Virginia, County Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
Virginia, United States
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Location of Virginia
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1752-1983
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites




What is in the Collection?

This collection includes images of probate records for some counties in Virginia. The records include wills, inventories, and other court documents. This collection includes records from 1762 to 1983 for the following counties:

  • Accomack
  • Franklin
  • Mecklenburg
  • Orange
  • Rockingham
  • Suffolk (Independent City)
  • Westmoreland

Exact content and time period varies by county.

Collection Content

Samples Images

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

These records may contain any of the following:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Event year
  • Event place
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Sometimes the date of death

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the deceased.
  • The place of residence.
  • The approximate date of death.
  • The approximate date of probate.


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 appropriate "County"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Record Type, Year Range, and Volume number or letter" category which takes you to the images.

Look at the individuals in the list or in the images comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the entry or 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Use the recording date approximate the death date. (For example, a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.)
  • 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.
  • Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.


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.


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:

“Virginia, County Probate Records, 1752-1983” Images. FamilySearch. http://familySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing various courthouses throughout Virginia.


Image Citation:

The image citation will be available once the collection is published.

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.