Friday, May 1, 2015

More on New Jersey Probate Records from my Readers

I had several excellent comments from readers on my Down the Rabbit Hole Again -- Finding New Jersey Ancestors Probate Abstracts post yesterday, including:

1)  Sharon wrote:  "Randy: Thought you'd like to know the following about that NJ Archives probate abstract series: There is an index in the back of each volume listing ALL the people named in each probate file -- EXCEPT for the deceased person himself, who is not indexed. (There is a separate index in the back for places named in each estate.) 

"The names in the book index (wives, children, etc.) are NOT included in Ancestry's online index. 

"So, browse to the back of the volume to find wives, sons, daughters, executors, etc. Note the pages listed and browse to those pages. But use the Ancestry index to find the deceased person. 

"Also the file number at the end of each abstract, such as 12290 C, can be used to obtain the original will (with testator's signature) from the NJ Archives by mail or in person. For some counties, wills have been listed this way on FamilySearch.

"Ancestry also has the three-volume index for wills up to 1900. The counties are listed alphabetically, so volume 1 contains Atlantic to Essex, etc. This index is helpful if you want to try to navigate the original documents on FamilySearch. At least you know that there IS a file before you spent hours looking for it.

"Ah, the joys of New Jersey research."

My comment:  Thank you, Sharon, for the enlightenment.  I need to look into the "by mail" option for the colonial wills.

2)  Geolover noted:  "It would be useful to add the County identification to's defective citation :-)"

My comment:  That probably would require them to look at each abstract on the list.  The Ancestry database is one big collection not broken up by counties, but that's the way the calendar of wills volumes are.  Or did you mean in my source citation?

3)  Justin York suggested:  "Have you looked at the New Jersey Probate image-only collection at FamilySearch?"

My comment:  I have, and I did before I wrote the earlier post.  Unfortunately, most of the counties on the FamilySearch collection start their estate files in 1804, at least Middlesex, Hunterdon and Sussex do (my three main New Jersey counties).   I just noted that Morris County was not on the list!

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