In 1999 I was hired to work on Mondays. Around 2000-2001 I was asked to work on Saturdays specifically to index the “Probate Files”. Many people have worked on this project before me, starting with File #1 dated 1862. I picked up with File #2379 dated 1919. About four years ago my job description changed when I made the comment to Ann Marie Johnson “I would love to learn how to use a computer”. Ann Marie passed this little tidbit onto Mary Warner and “the rest is history”. Today, Mary asked me to write my first article for this news feed.
I now work two days a week, and along with other projects (such as Morrison County family research or county history), I still devote part of my working days to indexing the probate files. I’ve recently finished File #5353 dated 1936. During each new year, there are probates over five years old referred to, so while doing the indexing, you bounce back and forth indexing another file for this type probate. The probate files are the property of the Morrison County Court House, Morrison County Historical Society is the “keeper” of these records. Probates referring to estates and marriages can be seen at the C.A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum. Due to privacy laws, we are prevented from handing out certain type files. To access these type files (Juvenile, Guardianship, Insanity, Commitment, Health/Medical Records or Determinations), the researcher has to contact the Court Administrator or bring written permission from the Court back to us in order to view them here.
These files can help a researcher find a relative, some or all of a family, where a person lived at the time, when they died, where they died, some even contain a copy of a will. Sometimes the information contained in these files is very surprising to a researcher.
If you have not accessed these files and would like to see if your relative has a probate on file, it’s as simple as a phone call, email, letter, or a visit. Just remember, this information gets updated frequently; so if there is nothing for you today, there may be tomorrow.
~ Alice Smuda