Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mining the Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Records on AmericanAncestors.org

During an extended period of non-sleep last night, I realized that I had not checked for all possible ancestors who died in Essex County, Massachusetts.  I recalled that I had done one group of ancestors (the Rayment-Norman-Flint-Maverick group), but had not done the other three groups of ancestors that died in Essex County, Massachusetts.

The Essex County, Massachusetts Probate File Papers, 1638-1881 are searchable and available in image format from the New England Historical and Genealogical Society website, www.AmericanAncestors.org, which is a membership/subscription site.  I have a paid annual subscription, and the website has a wealth of information on my ancestral families.

Here is how I "mine" these probate records, and save them to my computer file folders, and eventually attach them to persons in my genealogy database:

1)  On the AmericanAncestors.org website, I entered an ancestor's name in the name fields, and selected the Essex County Probate Papers in the Database field:

I clicked the search button, and saw that there were 4 results, including the Thomas Carter whose probate record is dated 1676:

Thomas Carter's 1676 probate record is Case No. 4796, and there are six images for his file papers.

2)  I clicked on the "View" link for the Thomas Carter record for 1676, and saw the top of the first image:

Further down the screen, below the image window, is an icon to Download/Save the Original image of the page shown.

After downloading the first image, I advanced to the "Next" page and downloaded the second image, etc., until I had downloaded all six images.

When these images downloaded, they had a file name of 4796-1 through 4796-6.

3)  Here are the files in my downloads folder at the top of the list:

My standard file naming convention for these records is

In this case, the file name of the first image is:


Here are the standardized file names in the Downloads file folder:

4)  The next step is to "Cut" the files for one person, and then "Paste" them to the file folder for the Person.

5)  Then I will transcribe the will, and summarize the other papers in the probate case file, and add that to the person Note for Thomas Carter in my RootsMagic database.  Finally, I will add a Probate event in RootsMagic and attach a Media item for the will, and perhaps other papers, to the person and tag the events with the Media items.

6)  I've downloaded ten probate files so far today, renamed them, and need to get to work summarizing and transcribing them.  Then I need to go through the other two segments of my ancestry that may have Essex County probate records.

7)  If you have early Essex County, Massachusetts ancestors, there may be probate file papers for your ancestors in this record collection on www.AmericanAncestors.org.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/09/mining-essex-county-massachusetts.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Barbara Lawson said...

Randy: Essex County, Massachusetts Probate files on NEGHS are one of my favorite resources too. And happy news for your readers with Massachusetts ancestors: The Middlesex County probate files are online with NEGHS subscription as well!! Double yippee!