ONE OF THE BEST SOURCES THAT WE CAN ACCESS AS GENEALOGISTS, ARE THE PROBATE RECORDS OF OUR ANCESTORS
|HERE IS THE PROBATE INDEX CARD FOR THE ELIZABETH BURGESS ESTATE. YOU CAN SEE THE FILE NUMBER IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER AND THAT IT NAMES HER GRANDDAUGHTER, SUSAN MILNE AND THE PARTICULAR COURT WHERE THE RECORD WAS FILED, ALONG WITH THE YEAR - 1884.
Here is just a sample of what they can tell us:
- They can contain some solid family connections
- Solve brick walls
- Give us clues as to the financial status of our ancestor
- Tell us if a particular child was “out of favor”
- Give us dates, names & places
- Indicate who were trusted friends based on the executor or witnesses
Have you ever located one?
During my recent research, I was on the Facebook page for Detroit Society for Genealogical Research.
They had two recent articles/posts regarding finding probate records. One article was posted on October 31 and the next on November 1. While these particular posts are about Michigan, this information can be used with probate records for any state for which Family Search has records available. Here is the link: United_States_Probate_Records
One thing about having a lot of records online is that some of us may not be as well versed in “browsing” through records as we used to be. Prior to the internet, microfilm and microfiche had to be used to find records. This involved a LOT of scrolling through record after record. It’s much easier, in my opinion, to scroll through online records, than to use the microfilm readers.
How many of you don’t look at records on familysearch when you see “browse records” rather than the little camera icon?
I have to admit, I was guilty of that, until recently.
Here are the links I referred to from the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research.
Probate Records on Family Search - Part 1
Probate Records on Family Search - Part 2
I located a probate number for my 3rd great grandmother, Elizabeth BURGESS, while searching under the name MILNE. Why? Because her granddaughter, Susan married into my MILNE family. The record shown at the top of this post is the one I located.
I was SO excited. I went from the index to the actual records and began my search. I couldn’t wait to find out who she might mention in her probate record.
BUT, AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT….
One of the years that IS NOT in this group of scanned images is 1884. Yup, no record. I was very disappointed. However, I didn’t let that stop me from trying to obtain this record. I live in California. No trip to Detroit is in my near future.
How was I going to obtain a copy of this probate record?
I have friends and family in Detroit. I contacted a Facebook friend from the group Detroit Genealogy and she has offered to go to the courthouse and get this record for me. She hopes to have it by the end of the week. Once I get it, you can bet I’ll be writing about it.
TIP: It’s because of situations like this that I so highly recommend that every genealogist use social media as a source for contacts. I can’t tell you the wealth of information I have gained and the records I have obtained because of Facebook contacts.
Please see this post I wrote about the value of Facebook for your genealogy research.
FACEBOOK - HOW IT CAN BE VERY USEFUL IN YOUR RESEARCH
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Copyright © 2014 Diane Gould Hall
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