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 to.
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 by state are links to probate records, wills, and indexes available for free online.
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)
- Delaware Orphan Court Records, 1680-1978
- Delaware Public Archives, Probate Records Database, early to 1925
- Kent County Guardian Accounts
- Kent County Probate Case Files, 1935-1955
- Kent County Calendar of Probate Records, 1680-1800
- Kent County Miscellaneous Notes and Abstracts of Wills
- Kent County Registry of Wills, Letters of administration, marriages 1683- 1695
- Kent County Wills, 1680-1860; and Index to Wills, 1680-1948
- Kent County, Calendar of Wills Index (transcriptions)
- Kent County, Orphan's Court Extracts
- Kent County, Orphan's Court Records, ca. 1680-1978
- Kent County, Wills and Administrations Card File Index, ca. 1650-1850
- New Castle County Probate Records, ca. 1682-1925
- New Castle County A Calendar of Delaware Wills, 1682-1800
- New Castle County Miscellaneous Notes and Abstracts of Wills
- New Castle County Wills, 1682-1854; Index to Wills, 1682-1885
- New Castle County, Orphan's Court Extracts 1770-1830
- New Castle County, Probate Case Files, 1680-1956
- New Castle County, Wills and Administrations Card File Index, 1650-1925
- New Castle County, Wills Database Search
- New Castle County, Wills Filed Index
- Sussex County, Miscellaneous Wills and Probate Notices (transcriptions)
- Sussex County Guardian Accounts
- Sussex County Miscellaneous Notes and Abstracts of Wills
- Sussex County Orphan's Court Dockets and Minute Dockets, 1728-1802
- Sussex County Wills, 1682-1851; Index to Wills, 1684-1948
- Sussex County, Orphan's Court Extracts
- Sussex County, Probate Records : Estate Case Files, 1700-1956
- Sussex County, Probate Records, Card Index to Wills and Administrations
- Sussex County, Wills, 1851-1959
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!