Montana, Cascade County Probate Esate Case Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States
Montana
Cascade County


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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
Cascade, Montana, United States
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Flag of Montana
US Locator Map Montana Cascade.PNG
Location of Cascade County, Montana
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Location of Montana
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1889-1903
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of images of probate estate files located at the county courthouse in Great Falls, Montana.

You will be able to browse through images in this collection when it is published.

Collection Content

Sample Images

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.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Records may include:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Event year
  • Event place
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Sometimes the date of death

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know at least some of the following:

  • The name of of your ancestor
  • The place your ancestor resided
  • The approximate date of death
  • The date of probate

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information in the list to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several persons in the list before you find your ancestor.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Pagethen:
⇒ Select the appropriate "County"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Surname Letter"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Individual's Name, Year".

What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the record to identify adoptions, 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.
  • Use the occupations to find employment or military records.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • [Montana Church Records|Church Records]] often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.


I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • 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. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Montana, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the Montana Archives and Libraries.



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
"Montana, Cascade County Probate Estate Case Files,1889-1903." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Cascade County Courthouse, Great Falls.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
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?

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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.