Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Woo Hoo!!! Worcester County, Massachusetts Probate File Papers, 1731-1881, Now on

I opened my email today and read the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) weekly email, titled The Weekly Genealogist, and jumped for joy here in the genealogy cave (I almost knocked over a two foot tall pile of paper when I landed).

In the NEHGS Database News section, the newsletter said:

"Worcester County Probate File Papers, Cases 1-68,047 
This database was created from digital images and an index contributed to NEHGS by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. The collection contains the records of 68,047 Worcester County probate cases filed between 1731 and 1881. The probate cases include wills, guardianships, administrations, and various other types of probate records. The cases range in length from one to over 1,500 pages, with a total of over 987,000 individual file papers."
That was excellent news.  I couldn't resist, so I jumped in right away and searched for "seaver" in this database:

Note that I am searching only the "Worcester County, MA Probate File Papers, 1731-1881" database in the "Court, Land and Probate Records" category.

There were 156 matches:

I wanted to capture the record for Moses Sever's guardianship because it is a record of significant interest, so I searched for him, and found his file.  Here is the guardianship paper signed by 14 year-old Moses Sever, the son of Robert and Eunice (Rayment) Sever of Westminster, Mass., naming Edward Whipple as his guardian:

I can print the page, or download the page image to my computer files, using the buttons just above the image on the left side of the image. A user has to download the pages one image at a time.

The indexing is only for the subject of the probate file, not for the persons named in the file papers (e.g., heirs, family members, witnesses, executors, clerks, judges, etc.).

So now I have more probate files to capture for my many Worcester County ancestors and relatives.

With this addition of Worcester County probate records, now has probate file papers (the original probate record images, not the probate court volumes) for these counties:

*  Barnstable, MA: Probate Records, 1685-1789
*  Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881
*  Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871
*  Plymouth County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1686-1881
*  Worcester County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1731-1881

These are wonderful original source records that were previously available only at the county courthouses (with the exception of Middlesex County which were on FHL microfilm).

I hope that NEHGS is in the process of digitizing and indexing the Bristol County and Suffolk County probate records - I have many ancestors in those counties also.

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