The New Ancestry Research Collection, U.S. Wills and Probate Records, Is A Great Resource.



I have a number of ancestors whom I have tried repeatedly to find their probate records, including wills or estate inventories, to no avail. It was believed that these persons probably died intestate but I hadn’t found proof.

I now have more answers. Ancestry has begun offering researchers a new set of records to study– U.S. Wills and Probate Records. Insertions of names of my ancestors (without known wills) into the search engine was successful in finding copies of their Letters of Administration. This information confirms to me that the person died without a will, when and where he or she died, and that an administrator of the estate was named. 

According to the Ancestry website:

Probate records are some of the most valuable documents you’ll come across doing your family history. These records, created after an individual’s death, often exist in time periods when birth, marriage, and death records are unavailable and contain personal details unlike any other record. Even though you might not have known your ancestors, you can discover the people and possessions they cared about and perhaps learn a little more about their character and personality.

The Wills and Probate Collection on Ancestry Ancestry is home to the largest online collection of documented wills and probate records for the United States. You’ll find records for all 50 states covering more than 300 years, from 1668 to 2005. That’s more than 170 million documents available for browsing. The size of this unprecedented collection means you’re likely to find at least one of your ancestors.

A weakness I discovered in the records: I typed in the names of several ancestors whom I DO have copies of their wills. The search engine was not able to find the wills.

Either way, this new collection from Ancestry is a great research tool and I suggest you check it out soon. 

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