How to Access to Probate Records and Files

Written by neal litherland
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Probate records and files are the documents filed and kept when a person dies and the records of their property transfers and wills are placed in the system. Probate records are considered public records and they're often used by professional and amateur genealogists to track down family trees and ascertain lineages. Accessing these records isn't terribly difficult, assuming you know who you're looking for in the probate records.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Find out all the information you can about the particular probate files you want to find. You should have the names of people concerned, the town in which the case was settled, the courthouse where matters were decided, the names of any lawyers involved, etc. The more information you have, the more likely you are to find the records you want.

  2. 2

    Go to the courthouse where the probate records are kept. Find the public records or courthouse clerk and fill out the necessary forms. Probate records are public records, so anyone can ask to see them. Give the clerks all the information you have and they should be able to locate the probate case you want.

  3. 3

    Make copies of the probate file once the clerks find it. There is usually a copying fee involved, so make sure you only copy the parts of the file you need for your own records.

Tips and warnings

  • Some probate courts may have the files up on the Internet. Check this option on the courthouse website to save yourself some time in searching.

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