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Genealogy How-To
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Family Finder
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* Finding the minimum information for probate records

Probate records are records disposing of a deceased individual's property and may include an individual's last will and testament if one was made. To find an individual's spouse's name in probate records, you must at least know the individual's full name at time of death, the approximate date of death, and the county or town in which the individual lived at the time of death. If you do not have the minimum information to locate a probate record, you can either:

* Get help finding some of the minimum information by selecting one of the following items,


Death date

Place of death

* click the Back button on your browser to return to the list of other places where you can find an individual's spouse's name, or

* read the paragraphs below for a few additional tips.

Finding probate records

Probate record indexes and abstracts have been created in many counties. These indexes can provide you with the information you need to access the record, even if you don't have the minimum information required to find the original records. Check with libraries and genealogy societies in the area -- they may know if any indexes exist for the records that you need.

If you are unable to locate probate records for the individual, try locating probate records for the individual's parents. Probate records sometimes list all the names of an individual's children, as well as the names of each child's spouse. Probate records for unmarried relatives such as aunts and uncles also may be helpful -- they often left things to their nieces and nephews.

Finding spouses' names

Also try looking at obituaries for the children and the spouse whose name you know, as well as gravestones and cemetery records. They are likely places to find information about an individual's spouse. For help locating cemeteries and cemetery records, see the topic Locating cemeteries and cemetery records.

Make sure to check photo albums, scrapbooks, diaries, and family Bibles at home. See the topic Finding information at home for more information. Also check for local histories. See the topic Finding previous research.

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