My class yesterday was another real eye opener! Any of our ancestors affiliations with the government would have taken place at the county courthouse. So, the coverage of the class involved county courthouse records, primarily probate records.
Our fabulous instructor covered the who, why, and wherefore's of probate. The purposes of probate, the probate process and the many records that could be available for us to research. Again, I was impressed and amazed at the records involved.
Here are some records possibly available when a probate is involved:
Petition to Administer the Estate
Bonds posted by the Executor
Letters of Administration
Inventory of property
Sales of property
Determination of widows rights
Guardians for minors
What a lot of information there is to be found in probate records! Most information will be found in courthouses, but you may find notices printed in newspapers also. Information on siblings, the living spouse (if there is one) , along with possible occupation and social status are just a tidbit of info you may find. Locating and viewing the inventory of property can really give you a sense of the social status of the deceased.
Key points from the class~
1. If you know your ancestor owned property, but can't locate a probate file, check the land records. A large amount of land was transferred to heirs prior to death, therefore bypassing probate.
2. Probate didn't always take place immediately after death. You may have to check a large range of years.
3. Knowledge of inheritance laws of the area and time period is necessary for a complete understanding of probate records.
The list of actual records to search total over 50, I never would have realized the abundance of records probate could entail.
I have not had the opportunity as of yet to research probate files, but I have the information now to know what to search for, where to search and what I may find.
Answer to pop question - "Orphan" usually referred to a minor whose father was deceased. The mother may still be living!
Thanks for stopping by!
May you have success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!