North Carolina Estate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|North Carolina, United States|
|Flag of North Carolina|
|Location of North Carolina|
- 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 Citing This Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
This is a collection of loose papers relating to the settlement of estates for the years 1663 to 1979. They cover matters such as provision for heirs, including minor children, as well as distribution of funds, land and property, and slaves. The records from various counties in North Carolina were filmed at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History.
The records include the following:
- Administrators' bonds
- Guardians' bonds
- Accounts of sales
- Annual accounts
- Allotments of years provisions
- Petitions of many sorts
- Bills and receipts
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?
The following information may be found in these records:
Probate records usually include the following kinds of information.
- Name of testator or deceased
- Probate date and place
- 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
Only the estate files are contained in this collection, the wills are not included. Additional records will be added to this collection as they become available.
These records are organized by the County, then alphabetically by the surname with the year of probate included in parenthesis. Some of the records are faded and may be difficult to read.
The North Carolina State Genealogical Society has partnered with FamilySearch to index these records. The estate records for the years 1669-1759 has a microfilmed index available at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care, and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease.
The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceedings are reliable, but realize that there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members or those who had previously received an inheritance. In some cases, the spouse mentioned in the will was not the parent of the children mentioned.
Most probate records in North Carolina were created on a county level though many were later sent to the North Carolina State Archives. For the colonial period, dozens of North Carolina wills were proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in London, England. The contents of probate records vary greatly depending on the prevailing law and the personality of the record keeper. An index is being created for this collection. Additional records will be added to this collection as they become available.
The coverage table shows the county, time periods covered, court and the title in the FamilySearch Catalog for this collection.
|County||Dates||Court||Title in FamilySearch Catalog|
|Lincoln County||1735-1914|| North Carolina. Superior Court (Lincoln County)
North Carolina. County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (Lincoln County)
|Lincoln County, North Carolina, will records, 1824-1964, will index, 1772-1964; estate records, 1735-1914*|
|Bute County (Bute county was discontinued in 1779 and split between Franklin and Warren Counties)||1764-1784||North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina)||Wills and estate papers (Bute County, North Carolina), 1764-1784*|
|Catawba County||1663-1978||North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina)||Wills and estate papers (Catawba County), 1663-1978*|
|Cumberland County||1663-1978||North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina)||Wills and estate papers (Cumberland County), 1663-1978*|
|Currituck County||1663-1978||North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina)||Wills and estate papers (Currituck County), 1663-1978*|
|Edenton District (Edenton District covered the following counties: Gates, Hertford, Bertie, Tyrrell, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden, and Currituck)||1756-1806||North Carolina. Division of Archives and History (Raleigh, North Carolina)||Wills and estate papers (Edenton District), 1756-1806*|
|Warren County||1772-1940||North Carolina. Superior Court (Warren County)||Warren County, North Carolina, estate records|
|Avery County||1916-1955||North Carolina. Superior Court (Avery County)||Avery County, North Carolina estate files, ca. 1916-1955|
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 probate place
Search the Index
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the County
- Select the Surname Letter
- Select Individual's Name and Year to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979. 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?
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 the document recording dates to approximate a death date if you do not already have one
- 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
- Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions and adoptions or guardianships of any minor children and dependents
- 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. It can help you to organize the names into families
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
- The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator
I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
- Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
- Consult the North Carolina Record Finder to find other records
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of North Carolina.
- North Carolina Guided Research
- North Carolina Record Finder
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Step-by-Step Research
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
- "North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 21 November 2016. Citing Division of Archives and History. State Archives, Raleigh.
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
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.