Probate records and wills are available online from all over the U.S. and are what I consider another hidden gem of information that can assist you in advancing your family history and genealogy research.
What can you find in these records? How about the date of death, spouse’s and children’s names, birth order, sibling’s and siblings’ spouses, parent’s names, and residence locations for all named persons. Also, ownership of land and/or other significant property, business names and occupation, military service, guardianships, and adoptions. Basically, anything owned by the deceased is typically listed and to whom it is to be assigned.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on the probate process – all I know is that I have discovered an amazing amount of good information from probate records and wills as part of my personal genealogy research.
Here are a few good primers on the benefits of searching probate documents and wills:
- FamilySearch – United States Probate Records
- Wills and Probate Records are Genealogy Riches
- How to Use Wills and Estate Records to Learn About Your Ancestors
- Probate Records Could Be the Key to Unlocking Your Family’s Hidden Past
Most records are still in paper form or have been microfilmed. There is a very large amount online, however, and I am capturing those links to free collections and they are below. Some of the paid subscription sites such as Ancestry and MyHeritage have probate record collections also.
Below are links to probate records, wills, and index collections available for free online for states in the region.
(Updated June 2023)
- Free Illinois Probate Records and Wills
- Free Indiana Probate Records and Wills
- Free Iowa Probate Records and Wills
- Free Kansas Probate Records and Wills
- Free Michigan Probate Records and Wills
- Free Minnesota Probate Records and Wills
- Free Missouri Probate Records and Wills
- Free Nebraska Probate Records and Wills
- Free North Dakota Probate Records and Wills
- Free Ohio Probate Records and Wills
- Free Oklahoma Probate Records and Wills
- Free South Dakota Probate Records and Wills
- Free Wisconsin Probate Records and Wills
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!