New Hampshire Probate Records
Probate records are court records created after an person’s death that document the court’s decisions regarding the distribution of the estate. These records include wills, administrations, letters testamentary, inventories, guardianships, and other documents. You may find the person’s exact death date; the names of family members, including the names of spouses of the children; and residences. You may also learn about the adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. Through the inventories, you will find the worth of their property and the land holdings they had. Probate records are the best single source for family names and family relationships.
Probate records from 1636–1771, originally filed in Portsmouth and Exeter, are now in the collection at the New Hampshire Records Management and Archives. Probate records are now found in the county courthouse of each county. These probate files include letters, affidavits, bills, receipts, original wills, and inventories. Records of towns along the Massachusetts border may be found in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Some early probate records have been printed and can be found in:
- Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire. Reprint, Bowie, Maryland.: Heritage Books, 1989–1990. (Family History Library book 972.2 P2p.) These volumes are reprints of volumes 31–39 of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. (See "Court Records" in this outline for the full citation.) They include abstracts of the wills and probate records between 1635–1771. The indexes include the names of those mentioned in the records, including the names of heirs, witnesses, and owners of nearby land.
- Colonial Court Records, 1638–1772, Approx., cited in "Court Records" in this outline, contains references to many probate cases. Province Deeds and Probate Records from 1623– 1772, mentioned in the "Land Records" section of this outline, also contains abstracts of probate records.
Many of the probate records are on microfilm at the Family History Library. They can be found by using the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
NEW HAMPSHIRE- PROBATE RECORDS
NEW HAMPSHIRE [COUNTY]- PROBATE RECORDS
NEW HAMPSHIRE [COUNTY]- GUARDIANSHIP
New Hampshire Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.