Massachusetts Probate Records.
Index Guides and Online Databases.

 
  • This is a directory to published Massachusetts probate indexes prior to @1920, both online and in printed book material.

  • A limited number of early 18th and 19th century online probate indexes are available from Ancestry.com. However, it is only an index to docket file numbers, not the actual files. 
     

  • You can order a copy of almost any** probate file from Bristol, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk (Boston) counties, directly from this web site.

  • In addition, you can order a copy of a probate file from any of the online indexes (listed at the bottom of this page) with the exception of Worcester, or Essex county, or for one of the statewide name change documents.

  • If you just need to find a court location, follow this link to find a list of Massachusetts probate courts.

  • To find information on how to locate and research a Massachusetts probate record and to get a basic understanding as to their value in Massachusetts genealogy research, read about probate research.

  • Probate records include, but are not limited to, wills, estate administrations, legal change of names, divorce records, guardianships or conservatorships and to unsealed adoption records**.


  • Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q. Can I get a copy of my adoption papers?

    Adoption records in Massachusetts are sealed, "closed". For more information read General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 210: Adoption of Children and Change of Name. 

 


The following publications can be found at the Boston Public Library and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) library in Boston. The Massachusetts Archives has a published index for Suffolk County through 1894, for Essex County through 1840 and for Middlesex County through 1871.

To date, indexes have been published and/or abstracted for Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties.

Probate indexes are also available at each specific county courthouse for that particular county. 

There is currently no statewide probate index.


Published Books (By County)


Bristol County

Rounds, H. L. Peters, "Abstracts of Bristol Co., MA Probate Records 1687-1745" Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD: 1987 2 Vol.'s

 

Essex County

Essex Institute, "Probate Records of Essex Co., MA - [Abstracted 1635 -1681] Essex Institute, Salem, MA: 1921 3 Vol.'s

Sanborn, Melinde Lutz, "Essex Co. MA Probate Index 1638-1840" Self-published, Boston, MA: 1987 2 Vol.'s


Middlesex County


Folson, Samuel H. & Rogers, William E. "Index to the Probate Records of the Co. of Middlesex, MA 1648-1871" Cambridge, MA: 1914 (Reprint by  NEHGS)

Folson, Samuel H. & Rogers, William E. "Index to the Probate Records of the Co. of Middlesex, MA 1870-1910" Cambridge, MA: 1912 (Reprint by  NEHGS)

 

Norfolk County

Transcript Press, "Probate Index Norfolk Co., MA 1793-1910"
Transcript Press, Dedham, MA: 1910 2 Vol.'s

 

Plymouth County

Wood, Ralph, "Plymouth Co. MA Probate Index 1686-1881"
Picton Press, Camden, ME: 1988

 

Suffolk County

McGhan, Judith, "Abstracts of the Earliest Wills Upon Record in the County of Suffolk, MA [1639-1670]" Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD: 1984

George, Elijah, "Index Probate Records, Suffolk Co., MA 1636-1893" Boston, MA: 1895  3 Vol.'s (Reprint by NEHGS)

Dolan, Arthur W., "Index Probate Records, Suffolk Co., MA 1894-1909" Boston, MA: 1911  (Reprint by NEHGS)

Sullivan, Arthur W., "Index Probate Records, Suffolk Co., MA 1910-1922" Boston, MA: 1927  2 Vol.'s (Reprint by NEHGS)

Sullivan, Arthur W., "Index Probate Records, Suffolk Co., MA 1923-1935, Boston, MA: 1941  3 Vol.'s (Reprint by NEHGS)

Sullivan, Arthur W., "Index Probate Records, Suffolk Co., MA 1936-1947" Boston, MA: 1951  3 Vol.'s (Reprint by NEHGS)

Musco, Louis F., "Index Probate Records, Suffolk Co., MA 1948-1958", Boston, MA: 1961  2 Vol.'s (Reprint by NEHGS)

 

Worcester County

Harlow, George A., "Index Probate Records, Worcester Co., MA July 12, 1731- July 1, 1881", Boston, MA: 1898  2 Vol.'s 

Harlow, George A., "Index Probate Records, Worcester Co., MA July 1, 1881- July 1, 1897", Boston, MA: 1898  

Harlow, George A., "Index Probate Records, Worcester Co., MA July 1, 1897- Jan. 1, 1901", Boston, MA: 1901  

Harlow, George A., "Index Probate Records, Worcester Co., MA Jan.1, 1901- Jan. 1, 1904", Boston, MA: 1904  

Mawbey, John W., "Index Probate Records, Worcester Co., MA July 1, 1897- June 1, 1910" Commonwealth Press, Worcester, MA: 1910

Atwood, Harry H., "Index Probate Records, Worcester Co., MA Jan. 1, 1910- Jan. 1, 1920", Commonwealth Press, Worcester, MA: 1920


Online Indexes (Listed By County)

(Please Note: The following online indexes are available from Ancestry.com. You need a paid subscription to access these indexes - or you at least need to be at a library that has paid access.)


Essex County

Sanborn, Melinde Lutz, "Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1638 - 1840. Salem, MA" Access requires a paid subscription.

Middlesex County

Flint, James, comp., "Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Probate Index, 1648 -1870. Cambridge, MA" Access requires a paid subscription.

Flint, James, comp., "Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Probate Index, 1871 - 1909 (Surnames A - K). Cambridge, MA" Access requires a paid subscription.

 

Norfolk County

Flint, James, comp., "Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Probate Index, 1793 -1900. Probate Index, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Vol 2, L - Z. Access requires a paid subscription.

 

Worcester County

Flint, James, comp., "Worcester County, Massachusetts, Probate Index, 1731 - 1881 (Surnames A - Z). Worcester, MA" Access requires a paid subscription.


Statewide Index

Massachusetts State Government:, "List of Persons Whose Names Have Been Changed in Massachusetts, 1780 - 1892. Boston, MA" Access requires a paid subscription.

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