Many states within the U.S. have probate records that are digitized, free, and online at FamilySearch. You just need to know how to find them. Read along to follow these step-by-step directions to find probate records and more hidden in the recesses of FamilySearch.
I use FamilySearch.org to search courthouse record books. In most cases, I don’t have to visit the local courthouse or even order microfilm because the records have already been digitized and are sitting in FamilySearch. The bad thing is that they are not indexed, so you have to go through the “back door.”
Probate Records at FamilySearch
Step 1: Go to FamilySearch and sign in. If you don’t have an account, create yourself one for free.
Step 2: Next, click on “Search” at the top right. You will see a map of the world. Click on the desired location, in this case, the vicinity of the U.S.
Once you choose the U.S., a pop-up list will be available and allow you to choose the state you wish to search in. Let’s choose Ohio.
Step 3: Now you will see this screen. It indicates there are actually 58 collections for Ohio records. Click on “Show all 58.”
You will notice a section titled “Image Only Historical Records.” These collections have been digitized, but they are un-indexed. That means that when you do a search by name, location, or date, these records are not going to pop-up in your list of results. Instead, you have to use them like microfilm.
Back to our Ohio collections listed in the “Image Only Historical Records” section, you will see a collection titled “Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996.” Click that.
Step 4: It seems like you will have to browse through nearly 7 MILLION records, but don’t be alarmed!!
After you click “Browse through 6,997,828 images,” you will see a listing of all the counties in Ohio. Choose whichever you are interested in. Let’s choose Ross County.
Prepare to be AMAZED! Every record title you see below is like looking at that record book from the comfort of the couch! I have grabbed a screenshot of just a few of the records available. You will want to check it out for yourself to see what is offered for your targeted area.
Step 5: Choose the record book you would like to look at and start scrolling through the pages.
Remember, you can look at whatever country, state, and county you have a desire to visit and see what’s available in these un-indexed record holdings. Just follow the same instructions!
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