Finding your ancestor in probate records

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United States Probate>

Most probate courts index their records by the name of the deceased. Some court indexes are only for testate cases and exclude intestate cases.

The entry in the index usually provides the decedant's name, a year, a case number, and references to other court documents by volume and page number.

The records for a probate case can be in various court registers. Each type of register may have its own index.

Most courts create a comprehensive index for a probate case. U.S. states use different names for this type of index, such as, estate index, proceedings index, or index to probate cases. This general index has the references to other court documents.

Check online for indexes:

  • USGenWeb is a cooperative volunteer effort with links to resources in the state and counties.
  • Sampubco A gateway to Indexes of Wills, Guardianships, Probate Records, and Letters Testamentary.

Look in the Family History Library Catalog to see what court indexes are available on microfilm from the probate court. Also, look for published statewide probate indexes.

Consider variant spellings for a given name and surname.