Turkey Probate Records
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Registers of Endowed Properties [Arabic - Waqfiyāt]
Research use: This is one of the best sources of lineage linked genealogical information in Islamic society. These registers provide genealogical trees, family groups, and family lineage.
Record type: Accounts of land deeded to a mosque or charitable institution, the revenues of which are divided among the descendants of the donor. When there are no more descendants the revenues accrue to the institution.
Time period: 1400s to 1928.
Contents: Names of heirs, including even wives and daughters, over several generations.
Location: Most registers of Anatolia are at the Anthropological Museum in Ankara. Those of Istanbul are at the seat of the Mufti [Müftülük] in Istanbul. There may be additional repositories.
Population coverage: Less than 30%; pertain only to families with property.
Records of Inheritance Litigation [Arabic - Mukhallifāt]
Research use: These records are a good source for specific information about deceased individuals; they also provide relationships helpful in lineage linking.
Record type: Legal proceedings concerning distribution of inheritance to heirs of deceased persons. During Ottoman times these are the closest thing in Islamic society to death records. The distribution of inheritance among heirs was prescribed in great detail in Islamic law. A propertied person’s death ordinarily entailed registering his assets with the local Islamic judge [Arabic - qadi], indicating the name and legacy of each inheritor along with his or her relationship with the deceased. Islamic law courts [sharia] handled any litigation concerning inheritance.
Time period: early 1600s to 1928.
Contents: – names of deceased persons; dates of death; lists of assets; lists of heirs with relationship to deceased. Other details about these records are not available.
Location: At sharia court archives in various cities; many are found at the Ethnographic Museum in Ankara and the seat of the Mufti [Müftülük] in Istanbul. Other possible locations include the Sulaymaniye Library and the Topkap Museum in Istanbul. Population coverage: About 30%; these records pertain to Muslims with property only.
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Turkey,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1998.