Monday, June 2, 2014

Finding Able/Auble Probate Records in Sussex County, New Jersey

FamilySearch has a record collection of "New Jersey Probate Records, 1678-1980" (see

I wanted to look for probate records for my two John Able persons - one died in 1818 and the other in 1831 - who resided in Sussex County.

1)  On the screen above, I clicked on the link to "Browse through 1,913,824 images" and then xchose "Sussex" from the list of counties (screen not shown).

The list of Sussex County records in the digitized record collection was shown:

2)  First, I need to find an index to the available records, so I clicked on the "Estate Index, 1804-1974, A-H" link and the first screen for that record book appeared - it showed the FHL microfilm number 960,511).  The Estate Index system seems to follow the l-m-n-r-t indexing system.  I found several Able entries on image 36 of 642:

There are two John Able entries on that list - one is for John Able of Byram township in Volume 1, page 1, number 5 with Catherine Able and Josiah Munson administrators; the other is for John Able of Byram township in Volume 1, page 1, number 4 with John LePort as administrator.

3)  I figured out that those volumes were in the "Proceedings Index, 1804-1873, Vol. 1-3" book, so I clicked on that link in the list of Sussex County probate books, and it opened to show it was from FHL Microfilm 960,514 on the first image.  I found the two records I wanted on image 6 of 671:

I reviewed the information for items number 4 and 5 on the page above.  For instance, for item 4 for John Able of Byram township, administered by John LePort, there are probate records for:

*  Letter of Adm[inistration] -- in Docket LA, Vol. A, page 227-1/2, dated Mar 17, 1831
*  Inventory in -- Docket In, Vol. F, page 16, dated Mar 17 1831
*  Order to give Notice -- in Docket Mn, Vol. B, page 385, dated May 1831
*  Allowing Acc[oun]t -- in Docket Mn, Vol. B, page 476, dated Aug 1833.

Unfortunately, there are no digitized (or microfilmed by the FHL) Letter of administration or Minutes available at this time.  I need to add those to my "To-Do list" for visiting New Jersey, if I can figure out where the records might be.

4)  There are docket books for Inventories, so I found the two inventories in the record books.  Here is the page image (number 591 of 840) from the book for "Inventories, 1819-1840, Vol. D-F" for John Able whose estate was probated in 1831:

I can now transcribe this document, and source it in my genealogical program.

5)  While this process of finding digitized microfilm records of a specific person in a specific county and state seems complicated, it is much easier than doing it with real microfilms at the Family History Library or borrowing the microfilms at a local FamilySearch Library. 

To find the Inventory page above at a local FamilySearch Library, I would have to order three different microfilms one at a time, and ordering the next one after reviewing the one before; it might have taken 6 to 8 weeks in span time.  It would have taken about 2 hours at the Family History Library to obtain the image above.  It took me about one hour to find the page image above.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Sharon said...


The Letters of Administration and Minutes should be at the Sussex County Surrogate's Office in Newton. The last time I was there, I found a "secret stash" of original papers for the estate. They were located in the small metal file drawers located high on the wall of the Surrogates Record Room. There may be ladder-climbing involved, but if you've got a real problem in your research, it might be worth it.

Shelley Bishop said...

Thanks for this post, Randy. I have two ancestral families from Sussex County, and this was very helpful. I agree that browsing through the images is usually faster than looking at the microfilm rolls in person, and certainly much faster than ordering them one at a time!