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 date of death, spouses and children names, birth order, siblings and siblings spouses, parents 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:
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, that 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 below 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.
(Updated August 2020; recently added links are in BOLD)
- Barrington Town Records (incl Probate), 1718-1886
- Bristol Books of Wills and Inventories, 1746-1881
- Bristol Deeds, Wills, Inventories, Administrations, grand deeds, grand articles 1680-1808
- Bristol Inventories (1811-1885) and Administrators’ Accounts (1811-1877) –, 1811-1885
- Bristol Letters of Administration, 1815-1906
- Bristol Probate Bonds, 1817-1890
- Bristol Town Council Records, 1760-1877
- Central Falls Probate Dockets, 1890-1923
- Charlestown Probate and Town Council Records, 1738-1916
- Charlestown Probate Records, 1798-1878
- Charlestown Town Records, 1738-1889
- Cranston Town and Probate Records: 1754-1877
- Cumberland Probate Records, 1746-1916
- Cumberland Probate Records, 1874-1925
- Exeter Probate Records and Index: 1878-1915
- Jamestown Town Council and Probate Records, 1767-1915
- Johnston Probate Records, 1840-1898
- Kent County Probate Records 1913-1924
- Lincoln Probate Records, 1733-1917
- Lincoln Probate Records, 1895-1915
- Little Compton Probate Index (early to present)
- Little Compton Probate Records, 1876-1915
- Narragansett Probate Records (ca. 1800-1915) and Indexes (1884-1915)
- Newport Probate Index, ca. 1700-ca. 1989
- North Smithfield Probate Records (1870-1915) and Indexes (1871-1969), 1870-1969
- Pawtucket Probate Docket 1896-1926 and Probate Records 1877-1916
- Pawtucket Probate files, early to 1885
- Pawtucket Probate Records Index, 1700-1996
- Providence Commissioners’ Probate reports, 1820-1899
- Providence Estate papers, 1803-1899
- Providence Index to the Probate Records from 1646 to and including the year 1899
- Providence Letters of Administration and guardianship, 1804-1899
- Providence Probate Docket Books, 1909-1912
- Providence Probate Dockets of Estates, 1824-1921, Index, 1900-1925
- Providence Probate files (1646-1894) and Indexes (1646-1899)
- Providence Probate Inventories of Estates, 1819-1899
- Providence Probate proceedings, 1876-1920
- Providence Probate Records: Administration Accounts 1821 -1899
- Providence Probate Records: Bond Books 1873-1899
- Richmond Probate Records, 1747-1915; Probate Estate files Indexes, 1747-1977
- Scituate Probate Records, 1881-1919
- South Kingstown Wills abstracts, ca. 1704-1814]
- Tiverton Probate Records, 1747-1900
- Warren Town meeting Records 1746-1881
- West Greenwich Miscellaneous Wills (transcriptions)
- Westerly Probate files (early to 1885)
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
For other Free Rhode Island Links, click on the category of interest:
Probate and Wills