Vermont, Franklin County Probate Records, 1796-1921 is a free collection at FamilySearch with images of probate estate files from the Vermont Public Records Office in Middlesex, Vermont.
“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.”
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What Can I Learn from Probate Records?
These records may include:
- Name of testator or deceased
- Names of heirs such as a 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 (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