Wills, Estates, & Probate

See Materials Section for Three Handouts

In this lesson we talked about why probate packages should always be a part of your research process. Even if a person died without a will, you should always search for a probate packet because there might be the settlement of an estate for someone who died “intestate.” These records can be a wealth of information.

Note: In the Q&A section at the end of the video, please know that some students asking questions do not have their camera turned on, so you may see a blank screen although you can still hear their question.

Books Mentioned

Some may be affiliate links. Hover over titles and click to go to the book.

North Carolina Wills: A Testators Index 1665 – 1900

Black’s Law Dictionary 1891 Reprint

Ancestry’s Concise Genealogical Dictionary

Online “The Law Dictionary” (Free)

Some Terms Found in Probate Packages

Intestate – Died without a Will.

Testate – Died with a Will.

A Copy Teste” – A copy of an original document.

“Prest.” – “In old English law. A duty in money to be paid by the sheriff upon his account in the exchequer, or for money left or remaining in his hands.” 1

Dower Rights – Typically 1/3 of her husband’s estate when he died.

Decd – Deceased

Testis – Latin for Witnesses Reference Materials

Mansion House – Does not mean that they have a mansion in today’s terms, it means the main residence house. There may be other outbuildings.

Administrator – An appointed legal representative of an estate in charge of distribution of the property.

Administratrix – A female administrator.

Executor – A person named in a will and appointed by the probate court to settle an estate.

Executrix – A female executor.


1 – Oxford Languages via Google Search.