FamilySearch Wiki:Wiki Project Pennsylvania/Tasks-Probate Ancestry

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WikiProject Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Progress Chart Gotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Wiki Project Task - Probate: Ancestry


Wiki Project Pennsylvania Tasks - Probate: Ancestry Task


To locate pertinent probate records (estate, wills, etc.) databases on and add them to the Probate Records heading.


1. Search (

2. From the list on the left, search for any partial statewide databases that might apply to your county for probate, estate, or wills.

4. Review the databases listed for this county, and analyze them to see if they are worthwhile (contain individuals' names and is complete for the county). If it is not worthwhile, do not include it. The decision is up to you.

5. If you think the database is worthwhile and it has not already been added, add the following after the Probate Records heading and the PA Probate Intro:

'''Online Probate Indexes'''<br>

6. Under the new heading, list the databases under the Probate Records heading in chronological and then alphabetical order in the following manner:

:* '''1626-1836''' - [ Pennsylvania Wills, 1626-1836] on [ Ancestry]. Taken from Fernow, Berthold, comp. and ed. "Calendar of Wills." New York, NY, USA: 1896. - ($).<br>

7. From the list to the right of the webpage (, click on the county you are working on. Probate, wills, and estate databases are hidden under, "Tax, Criminal, Land & Wills". There are not very many probate records online so there may not be any listed for your county.

8. If there are any probate, wills or estate records databases for this county on Ancestry review them to see if they are worth listing on the county page. The decision is up to you to include it.

9. If the database is worthwhile, list the databases under the Probate Records heading in chronological and then alphabetical order using the example in number 6.

10. You can list any other helpful info about the database after the ($) in the entry (such as, not complete, index only, etc.).

11. If there are dates listed in the title of the database, repeat the dates just after the bullet in bold. 

12. Once you have examined the list and added the necessary databases, save the page. The task is now complete.


Online Probate Indexes

Example of Completed Probate Records Heading

Probate matters in Berks County, Pennsylvania are handled by the Orphans' Court. To obtain original probate records, contact the Orphan's Court in the County Courthouse.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates of decedents, incompetents, and minors; appointment and control of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills involving probate matters; inheritance tax appeals and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate Indexes

Online Probate Records

Original probate records for some Pennsylvania counties are available free online as digital images at The dates vary significantly for each county and not all counties are listed. Some counties may only have probate indexes. This Pennsylvania collection of images may be browsed through the links listed below:

Complete Collection:

Berks County Only:

Original Probate Records on Microfilm

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Berks County Pennsylvania probate wills in online catalogs like: