This collection consists primarily of indexes to the records. The full records are typically found at the local courthouse in the area where your ancestor lived. In some cases, you may also find records in state archives. Local genealogical and historical societies may have transcriptions of certain court records as well.
When you locate your ancestor in an index, be sure to locate the complete record, provided it still exists. Court records are typically rich in detail and can sometimes provide insights not found anywhere else. In the case of probate records, which may have been created over several years, multiple documents such as a will, estate description, guardianship papers, petitions, affidavits, and more, may be included in the packet.
The wills, estate, and guardianship records are a rich legacy left to you by your ancestors. Probate records, as well as telling you where and when your ancestors died, also reveal the value of the estate they left.
They will typically contain names of family members and relationships as well as a look at your ancestor’s financial standing. In cases where minor children were involved, guardianship records reveal who assumed responsibility for those children.