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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Get Cracking and Find those Probate Records!

Kevin wrote to ask
My great-grandfather died a loner, in a nursing home, with no apparent heirs (long story). Are probate records worth pursuing in this case? Generally, are there cases where pursuing probate records is a waste of time?
OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Dear Kevin,

Personally I have never left a known record unchecked. I advise researchers to not leave any stone unturned, no matter how remote the chance of learning something new.

You never know what you might find! Even if 99.9% of the type of record you seek have nothing new, it is not a waste of time to have a look. You never know what might be in that one record you are after.

For example, the Ontario Land Board records almost always have nothing of note other than a simple one line entry with date of purchase and name of purchaser. So nothing new is added to what the researcher already knows.

Because I search every record, I learned quite a bit from the Ontario Land Board records. Because my ancestor had much more than that typical one line entry. Beside his name and date of purchase was a lengthy comment which named his father and his brothers and gave more detail on their property holdings.

If I'd shrugged my shoulders and said "oh waste of time to check" I'd never have found that information


So my advice - get cracking and find those probate records!

1 comment:

  1. Lorine,

    Love that probates have gained a mention here - I think they are a great resource.
    In Australia you have to find them via each state and some states contain more info than others. For example, in South Australia I've ordered probates that only had the will and the date probate was granted. In New South Wales however I received a probate packet that was over 45 pages long and included the will (providing the names of siblings we didn't know existed), circumstances of death, residence, and a complete listing of belongings (confirming that a silver pocket watch we have was a great-great-grandfather's) and his entire financial holdings.

    Love the blog! :)

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