Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Gotoarrow.png Maine Gotoarrow.pngSomerset County

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files, 1809-1915 .
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What is in the Collection?

Probate estate files acquired from the Maine State Archives in Augusta. The files are arranged by packet or case number. Many packets were missing at the time this collection was microfilmed.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files, 1809-1915.

Collection Contents

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. Information in entries may 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 is often written near time of death)

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

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

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select "Case File Number and Name Range" which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by 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.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times

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.
  • 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 records or military records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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 also died in the same county. 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.
  • Probate records often have information about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents. Be aware that the spouse named may not be the parent of the children listed.
  • The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
  • The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceeding are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, Now What?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Related Websites

Somerset County Registry of Probates

Related Wiki Articles

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.

Collection Citation:

"Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files, 1809-1915" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Maine State Archives, Augusta.

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 Maine, Somerset County, Probate Estate Files, 1809-1915.