Maine, County Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
Maine, County Probate Records, 1760-1979 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Maine, United States|
|Flag of Maine|
|Location of Maine|
What is in the Collection?
The collection consists of images of county probate books. The record content and time period varies by county.
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Maine, County Probate Records, 1760-1979.|
Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. They may include the following information:
- Name of the testator or deceased
- Date of death
- Names of the heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, and friends
- Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian
- Names of witnesses
- Dates the documents were written and recorded (may be used to approximate a death date since a will was usually written near the time of death).
How Do I Search the Collection?
This section provides information on how to search the collection, what to do with information once found, some tips on how to search, and what to do if no record is found.
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
To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the appropriate "County" Record Type
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type, Record Description" Record Type which takes you to the images.
Search the collection by image 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.
What Do I Do Next?
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.
- 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 employment records or other types of records such as military records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship 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.
- 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.
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
- 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 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, Now What?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Maine, Probate Records items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Maine Archives and Libraries.|
How You Can Contribute
| 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.
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.
- "Maine, County Probate Records, 1760- 1979." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. County courthouses, Maine.
|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 Maine, County Probate Records, 1760-1979.|