Washington County Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Washington, County Probate Records, 1853-1929 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Washington, United States
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Flag of Washington
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Location of Washington
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1853-1929
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites



What is in the Collection?

The collection includes probate case files from 1853 to 1929. The records are from the following counties:

  • Clallam
  • Island
  • Jefferson
  • San Juan
  • Skagit
  • Snohomish
  • Whatcom

The records were created by county courts and are housed at the Washington State Archives Northwest Regional Branch.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Washington County Probate Records, 1853-1929.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians and other court documents. They may include any of the following:

  • 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

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 residence.

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information in the list to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several persons in the list before you find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "County"
⇒ Select the "Record Type, Date Range and Volume" which takes you to the images.

What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

= 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. These may help you find additional family members.
  • 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 records to learn about
Land transactions
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.

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

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • 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:

"Washington,County Probate Records,1853-1929." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing State Archives, Northwest Regional Branch, Bellingham.

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 Washington County Probate Records, 1853-1929.

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.