Texas Probate Records

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This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott, Ph.D. FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Texas Family History Research series.
History of Texas
Texas Vital Records
Census Records for Texas
Background Sources for Texas
Texas Maps
Texas Land Records
Texas Probate Records
Texas Court Records
Texas Tax Records
Texas Cemetery Records
Texas Church Records
Texas Military Records
Texas Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Texas Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Texas Immigration
Texas Naturalization
Native Americans of Texas
Republic of Texas Settlers
African Americans of Texas
Hispanic Americans of Texas
Texas County Resources
Map of Texas


Probate proceedings in Texas are under the jurisdiction of the respective county court clerk except in more largely populated counties where probate courts may fill that function instead. Wills, court orders, letters of administration, inventories, sales, accounts, guardianship, and final accounts are all found in the probate minutes, though they may be filed separately. Probate appeals from either the county or probate court are heard by district courts (see Texas Court Records). Between 1869 and 1876, when the office of county clerk was temporarily abolished, some probate records were filed in District Court Civil Minutes or District Court Minutes.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) published a series of indexes to probate cases for some of the Texas counties. During the 1980s the set was reprinted as Index to Probate Cases of Texas (n.p.) and included the following counties: Atascosa, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Camp, Chambers, Coleman, Delta, Franklin, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hardin, Hays, Liberty, Marion, Morris, Newton, Nolan, Orange, Robertson, Runnels, Rusk, San Saba, Shelby, Titus, Trinity, Waller, Williamson, and Wood.

The Texas DAR Genealogical Records Committee has compiled wills from various Texas counties as part of its publication series. The Texas State Library and Allen County Public Library (see page 204) have various volumes of the original typescript.

A WPA project generated indexes for probate records for thirty Texas counties. Indexes for an additional eleven of those counties have been combined into a single alphabetical listing with additional counties are being added to these for an online database by a team of high school students working with Rebecca Osborne, Ph.D. See www.three-legged-willie.org/texas.htm for an updated listing.

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