I went through my RootsMagic database to find ancestors who died in New York, and searched for them in the New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 database. I didn't find many, and I almost missed Caleb Beck's entry, but managed to find it.
I kbnew that Caleb Beck died in about 1733 in Schenectady, Albany County (at that time), New York. I did an "exact search" for the name "caleb" and "beck" and received 15 matches, but none were for a probate in about 1735. I made the names "not exact" and chose 1735 for the probate date, plus or minus 5 years. There were no matches.
I decided to make the names and probate date "not exact." Here is the search screen for this database with Caleb Beck's name entered (not exact) and a probate year of 1735 (not exact):
There were 318 matches, including 11 persons named "Caleb Beck" and two named "Caleb Beek:"
After checking all of the Caleb Becks and not finding the one for about 1735, I checked the two "Caleb Beek" entries. One was for an index, which said there was a will on Volume 12, page 84 of New York,County, Wills, Volume 12, page 84.
The second "Caleb Beek" match is below:
Here is the entry when I click on the "View" link (image 109 of 813):
It was for the index for Volume 12 - it says the will is on page 84. So I guessed, calculated and guessed again and quickly found the record on page 84 (image 156 of 813):
The will for my 7th great-grandfather, Caleb "Beek" (1675-1733) starts at the bottom of page 84, continues on page 85, and the letter testamentary is on page 86.
How do I know this is the right Caleb Beck? It is for Caleb Beek of Schenectady in the County of Albany, written on 8 March 1728. It names his wife Anna and daughter Engeltie but no other children. Those names are correct as far as the family goes. The will was proved on 3 October 1733 in New York County by the Captain General and Governour-in-Chief of the provinces of New York, New Jersey and Territories, William Cosby.
I will transcribe this will eventually in my Amanuensis Monday series.
Again, the Ancestry.com index did notl ink to the actual document - itl inked to an index for the record volume with the document, and I had to browse the record volume in order to find the document.
The search using an exact name of "Caleb Beck" did not work because the name was spelled "Beek." A date range search with the approximate record date did not work because the date was not indexed by Ancestry.com. This particular record was filed in New York County, not Albany County. I would not have thought about looking there without an index. The searcher has to expand the search sometimes in order to find the record of interest - as we've seen before, Ancestry indexes are not perfect.
Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver