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» Probate Records
Court, land, and probate records are an often overlooked, but important part of genealogical research. For example, court cases can often involve dozens of litigants and defendants, many of whom may be related. Land records, such as deeds, are among the most important documents available for tying a specific person to a specific place; especially in those cases where time, place, and circumstances have made vital records difficult to research.
Probate records can supply interesting details, such as the total value of estates and lists of surviving family members. The family historians who take the time to research these types of legal documents will often be pleasantly surprised by the rewards that are in store. These types of records can help you locate ancestors' residences, determine occupations, find financial information, establish citizenship status, or clarify relationships between people-depending on the type of records that your ancestors' names appear in.
Types of Records
The Courts, Land, & Probate Records Collection contains a variety of records. This section explains some of the types of records you might encounter:
Probate records are created at the time of an individual's death and are the legal records associated with the dividing up of a deceased person's property. These records might include information about an individual's financial situation and assets, their occupation, the names of their heirs and other family members.
A will is a legal document in which an individual declares what they want done with their possessions or estate after their death. These might include information about immediate family members or distant relatives.
A deed is typically a legal document that transfers property rights or grants land ownership to a person. These records might include information about residences and family members.
There are many types of land records-title abstracts, land purchases, grant, and more. Land records are typically one of the records kept from the very early days of settlement in an area and may be available when other records are not. These records provide information on relationships between individuals, approximate relocation dates, and the financial state of a family.
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