Difference between revisions of "Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records - FamilySearch Historical Records"

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(browse link; How to Use the Records; tip; citations)
(Changed date accessed to 2015)
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|CID=CID1879202
 
|CID=CID1879202
 
|title=Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921
 
|title=Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921
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== Record Content  ==
 
== Record Content  ==
  
<gallery caption="Vermont Probate Records" widths="160px" heights="120px" perrow="3">
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<gallery perrow="3" heights="120px" widths="160px" caption="Vermont Probate Records">
 
Image:Vermont Probate Records Page 1 DGS 4181395 57.jpg|Probate Record #1
 
Image:Vermont Probate Records Page 1 DGS 4181395 57.jpg|Probate Record #1
 
Image:Vermont Probate Records Page 2 DGS 4181395 58.jpg|Probate Record #2
 
Image:Vermont Probate Records Page 2 DGS 4181395 58.jpg|Probate Record #2
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*The name of the deceased
 
*The name of the deceased
  
=== Search the Collection ===
+
=== Search the Collection ===
  
 
To search the collection:<br>⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page <br>⇒ Select the "Record Type" <br>⇒ Select the "Year Range, Box, Bundle and File Number Range" which takes you to the images.  
 
To search the collection:<br>⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page <br>⇒ Select the "Record Type" <br>⇒ Select the "Year Range, Box, Bundle and File Number Range" which takes you to the images.  
  
 
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:  
 
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:  
*There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
+
 
*You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
+
*There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.  
 +
*You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.  
 
*Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
 
*Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
  
=== Using the Information ===
+
=== Using the Information ===
  
 
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. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:  
 
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. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:  
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*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 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 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.  
+
*Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment or military records.
  
 +
<br>
  
 +
*You may be able to use the probate record to learn about:
  
*You may be able to use the probate record to learn about:
 
 
:Adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.  
 
:Adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.  
:Land transactions.  
+
: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.  
 
*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.  
 
*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.
 
*When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  
{{Tip|Don't overlook {{FHL|Vermont, Windham|keywords|disp}} items in the FamilySearch Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article [[Vermont Archives and Libraries]]. For additional information about this county see the wiki article [[Windham County, Vermont Genealogy]].}}
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{{Tip|Don't overlook {{FHL|Vermont, Windham|keywords|disp}} items in the FamilySearch Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article [[Vermont Archives and Libraries]]. For additional information about this county see the wiki article [[Windham County, Vermont Genealogy]].}}  
  
 
== Related Websites  ==
 
== Related Websites  ==
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{{Contributor_invite}}  
 
{{Contributor_invite}}  
  
== Citations for This Collection ==
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== Citations for This Collection ==
  
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.
+
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.  
  
'''Collection Citation''':<br>
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'''Collection Citation''':<br> {{Collection citation | text= "Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921" Images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015. Citing Probate Court. Supreme Court of Vermont, Administrative Services, Montpelier.}}  
{{Collection citation | text= "Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921" Images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Probate Court. Supreme Court of Vermont, Administrative Services, Montpelier.}}  
 
  
'''Image citation''':<br>
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'''Image citation''':<br> {{Image Citation Link
{{Image Citation Link
 
 
|CID=CID1879202
 
|CID=CID1879202
 
|title=Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921
 
|title=Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921
 
}}
 
}}

Revision as of 16:25, 6 May 2015

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921 .
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Record Description[edit | edit source]

This Collection will include records from 1781 to 1921.

Towns Covered

The following towns are currently within the jurisdiction of Westminster Probate District: Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Jamaica, Londonderry, Putney, Rockingham (including Bellows Falls), Townshend, Westminster, and Windham.

Probate records were kept by the probate courts in probate districts. Probate records were court documents and may have included both loose papers and bound volumes. These records were generally known as an estate file, case file, or probate packet. The boxes are usually numbered and the estate documents filed alphabetically by the name of the deceased. These files normally included wills, letters of administration, settlement papers, guardianships, inventories, receipts, distributions, name changes, adoptions, and other records pertaining to estates. Some probate records were recorded in books that may have been labeled with such titles as accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, estates, guardianships, inventories, settlements, and so forth. Wills were normally transcribed into a bound volume.

Vermont was originally part of Massachusetts. In 1749, New Hampshire claimed a large portion of the area. In 1764, New York claimed jurisdiction over a large portion of the land held by New Hampshire. In 1777, Vermont became independent and was made a state in 1791. Probate records for those who died before 1777 may be in the records of the county and state who claimed the area before Vermont was formally created. Probate courts began recording probate records soon after the county was created. There are 14 counties but 18 probate districts. The four southern counties have 2 districts each. Probate records cover approximately 40 percent of adult males who left wills, but this may be less than 25 percent in some areas. Less than 10 percent of women had wills or estate inventories. Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas. A higher percentage of individuals died without a will, but they may have had their estates probated and distributed through the courts. Wills and other estate documents are found in the estate files. 

Probate records have been kept from the time the county was formed to 1921.


Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease.

The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceedings are reliable, but realize that there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members or those who had previously received an inheritance. In some cases, the spouse mentioned in the will was not the parent of the children mentioned. Also, some wills do not name family members.

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

Information in probate records includes:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Name of executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Dates the documents were written and recorded (These are used to approximate event dates, i.e. a will was usually written near the time of death.)
  • Description and value of personal property or land owned by the deceased

How to Use the Records[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The place of residence
  • The approximate death or probate date
  • The name of the deceased

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search the collection:
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "Record Type"
⇒ Select the "Year Range, Box, Bundle and File Number Range" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

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. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • 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.

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

Contributions to This Article[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.


Citations for This Collection[edit | edit source]

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.

Image citation:
This template has been deprecated and is no longer used.

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921.