California, County Probate Books (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States
California
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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
California, United States
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Flag of California
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Location of California
Record Description
Record Type Probate Records
Collection years 1850-1950
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites



What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of images of county probate books. The records include bonds, calenders, inventories, journals, letters of administration and testamentary, minutes, orders and decrees, proceedings, registers of actions and wills, etc. Counties currently included in the collection are listed in the following table:

Alpine Kern San Benito Sutter
Amador Lake San Diego Yolo
Butte Lassen San Francisco Yuba
Calaveras Los Angeles Santa Clara
Colusa Mendocino Solano
Glenn Sacramento Stanislaus

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. 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. The spouse mentioned may not be the parent of the children mentioned.

To Browse This Collection

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

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The records usually include:

  • The name of testator or deceased
  • The event year
  • The event place
  • The names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends

Collection Content

Sample Images


How Do I Search the Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

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

Search the Index

You will be able to search this collection when it is published.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Record Type, Year Range and Volume Number or Letter 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.

What Do I Do Next?

If these are indexes, the original records may contain additional information than was not indexed, or the information might have been indexed incorrectly. You may want to search for the original record at the "California, County Probate Books, 1850-1950" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. California, County Probate Books.

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

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

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching a nearby locality.
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Check the infobox above for additional FamilySearch websites and related websites that may assist you in finding similar records.

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
"California, County Probate Books, 1850-1950" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017.
Image Citation:
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.