Minnesota Probate Records

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Record Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc.”[1] Various records may be found in probate files. These may include wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. For further information about the probate process, types of probate records, analyzing probate records, and to access a glossary of probate terms, see United States Probate Records.

Explore more about the probate process, limitations of probate recordsanalyzing probate records, a glossary of probate terms, wills, and United States Probate Records.

Searching Probate Records[edit | edit source]

It is usually best to start a probate search at the county level. Links to county pages appear below. Additional resources for Minnesota probates may be found in the Minnesota-Probate topic page of the FamilySearch Catalog . Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at FamilySearch Centers. Also find Minnesota Probate resources available at many libraries (WorldCat). Explore how to search WorldCat and the FamilySearch Catalog.

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Minnesota Will Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

History[edit | edit source]

Variations existed within counties as probate jurisdictions and county boundaries changed over the years.

The court administrator of the district court in each county keeps the probate records.

Repositories[edit | edit source]

Regional[edit | edit source]

Many Minnesota counties have sent their older records to the State Archives Collection at the Minnesota Historical Society.

National[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library is acquiring microfilm copies of these records on a county-by-county basis. For more probate records, check the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Statewide Record Collections[edit | edit source]

Minnesota Will Records, 1849-1985 at FamilySearch. Index to wills from Probate Courts throughout Minnesota and located at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

State Statutes[edit | edit source]

Understanding the Minnesota probate laws and how they changed over time can help us learn how the estate was administered, taxed, and distributed and might help to solve difficult genealogical problems. Online digital versions of state statutes can be found at the Minnesota Legislature Office of the Revisor of Statutes.

Learn More[edit | edit source]

Published Materials[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at: