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Maine, Knox County, Probate Estate Files - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Maine, Knox County, Probate Estate Files, 1861-1915
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Knox, Maine, 
United States
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Location of Knox County, Maine
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Location of Maine
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1861-1915
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Probate Record Office, Rockland, Maine


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of estate files located in the Knox County Probate Record Office in Rockland, Maine for the years 1861-1915. They are organized by case file numbers and years. This collection is being published as images become available.

General Information About These Records

Probate records were court documents and may have involved loose papers and/or bound volumes. These records were generally known as an estate file or probate packet. These files included all documents related to estate settlement, including settlement papers, inventories, receipts, wills, and other records pertaining to the estates, including accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, bonds, petitions, guardianships, inventories and settlements.

Wills, estates and other probate matters are under the jurisdiction of the County Register of Probate in each county. The Probate Court has had several names over the years; the Widows and Orphans Court, the Poor Court, and the Court of Protection. The Probate Court handles the following types of procedures:

  • Adoptions
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships
  • Change of Names
  • Estates
  • Trusts

Probate records are used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transfers the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs from the deceased to an executor or executrix if the deceased had made a will, to an administrator or administratrix if the deceased had not made a will, or to a guardian or conservator if the deceased had heirs under the age of twenty-one or if heirs were incompetent due to disease or disability.

The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceeding are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance, or the spouse mentioned may not be the parent of the children mentioned.


Image Visibility

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Maine, Knox County, Probate Estate Files, 1861-1915.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians and other court documents.

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Lists of belongings, property, and so forth
  • Document and recording dates (Sometimes the date of death will be given. Recording dates are also used to approximate event dates, i.e. a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.)

Collection Content

Sample Image

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the deceased
  • Identifying information such as the place of residence or the approximate death or probate date

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select County
  2. Select Case File Number and Year Range to view the images


How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives
  • Use the document (such as the will) or the recording dates to approximate a death date
  • Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records since the probates exist for an earlier time period
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records
  • Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment or military records
  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about
    • Adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents
    • Land transactions
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Maine.

Related Family History Library Holdings

Related FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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