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Looking beyond the Probate Record Books on microfilm for answers.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question:  I was able to find the probate file of an ancestor on microfilm while at the Massachusetts State Archives.  I would like to see the probate file itself, not just the record book copy from microfilm.  Do you think I have any valid argument to request a copy of the original?


Answer:  First off I always prefer to see the original handwritten will, and the actual signature of the person for whom it is for.   Another argument I make is the following.  If I wrote a will in 1769 but did not die until 1785, the children I listed may now be married.  So in the original probate file you may find receipts where my female children are signing off on their share of the estate with their married names.  I often will find that these important receipts were never copied into the record books.

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