Difference between revisions of "Massachusetts Probate Records"

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==== Local  ====
==== Local  ====
*The [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/New_England_Historic_Genealogical_Society New England Historic Genealogical Society] located in the heart of downtown Boston, Massachusetts has [add collection specifics]
*The [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/New_England_Historic_Genealogical_Society New England Historic Genealogical Society] located in the heart of downtown Boston, Massachusetts has Massachusetts probate records available on microfilm. To search their online library catalog click [http://library.nehgs.org/ Here].
==== Regional  ====
==== Regional  ====

Revision as of 17:56, 20 December 2010

United States  Gotoarrow.png  Massachusetts  Gotoarrow.png  Probate Records UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Record Synopsis

Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc.”[1] Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. For further information about probate records and the probate process see United States Probate Records.


Probate records were under the jurisdiction of the general court and the county courts until probate courts were established in 1692. Probate courts exercised exclusive jurisdiction over guardianships, adoptions, probates of wills, and administration of estates. The original records are at county courthouses.

Records of cases that were appealed are in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court.

State Statutes





  • The Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah has an excellent collection of Massachusetts probate records and indexes through 1880 or 1900 available on microfilm. These include probate dockets, wills, inventories, accounts, administrations, and guardianship records. For collection details see the Family History Library Catalog. Use the "Place Search" option to search for a specific Massachusetts county. Then look for topics labeled "Probate Records" or "Guardianship."

Statewide Record Collections

  • Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories, 1620–1639. Three Volumes. Carbon copy typescript. (Family History Library book 974.4 P2p.) Contains records of wills and property inventories extracted from these wills.

Learn More

Published Materials



  1. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."