When do Probate Records help with doing family history? I mean, the people are usually death by then anyway. Just wondering! And what can I learn from looking at tax records that is useful?
The probate itself may not be very helpful. But they will tell you who obtained probate which can be useful. Of course wills associated with probate are usually much more helpful often listing family members such as children (including daughters' married names), spouses of children, siblings etc. They also add colour to an ancestor rather than just a list of names, places and dates.
Tax records are less likely to be useful but may help in determining where an ancestor lived. I must admit that I have made very little use of these over the years.
Thank you for the explanations!
@Richard Lynn Walker 1
I have found the English probate records very useful in confirming the lineage of a particular person . You normally also get an exact death date & place and often the mention of other family members. I like them.
Thank you for the explanations! Makes me want to give the English probate records a closer look!
As you should notice, I have also made comments against the other recent post you made.
Specifically with regards to probate records, I would highly advise looking at any available wills. For my ancestors in Essex and Suffolk these have proved invaluable, especially those that pre-date the commencement of parish registers. They are written for the most part in English (not Latin) and can be surprisingly easy to read. Well, maybe not every word but (as Graham says) names of family members are given (and usually easy to read), so I have found I have reached back as far as the late fifteenth century in tracing one family branch - something that would have been impossible if just relying on parish register entries.
Many wills / administrations (the latter not quite so useful) are indexed and often, though not always, filmed. It depends where your relatives lived, of course, as some jurisdictions have much better material (including transcriptions) available than others.