Tracing Immigrants Arrival Probate Records
Probate records are most helpful for finding places of origin during colonial periods than in later times. Probates from colonial eras are often published and indexed. An example is—
Dobson, David. Scottish-American Heirs, 1683-1883. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990. (FHL book 941 D2d.)
Also, colonial immigrants often identified themselves by their hometown, especially in places like Dutch New Amsterdam (now New York). Family members left behind in the old country are mentioned more often in colonial wills. Some well-to-do immigrants held property in their parent countries that could be described in probate documents. Even if they do not directly mention the place of origin, probates may have clues that lead to the place of origin.
See the state and country portals or research outlines and the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the topic PROBATE RECORDS for available manuscript and published sources.