Summary of Records
Records Summary Information
|Names of Records with Description||Information in Record|
|Annual Returns Books|
Each Annual Returns Book contains an index by name of the deceased or ward. The representative of the estate is required to report to the court annually all receipts and disbursements on the estate. This report is called the annual return. The last one is called the final return, and those are also included in the Annual Returns Book.
|Bench Docket Books|
This book contains an index by last name of the decedent, ward, or other subject of the proceeding, with reference to docket page number. The bench docket book contains a record of the petitions filed. As of February 15, 2000, these books are no longer used and the information is accessed by computer.
This book contains an index by last name of decedent or ward, and a copy of the bond. The bond is a financial guarantee that the administrator, executor, or guardian will perform the duties required by law. An administrator is appointed by the court when there is no will. An administrator is always required to post a bond unless the heirs unanimously agree to allow the court to waive this requirement. Executors are rarely required to post bond.
|Estate and Guardianship Records|
The estate records are the unbound documents filed with the Probate Court. These papers were filed by administrators and executors to document the settling of the estates of deceased persons, by relatives or friends of incapacitated adults seeking guardianship, by heirs or beneficiaries seeking accounting, or by other persons seeking miscellaneous types of relief available in probate court. The papers are arranged in alphabetical order by surname in file folders.
|The most commonly found documents are petitions to probate wills or to be appointed administrator of intestate estates, administrator's bonds, inventories and appraisements of estates, and sale bills. Also included in some cases are:|
|Inventory and Appraisement Books|
This book contains an index by name of deceased. In some cases, the judge requires that an inventory be compiled of the assets of the deceased with an estimate of the value of those assets. Three people who have no interest in the estate are chosen to appraise the assets.
|Letters of Administration Books|
This book contains an index by decedent's last name and the letters of administration. The court grants the administrator the authority to act on behalf of the estate in the letters of administration. An administrator (also called administratrix if a woman) is appointed by the court when there is no will. If there is a will, the legal representative is called an executor (also called executrix if a woman) rather than administrator and the authority to act on behalf of the estate is granted by the court in the letters testamentary. As of 1998, these letters are filed in the minutes book.
|Letters of Guardianship Books|
The book contains an index by ward's name and a copy of the letters of guardianship. As of 1998, these letters are filed in the minutes book.
|Letters Testamentary Books|
This book contains an index by decedent's last name and the letters testamentary. The court grants the executor the authority to act on behalf of the estate in the letters testamentary. If there is a will, the legal representative is called an executor. An administrator is appointed by the court when there is no will and the authority to act of behalf of the estate is granted by the court in the letters of administration. As of 1998, these letters are filed in the minutes book.
|Lunacy Record Books|
This book contains an index by alleged mentally ill person's name and the petition for commission of lunacy or application.
The box contains marriage licenses and may contain consent to marriage forms and marriage applications.
|Marriage Record Books|
This book is indexed by groom's last name. Bride's name is noted next to groom's name. A page number refers to the page with the marriage license.
This book contains an index by name of deceased or person for whom guardianship or other relief is requested. A copy of all the petitions, notices, responses, and the final order in a particular case are included in the minutes book.
|Minutes County Purposes Books|
Before authority over county administrative affairs was transferred to the county commissioner, the judge of the probate courts had jurisdiction over many matters pertaining to county affairs including, but not limited to property, tax, roads, bridges, ferries, militia districts, vacancies in county offices, claims against the county, and collection and disbursement of money belonging to the county. The book contains an index by person's name and a record of the county business administered.
|The information varies according to the type of county business, but includes the following:|
These are multiple records relating to county purposes such as records of county poor, estray records, election records, roads and bridges, retailers bonds, miscellaneous bonds, miscellaneous county expenses, free persons of color, real property, slave mortgages, indentures, bastardly records, insolvency petitions and lists, military records, court records, lunacy hearings, and vital records.
|The information varies according to the type of record.|
|Oaths and Bonds Books|
Oaths and bonds of county officers are currently recorded in this book. Other matters which the Probate Court currently handles but are county business, such as vacancies in county offices, would most likely be filed in the Minutes County Purposes books now maintained by the Clerk of Superior Court, but there may be a few miscellaneous items which are filed in the Oaths and Bonds book. Oaths and bonds may also be filed as loose papers in boxes.
|Tax Digest Books|
These books are alphabetical by militia district. These books are in extremely fragile condition, many times with covers missing, leaving the records undated.
|Data is organized by militia district and includes:|
|Will Record Books|
This book contains an index by decedent's last name and a copy of the will. The will copies are filed at the time the will is probated. The dates listed refer to the probated date where available. Where not available, the date is the date that the will was made, which may be significantly earlier than the probated date.
|The format and content of each will may vary, but the following information is generally included:|
|Year's Support Books|
These books are indexed by name of deceased. A granting of year's support (also known as 12 months' support) conveys the title of the real property of the deceased to the petitioner (usually the spouse) and minor children of the deceased. In some cases permission must be granted by the court in order to later sell or incumber the property. Since 1980 the year's support petitioners are filed in the minutes books.