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Saturday, April 13, 2013

What Genealogists Need to Know about Surrogate Courts

The Surrogate Court handles all matters of the decedent, the probation of wills and administering of estates. In other words, it is a probate court by another name. However, what I wish to discuss today is the mention of surrogate courts or other probate courts outside of the county or State where the person died.  Frequently, after a will is filed in the county where he died, after that probate is listed, comes a mention of the same probate in a surrogate court from another area. The reason for this is the fact that the decedent also had an estate in that court and/or heirs.  This is a tremendous assist to genealogists. So many records get lost, not mention the court house fires. The mere mention of a surrogate court should send the genealogist after those records not only because of additional information, but for establishing heirs who had removed out of the State. Here is an example of Abraham Hightower of Stockholm, England, dying in 1824, but also leaving an estate in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Boy oh boy! This information reveals his origin and I would expect to local all of the estate proceedings in county Cornwall.

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