Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
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Flag of Massachusetts
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Location of Worcester, Massachusetts
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Location of Massachusetts
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1731-1925
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

This collection contains probate estate files of Worcester County located at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston. The files are arranged by number then alphabetical by surname. The collection is being published as images become available

Probate records include the following types of documents:

  • Petitions
  • Inventories
  • Accounts
  • Decrees
  • Oaths of executors
  • Forms about guardians
  • Other court documents

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The records usually include:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Lists of belongings, property, and so forth
  • Document and recording dates (Sometimes the date of death will be given. Recording dates are also used to approximate event dates, i.e. a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.)

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the deceased
  • The approximate death or probate date
  • The place of residence

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Case File Number and Year Range to view the 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?

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.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • 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
  • 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 this 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 1900
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record
  • 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

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties

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, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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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.