Alabama Estate Files - FamilySearch Historical Records
|Access the Records|
Alabama Estate Files, 1830-1976
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of Alabama|
|Location of Alabama|
|Various county courthouses|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues
- 7 Citing This Collection
What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
This collection consists of estate case files created by the probate courts of Alabama counties. Probates were generally recorded in the county of residence. This collection includes probate records created 1830-1976, but the content and time period of the records will vary by county. Files from Madison, Monroe and Talladega counties have not been indexed, but are arranged in alphabetical order by the deceased’s name. Additional records may be added to this collection. Probate records fall into two general categories: wills and estate papers. The records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians and other court documents. Most records mention the names of heirs and frequently specify how those heirs are related. Names of children may be given, as well as married names of daughters. Probate records may not give an exact death date, but a death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate.
Probate records are used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transfers the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title. The transfer is to an executor or executrix if the deceased had made a will, to an administrator or administratrix if the deceased had not made a will, or to a guardian or conservator if the deceased had heirs under the age of twenty-one or if heirs were incompetent due to disease or disability. Most probate records were created on a county level, though many were later sent to the Archives. The contents of probate records vary greatly depending on the prevailing law and the personality of the record keeper. The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceeding are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance, or the spouse mentioned may not be the parent of the children mentioned.
Image Visibility[edit | edit source]
Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.
To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Alabama Estate Files, 1830-1976.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]
Estate files may include:
- The name of the testator or deceased
- Event year
- Event place
- Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
- Sometimes the date of death
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Images[edit | edit source]
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of the individual
- The date of the event or the name of a parent or spouse
Search the Index[edit | edit source]Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
- Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
- Click Search to show possible matches
View the Images[edit | edit source]
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the County
- Select the Name or Name Range, and Year to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Alabama Estate Files, 1830-1976. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]
Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.
What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Use a probate record to identify guardians, heirs and relatives
- Use a will to approximate a death date, then find a death certificate
- Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records for earlier years
- Use the information to locate census, christenings, marriage and land records
I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
- Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records
- If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search
- Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images
- Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names
Research Helps[edit | edit source]
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Alabama.
Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]
Related FamilySearch Historical Record Collections[edit | edit source]
Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]
Known Issues[edit | edit source]
Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.