District of Columbia Probate Records

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This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
The District of Columbia Family History Research series.
History of the District of Columbia
District of Columbia Vital Records
Census Records for the District of Columbia
Background Sources for the District of Columbia
District of Columbia Maps
District of Columbia Land Records
District of Columbia Probate Records
District of Columbia Court Records
District of Columbia Tax Records
District of Columbia Cemetery Records
District of Columbia Church Records
District of Columbia Military Records
District of Columbia Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
District of Columbia Archives, Libraries, and Societies
District of Columbia Immigration
African Americans of the District of Columbia
District of Columbia County Resources


Probate Records for the District of Columbia (see District of Columbia Court Records) include proceedings, indexes to wills and administration of estates case files, transcripts of wills, administration case dockets, accounts, inventories and sales of estates, guardianship records, and apprenticeships.

Original wills from 1801 to the present and related probate records may be obtained by writing to the Register of Wills, Rm. 5006, 500 Indiana Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001.

Transcripts of wills dated 1810 to 1888, accompanying name indexes, and related probate case records for 1801 to 1878 are located in Record Group 21, National Archives and Records Administration, General Archives Division (NNFG), Washington National Records Center, Suitland, MD 20409. See Homer A. Walker’s Historical Court Records of Washington, D.C.: Death Records, 1801–78 (Washington, D.C.: the author, n.d.) for a name index to the Administrative Case Files, Old Series, 1801–78, also in the General Archives Division. Also useful are Mrs. Alexander H. Bell, Abstracts of Wills in the District of Columbia, 1776–1815, 2 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1945–46); Daughters of the American Revolution, E Pluribus Unum Chapter, Transcripts of Probate Records, 1799–1837 (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1972); and Record, Abstract of Wills, 4 vols., 1828–37 (Washington, D.C.: Municipal Court, n.d.).

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