Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Locating Livingston County, Kentucky Estate Records

Ancestry.com has a category of digitized records called "Kentucky, Wills and Probate Records, 1774-1989."  On the surface it sounds wonderful, but be aware there may be limitations, especially if you are researching Livingston County records. The only Livingston County probate records on Ancestry.com are wills. Nothing else.

Many Livingston County people did not leave a will so you will need to search other places for probate information. Records regarding the probate of an estate include the following:
1.  Wills, including the executor's bond
2.  Appointment of the administrator (if there was no will) plus the administrator's bond
3.  Inventory, appraisal and sale bill of the decedent's estate
4.  Guardianship records if the decedent left minor children

In some counties, the inventories, appraisals and sale bills can be found in the will books. But not in Livingston County. The Livingston County researcher must search other places to obtain this information.  The county court order books (court minutes) will provide the name of the estate administrator or executor of the will as well as the appointment of the guardian of minor children.  The county court minutes will also tell when the estate was inventoried, appraised and settled. This information will appear in the county court minutes shortly after the person died.

There may or may not be separate books titled "Inventory, Appraisement and Sale Bills." In Livingston County the earliest such book dates from 1822. The first separate Administrators Bond Book dates from  1853. An Executors Bond Book contains bonds from 1853.  The first  Guardian Bond Book begins in 1851. Prior to these dates, the information appeared only in the county court minutes. 

The point I am trying to make is that probate records for Livingston County are not found in just one location. You will need to look several different places to get all of the information for persons who died in Livingston County.   It is recommended that you also check deeds to see if there was a division of land among the heirs after decedent's death. If there is any mention of a will being contested, you will want to check circuit court records at Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives in Frankfort for that record. 

Don't give up if you don't find the probate info in the will books. You just need to look in other places.

Published 3 April 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/ 

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