Friday, September 18, 2015

The Finds You Can Find Probate Gold

The Finds You Can Find Probate Gold

My previous post mentioned the roll-out of Ancestry's Probate and Wills collection. The availability of the collection was right before Labor Day. Perfect, a nice, long weekend to dive in, explore and find that genealogy gold. 

The Finds You Can Find Probate Gold

Over the Labor Day weekend, the collection was free to access for anyone. Those who hold an Ancestry subscription (that's golden just by itself) have been able to continue to search, review and share our findings, with much excitement.

As a sign of my disapproval of her course of life

The interesting little tid-bit I found right off the bat was that my 3rd Great Grandfather, Joseph Lucking, had an issue with his daughter Marie and how she had chosen to live her life. How great is that? Yes, it's sad that they obviously had issues, but without Joseph stating such in his will I would never have known that I needed to take a closer look at wayard Marie. What makes a daughter "wayward" in the late 1800's? Not sure, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

As soon as the records became available, my approach to searching the record set was all-in with both feet. And, that is ok, I mean, look what I found! I also found a 127 page probate file for my husbands 3rd Great Grandfather, Thomas Greenstreet. That probate packet is going to take some time to download and review, one page at a time. But it's all good. Without making this collection available who knows how many years it would be before I had access to this information.

Now that the initial excitement of the collection has receded, it is time to settle down and perform more focused research within the wills and probates. To me, new record collections are no different than getting a new phone. You start playing with all the bells and whistles to begin with, then get serious and start reviewing the manual.

The Probate and Wills collection is popular among genealogists

  • Crista Cowan, with, has created a video overview of the collection and demonstrates how best to search for maxium results. The video is titled Getting Started With Probate Records and you can watch it here.
  • Randy Seaver of Geneamusings has been blogging about the probate gold he has been finding. You can read about one winning search here.  
  • This blog post is not directly related to the Ancestry probate and wills collection. However, it is a very valuable read covering how you should approach researching in a new database. Amy Johnson Crow gives some great tips (all-in, with both feet doesn't seem to be one of them).

Now, it's time to get back to mining for more geneagold.

1. Probate Records; Author: New Jersey. Surrogate's Court (Essex County); Probate Place: Essex, New Jersey, New Jersey, Wills and Probate Records, 1656-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: New Jersey County, District and Probate Courts.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Watch Look Listen - In the Spotlight for September

Helping you break through the noise

To help you break through the noise of the large selection of audio and video content available, I'm spotlighting podcasts and video content that has a high educational and/or entertainment value.

Watch Look Listen - In the Spotlight for September

In the spotlight audio content:

Two episodes from The Genealogy Professional Podcast with Marian Pierre Louis.
Episode 05 - Cinnamon Collins - Tennessee Genealogist
Episode 23 - Kathleen Brandt - Military Research

 In the spotlight video content:

Wacky Wednesday - DearMyrtle HOA with Cyndi Ingle

See my previous post in this series here. Follow my Pinterest board For Podcast Junkies Like Me for more podcasting goodness.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Free Genealogy Records From Ancestry and NEHGS

Free Records Access For Labor Day Weekend 2015
What does a genealogist love more than a three day weekend to devote to research?

Free records to access!!

Both and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) have announced free records access for the 2015 Labor Day Weekend. launched their Wills and Probate collection, offering access to that collection as well as their birth, marriage and death records free of charge through Monday September 7th. You will need to set up a free account to access the records. Just think, in exchange for your email address you will have free access to these amazing collections.

NEHGS is getting in on the Labor Day weekend action as well. With access to their census, tax and voter lists you may crush that brick wall you are facing with your New England ancestors. Your free access to this collection is available until September 9th. Again, you will need to set up a user account but after that you will be off to the races.

I am looking forward to searching both collections. I wish you success in your Labor Day research endeavors. Let me know what you find.