Arkansas Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Arkansas, Probate Records, 1817-1979 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Arkansas, United States
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Flag of Arkansas
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Location of Arkansas
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1817-1979
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This is a collection of probate records, including estate files and other documents created by the probate courts of Arkansas counties. Probates were generally recorded in the county of residence. This collection covers probate records created 1817 to 1979, but the content and time period of the records varies.

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians and other court documents.

For a list of records by localities, document type and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse. link from the collection landing page.

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979.


Collection Content

Sample Images

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Wills may include:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • 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
  • Recording dates
  • Sometimes the date of death

Marriages may include:

  • Name of groom and bride
  • Place and date of birth of bride
  • Age at marriage
  • Names of witnesses
  • Names of Judge

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your deceased ancestor.
  • The approximate death or probate date.
  • The residence of the deceased.
  • The names of other relatives or associates.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "County"
⇒Select the "Volume Title and Year" which takes you to the images

Many of these volumes have indexes at the beginning or end. You should search these first. If your ancestor is in the index download a copy or write down the page numbers listed for your ancestor. You can then quickly turn to those pages.

If you do not find your ancestor in the index, look at each 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. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s probate 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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.
  • 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 the recording date approximate the death date. (For example, a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.)
  • 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 land transactions.
  • 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 1900.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
  • 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.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes created by the court or local historical and genealogical societies.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.


Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Arkansas, Probate Records, 1817-1979." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. County courthouses, Arkansas.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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 also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.