What Is Genealogy
Why Study Genealogy?
How Far Can You Go?
3rd Party Stories
Cite Your Sources
Using Probate Records in Genealogy
Wills, inventories, letters of administration, and guardianships are all types of probate records, and all are powerful tools of genealogical research. Their value in genealogy is that the focus of probate is the family; beneficiaries named in a will are usually a spouse, children, grandchildren, in-laws, or siblings. Nowhere else, except perhaps in vital records and deeds, is proof of family relationships established with equal precision.
In addition to genealogical details, probate documents also contain much information about the living arrangements, wealth, family attitudes, religious beliefs, education, literacy, and civic mindedness of our ancestors. More so than any other types of historical documents, except perhaps diaries or autobiographies, probate records are a "window" into the past, through which we can catch see our ancestors' family relationships and lifestyles.
Probate records can be divided into two basic categories:
Of course, sometimes people died "intestate" without leaving a will or naming heirs. In these cases, the questions are who inherited the property, what are intestacy records, and how can such records be used in genealogy.
When a person died intestate, his property was administered by the court according to state or colonial statutes and customs of the time. Once the court (usually the county court) was informed that an individual of sufficient property had died intestate, it appointed an administrator, someone who would oversee the preparation of an estate "inventory" of real and personal property and work with the court in determining beneficiaries.
Intestacy law in early America was broadly based on English precedent. However, although primogeniture prevailed by law in English intestacy cases, that practice did not always prevail in America:-
Copyright © 2006-2023, Answers 2000 Limited
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE,COMES FROM AMAZON EU S.à r.l. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.
Disclosure: Our company's websites' content (including this website's content) includes advertisements for our own company's websites, products, and services, and for other organization's websites, products, and services. In the case of links to other organization's websites, our company may receive a payment, (1) if you purchase products or services, or (2) if you sign-up for third party offers, after following links from this website. Unless specifically otherwise stated, information about other organization's products and services, is based on information provided by that organization, the product/service vendor, and/or publicly available information - and should not be taken to mean that we have used the product/service in question. Additionally, our company's websites contain some adverts which we are paid to display, but whose content is not selected by us, such as Google AdSense ads. For more detailed information, please see Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures
Click privacy for information about our company's privacy, data collection and data retention policies, and your rights.
In Association With Amazon.com
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
In Association With Amazon.co.uk
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.
As an Amazon Associate, our company earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon, the Amazon logo, Endless, and the Endless logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
All third party content and adverts are copyright of their respective owners.