Montana Probate Records
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.” Genealogists often refer to 'Probate Records' as "All records which relate to the disposition of an estate," whether the person died leaving a will (testate) or not (intestate).
Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, guardianships, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, depositions, 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 the probate process, types of probate records, analyzing probate records, and to access a glossary of probate terms, see United States Probate Records.
Probate courts existed in the counties from 1864 to 1889. Their records and jurisdiction were then transferred to the district courts. Montana probate records include administrators' books, probate proceedings, registers, files, wills, bonds, and exhibits. The Family History Library does not have copies of Montana probate records. They are available at the various county courthouses.
Wiki articles describing online FamilySearch collections are found at:
- Montana, Cascade County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Montana, Flathead County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Montana, Lake County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Montana, Rosebud County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Montana, Yellowstone County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Montana Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001. (NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.)
- Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."
- Val. D. Greenwood, The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, 3rd ed. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000), 309.