From Whence that Probate Material Came?


I’m not certain what the “correct” way is to cite the new probate materials on, but I do know that I will be trying to obtain as much citation detail as I can for each item I locate on this site. It’s not overly difficult and it’s not impossible, but it does take some time. And it is important because I need to know where I got what I got. Just saying it came from the “probate database” on is not sufficient.

This item for Barbara Haabookforbarbaras in Hancock County, Illinois indicated that the page on the screen comes from “Vol O-Q.” That’s not just one volume and that’s a reference that’s likely used by because volumes O, P, and Q are all on the same roll of microfilm and it’s easier to simply call it one “volume” instead of sorting it out where one volume stops and another one starts. Remember that didn’t create most of these images from scratch themselves. They used microfilm from the Family History Library.

While might not be too concerned about precisedly which volume the item comes from, I am.

Moving backwards on the film, I eventually landed on the image for the actual cover of the book, which indicated it was volume P.

The spine also indicated that I was looking in the “Administrators & Executors Report.” Sometimes that information is not always clear from looking in the results from this database.

My citation needs to include that this page came from volume P of the Adminstrators & Executor’s Report from Hancock County, Illinois and that I obtained the digital image from 

Note: The “probate database” at can be searched on their site. Just make certain to include citation information.



2 thoughts on “From Whence that Probate Material Came?

  1. I searched for several ancestors in Ancestry’s wills and probate records yesterday. It didn’t take me long to realize that no only are these from FamilySearch but they are on the FamilySearch website. They are just not indexed yet. The question I ask myself is: should I use Ancestry’s index but return to FamilySearch, find the document, and use that as my source? Finding a will/probate file on Ancestry certainly makes it easier to find it on FamilySearch.

    I’m like you, I like to have as much detail as I can.

    • I’d cite whichever image I used in my actual research. How you got there really doesn’t matter as long as the volume, page, and other information is included in the citation. In my areas of interest, not all of the film is online, so I’ll have to cite unless I look at the actual film. There is no doubt that the indexes save time–but these indexes just scratch the surface of all the names that are in these records. The advantage of using now is that it simply saves time.

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