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, siblings’ 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
Below, listed are links to probate records, wills, and indexes available for free online for the state.
Note: Please be aware that if you find a desired will or probate record in an index, the holder of the actual materials (e.g., (archive, county court, etc.) may charge a small fee to send you a copy of the material itself.
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
(Updated January 2024)
North Dakota Probate and Wills
- Burleigh County Records of Wills and Marriages from County Judge’s Office 1890-1900
- Cass County, Probate Records Index (1876-1949)
- Fort Berthold Agency, Agency Records, 1885-1951
- Fort Totten Agency, Agency Records, 1881-1941
- Standing Rock Agency Heirship Records, Early 1900s
- Turtle Mountain Agency, Agency Records, 1884-1952
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!