Källinformation

Ancestry.com. Pierce County, Washington, USA, testamenten, 1854-1950 [webbaserad databas]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2023.
Originaldata: Pierce County, Washington Court, Will Journals, 1854-1950. Pierce County Washington: Washington Court, Pierce County.

 Pierce County, Washington, USA, testamenten, 1854-1950

Den här samlingen innehåller testamenten upprättade mellan 1854 och 1950 i Pierce County, Washington. Alla uppgifter är på engelska. De flesta testamentena är skrivna för hand, men senare testamenten och avskrifter är maskinskrivna. Testamenten och bouppteckningar är utmärkta släktforskningsresurser eftersom de innehåller personlig information om personernas liv och släkt.

About the Pierce County Will Journals, 1854-1950

General collection information

This collection contains wills created between 1854 and 1950 in Pierce County, Washington. All records are in English. Most older wills were handwritten; however, newer and transcribed wills are often typed. Wills and probate records are an excellent resource for genealogical research because they contain personal information about your ancestor's life and family.

Using this collection

Records in the collection may include the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Residence
  • Names of family members
  • Date and place of will
  • Date and place of death
  • Date and place of probate
  • Case number
  • Volume number
  • Names of witnesses
  • List of assets
  • Keep in mind that these records may not contain your ancestor's exact date of death. A will may be written years in advance as a contingency plan. If the record lists a probate date, it may help you estimate the date of death. Most probate cases are resolved within a year of death, but the probate process may take years if the case is contested.

    Although most of the wills in this collection were filed in Pierce County, it's possible the testator may have lived somewhere else. This is especially true if your family member was a member of the military or other occupation which required travel. If you can't find a record, you may consider searching other places your ancestor may have lived or nearby counties.

    Probate laws have evolved over time, especially in regard to who could own property. As such, women are more prevalent in newer probate records.

    Although it wasn't prevalent, there are documented cases of slavery in Washington state. If you're looking for family members who were enslaved, you may wish to consider searching this collection. A great place to start is by researching the names of enslavers near places your family members may have lived. Often, the wills of enslavers include an inventory list containing the name, race, and age of those enslaved.

    Collection in context

    Washington Territory split from Oregon Territory in 1853 and officially gained statehood in 1889. Predating statehood, wills are some of the oldest records available for Washington state. A will is a legal document in which a person outlines how they’d like their estate taken care of upon their death. Wills detail the legal distribution of property belonging to deceased individuals, but they may also include other wishes of the deceased, such as instructions for paying debts or assigning guardianship for minor children.

    In 1891, the state superior court system began overseeing the proving of wills in Washington. Prior wills were overseen by independent probate courts. When the probate process transferred to the state level, unproven wills written before 1891 were given to the county courts.

    Bibliography

    Ancestry.com. "5 Things You Should Know to Get the Most from the Probate Collection on Ancestry." Accessed January 3, 2023. https://www.ancestrycdn.com/support/us/2016/11/5thingsprobatecollection.pdf.

    Dohistory.org. "How to Read Probate Records." Last modified October 2020. http://dohistory.org/on_your_own/toolkit/probateRecords.html.

    Radford, Dwight. "Washington Probate Records." Last Modified November 19, 2012. https://wiki.rootsweb.com/wiki/index.php/Washington_Probate_Records.

    Rochester, Junius, "Washington Territory and Washington State, Founding Of. Last Modified February 26, 2004. https://www.historylink.org/File/5661.