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The Value of Probate Research
Probate records can prove to be invaluable resources in tracing ancestry and if you are lucky they can even come with some extra perks.
Ok, so lets get right down to the perks, since it would only be cruel to leave you hanging for the whole article waiting to hear about them. Before I let you in on the secret I must warn you that these perks are few and far between to say the least.
In performing probate research you are sure to come across many different wills and estates that were passed on by your ancestors. Occasionally these wills and estates go unclaimed even with the passing of the years. If, through your genealogical research, you can prove that you are the closest living heir then you can become the legal heir to the aforementioned estate or willed property.
Of course the chances of coming across any of these unclaimed wills or estates is quite slim, but as you will find in the following examples your probate research will help you anyway. So you may as well search for these things at the same time.
Aside from the slim chances you have of stumbling across unclaimed wealth, probate records can prove to be highly valuable research tools. Probate records detail property and land transfers, guardianship, and family relationships. Many researchers have been able to find unknown relatives through these records. It is often through these records that a relative first appears in ones family history.
While you may have run across a name previously, they could have easily been passed over as a non-family member. It is only through the will of a Great-Great Grandfather to his Grandson or cousin that you learn of a long lost relationship that you had not found elsewhere.
The same can be said with the transfer of guardianship. A dying single or widowed parent with a young child or children may transfer the guardianship of said children through a will. Sometimes these children choose to take on the surname of their new guardian family which can fill in a hole in your family tree where a child disappeared after a certain age in your records.
All things considered Probate research can be highly productive in your continued genealogy research.
About the Author:
Kent Fairbourn is the Great Grandson of John A. Scorup (a member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame) and a Client Account Specialist for 10x Marketing, an Internet marketing company. Go now to Heirlines Family History and Genealogy for a Free Professional Genealogy Consultation.