Probate or Will Book
What is the Probate or Will Book Index?
Montgomery County’s early probate books include many records in addition to wills and administrations. Included in the first probate book are bills of sale, ferry bonds, bonds of county officials, sales regarding judgments, apprenticeships, emancipations, and bastardy bonds, to name only a few. This index is NOT an every name index at this time. This index is based on the main “cast of characters” in each document; it does not include the names of witnesses, purchasers at estate sales, debtors of estates, etc.
Generally speaking, probate records are those that have to do with the disposition of property after the owner’s death. “Testate” indicates that a person died leaving a will. Usually an executor or executrix was appointed in the will to settle estate. The will was admitted to probate upon proof of the witnesses, and entered in the Probate or Will Books. Many records were created as the estate was closed – various bonds, inventories and accounts of sales, and settlements.
A person who died “intestate” did not leave a will. If the deceased left real or personal property or had debts to be settled, the court appointed an administrator, usually a relative. Once again, various records were generated as the estate was closed.
The Probate or Will Books have been microfilmed and can be used at the Montgomery County Archives. Copies may be obtained from the Archives. Please read the Special Research section before requesting records.