Saturday, March 19, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What Is Your Favorite Record Type?

  It's Saturday Night - 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1) What is your favorite record type or resource?  Not a website, but a type of record - e.g., census, cemetery, land, etc.  Why?

2) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook post. Be sure to leave a link with your answers in a comment.

Here's mine:

My favorite record type is definitely probate records.  They are usually original sources, with primary information about names, relationships, dates, places, and property descriptions.  They are used to distribute real and personal property according to prevailing law.  There are often two types of probate records available in a locality - the original estate file full of all papers for the estate case, and a probate court clerk's  copy of the major papers into the official court record books.  Probate records often include information about guardianships.  In many cases, the names of the heirs and location of heirs are listed which helps identify the married names of daughters and where heirs resided.  

There are usually indexes available for the subject person, often in book form, on microfilm, or as a database collection.  FamilySearch had indexes and records on microfilm for many localities until recently and now they are all on digital microfilm, which usually has to be browsed. has indexed U.S. state and U.K. county probate records, but the indexes are imperfect and incomplete.  Probate records can also be found in U.S. County court records for years not covered by online collections, but are much more difficult to obtain at a local repository.  

I can't count the number of times I've been surprised by relationships found in the probate records.  My latest example is in Amanuensis Monday - 1805 Probate Records of Peter Johonnot Seaver (1770-1804) in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.  In this case, a spouse and daughter were identified for a man who was not known to have them.


Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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David Fernley said...

My favourite record type is the census. The UK census records have solved a few problems for me over the years, and they have so much information.

Seeds to Tree said...

My favorite record type is newspapers. In the old days, a researcher could only find information if the date was known. So basically births, marriages, deaths. But with OCR, just type in the names (or addresses) and find arrests, fires, and solve relationships (Jane Doe visited her uncle Joe Smith), missing and found people (happened more often than you think).
Finding stories between the dashes - so much fun.

Diane Gould Hall said...

My favorite record is also probates. I’ve found so many relationships, including the confirmation I needed to join the Mayflower Society.

ByAPearl said...


Liz said...

Here's mine:

My favorite is also obituaries.

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Here is mine: City Directories (although newspapers are right up there at a close second)

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here's mine: Answer is "it depends."