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection  ===
 
=== Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection  ===
  
"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Probate Records. 1683-1994" index and images, ''FamilySearch'' ([https://www.familysearch.org]): accessed 7 October 2011). entry for Mary Green, will probated 1842; citing Probate Records, reference number Box 10, 100-149 123; City of Philadelphia Retgister of Wills Office. Piladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.  
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"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Probate Records. 1683-1994" index and images, ''FamilySearch'' ([https://www.familysearch.org]: accessed 7 October 2011). entry for Mary Green, will probated 1842; citing Probate Records, reference number Box 10, 100-149 123; City of Philadelphia Retgister of Wills Office. Piladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.  
  
 
[[Category:Pennsylvania|Probate]]
 
[[Category:Pennsylvania|Probate]]

Revision as of 18:29, 12 July 2012

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

Contents

Record Description

This collection includes probate records created in Pennsylvania counties. The records include wills, estate records and indexes. Probates have been recorded on a county basis since the origin of the Commonwealth in 1682. Some major cities such as Philadelphia also kept probate records. Complete records are available in most counties. Probate actions taken in a locality before the present county was formed are found in records of the parent 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: 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 data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Pennsylvania, County Probate Clerks. VirginiaPennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994. County Clerks, Pennsylvania.

Record Content

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. They may include any of the following genealogical information:

  • Name of the testator or deceased
  • Names of the heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, and friends
  • Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of the testator
  • Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death).

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

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

Search the Collection

To search the collection select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page next select the place and then the Record Type, Date, Volume or Surname Range which takes you to the images. Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

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.
  • 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 employment records or other types of records such as 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:
  • Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.
  • 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 the late 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.

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

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Probate Records. 1683-1994" index and images, FamilySearch ([1]: accessed 7 October 2011). entry for Mary Green, will probated 1842; citing Probate Records, reference number Box 10, 100-149 123; City of Philadelphia Retgister of Wills Office. Piladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.