18 June 2015

Notice Letters - 20 Years Later?

Westchester County Estate Records, year 1836, File #60 Isaac Purdy.

The estates are never settled promptly. Some can drag on for years.

Here's the one, letters sent 26 January 1864 per the notice filed herein.

And this illustrate why the probate files should never be dissed and dismissed as irrelevant to family history.

William Short, Ridgefield, Connecticut
Mrs. Lydia Howe, wife of William Howe, Ridgefield, Connecticut
Mrs. Mary Eliza Short, wife of George D. Short, Bondbrook, Connecticut 
George D. Short, Bondbrook, Connecticut
Ellen Perry, Ridgefield, Connecticut
Mrs. Christiana Benedict, wife of Lawrence Benedict, Elizabeth Town, New Jersey
Mrs. Anna Jane Hall, wife of James Hall, Windsorville, Connecticut.

All this for the final settlement of the accounts of Gerard Crane, executor of Isaac Purdy.

What is obvious happening - the executor did not finish his assignment of estate of Isaac Purdy! Probably died before he could close the estate.

These named ones probably are relatives of Gerard Crane, rather than Isaac Purdy.

Think carefully about what else is in Gerard's file.

Here's the page...


Don't Diss These Records!

Dissing the probate files?

What's with anyone NOT willing to even try to take a peek inside these probate files?

Numbers on SAMPUBCO site don't lie! Too few visitors bothered to see what is available for Probate Files, relying way too much on will books as only solution.

Madison County, New York is a good example

Will books accounted for only 1957 wills recorded by transcription from 1800 to 1876.

Probate Files? Staggering 3495 files. Out of that less than 1957 wills that are ORIGINAL may or may not be found in them.

What else is in the probate files anyway?

All original records:

Letters Testamentary
Letters of Administration
Newspaper notices
guardianship petitions by the minors who are over 14 years old
Names of heirs with their residences
Receipts of debts and payments
Inventories of estates, right down to even the sewing pins. Nothing is spared.
Notices to heirs, some are 20 years later (I will talk about this in another blog.)
And that is not all.

Probate Files are NOT limited to the deceased. No one is spared:
Spend thrifty (spend like crazy and not know how to manage)
commitments to poor houses
bad boys/bad girls get committed to state reformatory for boys or girls (they do exist!)
Dowers (not exclusively widows, even children can petition)
Minors regardless of whether parents are living or deceased, grandparents are on records filing petitions for custody. List their birthdates or specific ages you can't find anywhere else.

Miscellaneous papers are unique because they contain information not found elsewhere.

Not all states are alike. Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, and Michigan to my knowledge are maintaining NO will books. They use probate file method. Erie County New York is only one within the state of New York not using will books, they use probate file system.

I can name a few speakers who will tell you same things I just spoke of. They spoke in last 2 years about the importance of the probate files versus will books.

Normally the wills account for around 10 percent of general estates.

Too poor to have anything, I refer you to "poor house", guardianship, etc. No one is left without any trace.

I know of one probate file where it was NOT closed until the last of 4th generation died, 80 years later.

You will see increasing entries for Probate files at http://www.sampubco.com over the next several months.

15 June 2015

Maryland, New York, Oregon, wills, probate files

Will Testators:
Maryland - Washington Vol A-D (1777-1848) 1419 testators
New York - Westchester co Vol 70-75 (1873-1875) 444 testators

Probate Files (including many guardianships/minors):
New York - Herkimer co Surnames B (1885-1890) 105 files
New York - Madison co (1874-1876) 235 Files  COMPLETED!
Oregon - Benton co (1873-1896) 205 Files

Not limited to these ones, there are much more databases, showing:
Wills - 437559 testators
Guardianships that are recorded stand alone - 11676
letters testamentary - 1860
Probate files (including guardians/minors) 165729
Naturalizations - 74951 petitioners, 26763 including spouses and children
Miscellaneous Orders and Decrees (including court minutes), 3085
Letters of Administrations, 655

Free access, no required opt in or out, just walk in to see and walk out when done.

Site search is included

Much of the site is already mobile-ready.


W. David Samuelsen

07 June 2015

New York, Herkimer and Mdaison counties, probate files

New York - Herkimer co Surnames B (1880-1885) 114 Files

New York - Madison co (1874-1876) 235 Files COMPLETED!

Be advised, the site is still in process of being converted to smartphone-ready and tablet-ready.

Wills, Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary and Naturalizations have been completely converted. Probate Files is in process.

There are several states and many county indexes listed. Free to browse.