Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States|
|Flag of Massachusetts|
|Location of Plymouth, Massachusetts|
|Location of Massachusetts|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 4 What Do I Do Next?
- 5 Known Issues with This Collection
- 6 Citing This Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
This collection consists of probate estate files of Plymouth County from two different sources: the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the archive of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967.|
Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, and other court documents. Information found in entries include:
- Name of testator or deceased
- Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
- Name of executor, administrator, or guardian
- Names of witnesses
- Residence of testator
- Document and recording dates (Used to approximate event dates i.e. A will was usually written near time of death.)
How Do I Search This Collection?
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- The place of residence
- The approximate death or probate date
- The name of the deceased
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the Record Type, Year Range, and Volume Number which takes you to the images.
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Massachusetts, Plymouth County, probate records, 1881-1939. Click on camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?
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?
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:
- Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives.
- Use the document (such as the will) or the recording dates to approximate a death date.
- Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records, since the probates exist for an earlier time period.
- Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.
- Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment or military records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
- Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.
- The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning or the end of each volume. In addition, local historical and genealogical societies often have indexes to local records
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
Known Issues with This Collection
| Problems with this collection?|
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, plea se email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
Citing This Collection
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.
- Collection Citation
"Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. State Archives, Boston.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.