Texas Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Revision as of 03:56, 27 October 2012 by HoranDM (Talk | contribs)
FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Texas, Probate Records, 1800-1990 .

Contents

Record Description

This collection contains images of probate records from seventy-five different counties in the state of Texas. The content and time period of these records vary by county.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

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.

Texas, Probate Records, 1800-1990. Various county courthouses throughout Texas.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, and other court documents. Genealogical facts found in entries 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 was usually written near time of death.)

How to Use the Record

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the “Browse" images" link on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the “County” category
⇒ Select the “Volume Title and Year” category 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 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

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 other types of records such as employment or 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

Texas State Library and Archives 

Related Wiki Articles

Texas Probate Records

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

"Texas, Probate Records, 1800-1990," images, FamilySearch ([[1]]: 30 August 2012), Bosque > Probate records 1855-1861 vol D > Image 115 of 156; estate of Fielding Smith, dated May 10, 1860; citing Texas, Probate Records, 1800-1990. Various county courthouses throughout Texas.


 

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