By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student
I collect dead people. I know, I know, that sounds all sorts of weird, but as genealogists we spend a lot of time with those who have passed. We collect their statistics, their stories and well, really we collect their lives. One of the records that is on the list of must-have’s for genealogists are probate records.
Unfortunately, not everyone left a will or a record at their time of death. This can be horribly frustrating for us as researchers when we are trying to connect one generation to another. When we do find that amazing record, that lists ALL of the children, we rejoice in the only way we know how. By doing more research.
My luck with probate records is few and far between. Of the ones I have found they either are so ambiguous it leaves you wondering if this was the right family or so detailed it makes me scream and shout. Sometimes it makes you wish there was a set way to do things, or consistent laws in place on what is required!
I am looking forward to taking the US: Probate Records course. Perhaps I will find new places to research or fill in some gaps in my knowledge so I will be better at finding these elusive records. I particularly want to learn where and how to search for records that were recorded before death certificates became the norm. My only roadblock will be that not everyone had a will, but I will hold out hope that my family loved to leave these types of records.
So here I go. Stay tuned to learn about what I find out!