Name of the collection: Genesee County (Mich.). Probate Court  
Inclusive years: 1836-1953             
Quantity: 68 linear feet
ACQUISITION: This collection (donor no. 288) was deposited in September 2011.  Ownership of the records is retained by the Court.
ACCESS: There are no restrictions to the collection other than to adoption records. State law forbids access to those records.
PHOTOGRAPHS: There were no photographs.
PROCESSED BY: Paul Gifford and Jeanette Routhier, October 2011     

History

Genesee County was created by act of the Michigan Legislature on March 8, 1836.  The Probate Court met for the first time at Flint on October 29th of that year.  It was the first court convened in the county.

Michigan Territory enacted a law in 1805 which gave authority to the courts of the various districts to take proof of wills and grant letters testamentary and letters of administration.  Further authority was granted in 1818 to appoint guardians to minors, idiots, and other “distracted persons,” and could examine the accounts of executors, administrators, and guardians.  Probate judges have jurisdiction in all matters relating to the settlement of estates of all deceased persons, whether testate or intestate, who were resident in their counties. 

Subsequent changes in state law, including the Constitution of 1908 and the 1939 probate code enlarged the scope of the Probate Court.  It became responsible for the appointment of drain commissioners or railroad commissioners, for name changes, to confirm adoptions, to admit insane persons to state hospitals, and to issue marriage licenses to underage females.  In 1923, judges were empowered to authorize sterilization of mentally defective persons.  The 1908 Constitution gave Probate Court jurisdiction in all matters concerning juveniles, including delinquents. 

The Genesee County Court has enlarged over time.  Beginning with a single judge, the court added a probate register in 1885 and an additional judge in 1908. In addition, there have been stenographers and clerks. 

Scope and Content

The records considered here include all records of the Probate Court from its beginnings in 1836 until 1953, with the exception of adoption records and juvenile records.  Michigan Compiled Laws 710.67(1) says that “papers and books relating to the proceedings shall be kept in separate locked files and shall not be open to inspection or copy except upon order of a court of record for good cause.”  Thus volumes with adoption records are retained at the Genesee County Courthouse.  Juvenile records are confidential as well, and they are destroyed after a number of years.

All the records are kept in volumes (libers).  From 1836 to 1855 and from 1925 to 1928 records of all sorts were kept chronologically in common volumes (Probate Records).  Outside those timespans, however, records were organized by series.  Thus one volume contains wills; another inventories; another sales of real estate; and so on.  When the series was finished, another numbered volume was started.  As the court expanded its responsibilities, new series began.  Some volumes contain two to four separate series, and those marked “miscellaneous” have the more obscure duties. 

The probate of a particular estate, whether testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will), will not necessarily contain all of the papers found in all the series.  Typically, a testate estate produces an order of hearing (filing the will for probate); an order admitting the will (the will is entered into the record); an order of hearing, entered into the series of bonds and letters of executor; and a warrant for appraisers and inventory.

An intestate estate typically includes a petition for appointment of administrator of the estate; an order appointing the administrator; the administrator’s bond; an order appointing appraisers; a warrant for the appraisers and an inventory; a petition for hearing claims on the estate; and a discharge.

The series of Probate Calendars (1836-1933) is a record of every case which appeared before the court.  Each case is identified by number, and each motion or paper that was filed is entered in chronological order within the space allotted for that case.  Not every paper was recorded into books.  Apparently each probate case had its own file, and certain papers, such as the advertisement for claims against the estate, was added to the file but not recorded in the books.  Juvenile cases, as well as those for insane or indigent individuals, were similarly recorded, although this collection contains some records of insane cases.

At some point numbered case files (from 319 to 2381, dating from 1857 to 1883) were deposited with the Archives of Michigan (record groups 71-37 and 75-86).  A microfilm copy of this series was made by the Genealogical Society of Utah. 

Other case files were microfilmed and the microfilm can be viewed at the Genesee Probate Court itself.  It is unclear what time span this series of microfilm covers, although certainly it covers the 1950s (or part of that decade) and later.  However, the disposition of the case files from 1883 to the 1950s is unknown.

Access to these records is through the Probate Calendars, which have name indexes to each volume.  To locate a particular case, the researcher needs to start with the volume for the approximate date of death or event.  The index refers to the number of the case.  Under each case number is a record of each proceeding, with the volume and page number for each one that was recorded.  Since the Probate Calendars’ coverage stops in 1933, research in the years from 1933 to 1953 must be done volume by volume. 

The Entry Books of Wills (two volumes) form a record of wills deposited in Probate Court by living testators.  Many of the entries contain records of the date of probate or other disposition.  In the absence of a comprehensive index to the last two decades represented in this collection, these entry books may help determine the existence of a particular will.

As well as genealogical and biographical research, this collection can potentially be used for research in other topics.  Inventories, for example, might be used to study possession of particular items at particular times or locations.  The wills themselves may provide a variety of information. 

Item List

PROBATE CALENDARS                                                  

1    Probate calendar                              1836-1870

2    Probate calendar                              1870-1883

3    Probate calendar                              1883-1891

4    Probate calendar                              1891-1899

5    Probate calendar                              1899-1912

6    Probate calendar                              1906-1910

7    Probate calendar                              1910-1914

8    Probate calendar                              1914-1917

9    Probate calendar                              1917-1919

10   Probate calendar                              1919-1921

11   Probate calendar                              1921-1922

12   Probate calendar                              1922-1923

13   Probate calendar                              1923-1925

14   Probate calendar                              1925-1926

15   Probate calendar                              1926-1928

16   Probate calendar                              1927-1928

17   Probate calendar                              1928-1928

18   Probate calendar                              1928-1929

19   Probate calendar                              1929-1930

20   Probate calendar                              1930-1931

21   Probate calendar                              1931-1932

22   Probate calendar                              1932-1933

 

PROBATE RECORDS

A    Journal                                       1856-1868

Misc.Probate record                               1888-1900

1    Probate records [Spine missing]               1836-1847

2    Probate records [Spine missing]               1845-1850

3    Probate records [Spine missing]               1849-1852

4    Probate records                               1852-1855

-    Index to Probate record, vol. 4

5    Bonds and letters                             1854-1865

6    Probate record                                1855-1865

7    Probate register                              1855-1876

8    Sales of real estate, administrators and guardians            1857-1866

9    [Inventories]                                 1858-1869

10   Petitions, bond and letters                   1863-1879

11   Probate records                               1864-1877

12   Sales of real estate                          1865-1877

13   Probate record                                1867-1877

14   Appraisers’ warrants; Inventories             1869-1876

15   Petitions, bonds, and letter                  1871-1877

16   Record of probate orders                      1874-1892

17   Final reports                                 1875-1886

18   Sales of real estate deceased                 1875-1883

19   Guardian's sale of real estate                1875-1884

20   Probate record                                1877-1889

21   Probate records - Record of wills             1877-1892

22   Petition and orders administrator and bonds and letters       1877-1882

23   Warrant and inventory                         1877-1885

24   Warrant and report of commissioners on claims adjusting claims by court                                         1877-1887

25   Record of bonds and letters of administrators 1877-1892

26   Record of wills                               1878-1884

27  Probate orders, insane, state public school and drain commissioners                                              1878-1880

28   Bonds, Letters of administration              1882-1886

29   Sales of real estate deceased                 1883-1888

30   Record of guardian sales of real estate       1884-1892

31   Record of wills                               1884-1892

32   [Inventories]                                 1885-1889

33   [Orders]                                      1886-1892

34   [Accounts]                                    1885-1891

35   Letters testamentary                          1886-1893

36   Bonds                                         1886-1896

37   Order of hearing                              1887-1900

38   Commissioners on claims                       1888-1914

39   Sales of real estate                          1888-1895

41   Dower and petition                            1888-1892

42   Discharges                                    1890-1905

43   Probate journal                               1889-1894

44   Orders allowing claims                        1889-1893

45   Inventories                                   1889-1893

46   Annual and final accounts                     1891-1897

47   Record of wills                               1892-1899

48   Bonds and letters - administrators            1893-1902

49   Bonds and letters guardian                    1893-1903

50   Appraisers warrant and inventory              1893-1899

51   Probate journal                               1894-1902

52   Mortgage real estate                          1894-1922

53   Order appointing special commissioners        1895-1900

54   Bonds and letters testamentary                1896-1903

55   Sales of real estate                          1894-1904

56   Annual and final accounts                     1898-1903

57   Record of wills                               1890-1896

58   Appraisers warrant and inventory              1899-1903

59   Order of hearing                              1909-1910

60   Probate record                                1900-1908

61   Probate journal                               1901-1909

62   Decree assigning residue                      1900-1912

63   Sale of real estate, private sales to pay debts, to expend or invest                                              1900-1904

64   Determination of legal heirs; Orders limitation claims notice 1901-1923

65   Appointment of administrators, guardians and appraisers;

     Indigent and private insane matters           1903-1918

66   Bonds and letters of administration           1902-1924

67   Bonds and letters of administration and letters of guardianship                                              1902-1908

68   Annual and final accounts                     1903-1908

69   Appraisers warrant and inventory              1903-1906

70   Record of claims                              1903-1915

71   Sales of real estate: Public and dependent children           1904-1923

72  Sales of real estate – Private sales; To pay debts; Or invest 1904-1912

73   Order appointing administrator and appraiser and time hearing claims                                              1904-1913

74   Discharge of administration, executors, or guardians               1904-1922

75   Appraisers warrant and inventory              1906-1910

76   Record of wills                               1906-1913

77   Record of claims                              1907-1912

78   Bonds – letters of guardians                  1908-1916

79   Record of final accounts                      1908-1912

80   Record of bonds and letters of administrators 1908-1915

81   Probate journal                               1909-1916

82   Order appointing time for hearing claims; Bonds and letters of executor                                      1910-1918

83   Sales of real estate – private sale           1909-1914

84   Probate record – feeble minded                1910-1913

85   Warrant and inventory                         1910-1913

86   Order of hearing                              1910-1918

88   Order appointing administrator and appraisers 1911-1918

89   Record of final accounts                      1912-1916

90   Record of claims                              1912-1918

91   Warrant and inventory                         1913-1915

92   Decree assigning residue of real estate       1912-1925

93   Record of wills                               1913-1917

94   Sales of real estate – private sale           1913-1918

95   Probate journal                               1917-1923

96   Commissioners on claims warrant: order granting widow’s allowance                                              1914-1926

97   Record of bonds and letters of administration 1915-1919

98   Order appointing and bonds and letters of guardianship             1915-1921

99   Record of claims                              1915-1929

100  Warrant and inventory                         1915-1918

101  Orders appointing time for hearing claims     1916-1925

102  Record of final accounts                      1916-1921

103  Bonds and letters of executors; Indigent insane matters      1917-1923

104  Record of wills                               1917-1920

105  Sale of real estate, private sale             1916-1919

106  Order of hearing                              1918-1924

107  Record of claims                              1918-1929

108  Warrant and inventory                         1918-1920

109  Probate orders administrators; Appraisers; Claims; Final accounts                                              1918-1927

110  Record of bonds, letters, general administration                   1919-1922

112  Sale of real estate, private sale             1919-1923

113  Record of wills                               1920-1923

114  Order appointing bonds and letters of guardianship            1920-1925

115  Warrant and inventory                         1920-1923

116  Discharge of administrators, executors, guardian; Order limiting settlement of estate, appointing appraisers                      1922-1927

117  Bonds and letters of executors; Bonds and letters of administration                                              1922-1928

118  Record of wills                               1923-1925

119  Sale of real estate, private sale             1923-1925

120  Probate journal                               1923-1925

121  Order appointing administrator: Indigent insane matters       1923-1925

122  Order appointing and bond administrator: Order closing hearing claims                                              1925-1927

123  Warranty and inventory                        1923-1927

124  Inventory account of executor, administrator, guardian             1923-1927

125  Final account executor, administrator, or guardian            1929-1930

126  Order assigning residue of real estate        1925-1933

127  Probate record                                1924-1933

128  Sales of real estate, private sale            1924-1929

129  Record of wills                               1928-1931

130  Inventory and account of executors, administrator, or guardian                                              1927-1929

131  Miscellaneous                                 1928-1931

132  Probate record                                1925-1925

133  Probate record                                1925-1925

134  Probate record                                1925-1925

135  Probate record                                1925-1925

136  Probate record                                1925-1926

137  Probate record                                1926-1926

138  Probate record                                1926-1926

139  Probate record                                1926-1926

140  Probate record                                1926-1926

141  Probate record                                1926-1926

142  Probate record                                1926-1926

143  Probate record                                1926-1926

144  Probate record                                1926-1926

145  Probate record                                1926-1927

146  Probate record                                1927-1927

147  Probate record                                1927-1927

148  Probate record                                1927-1927

149  Probate record                                1927-1927

150  Probate record                                1927-1927

151  Probate record                                1927-1927

152  Probate record                                1927-1927

153  Probate record                                1927-1928

154  Probate record                                1928-1928

155  Probate record                                1928-1928

156  Bond and letters or administrator             1927-1930

157  Discharges of administrators, executors, or guardians              1927-1930

158  Probate record                                1928-1928

159  Probate record                                1928-1928

160  Probate record                                1928-1930

161  Probate record                                1933-1935

162  Probate record                                1935-1937

163  Probate record                                1937-1940

166  Warrant and inventory                         1927-1929

167  Bond of executor, letters testamentary        1928-1934

168  Inventory, account of executors, administrator, or guardian   1929-1930

169  Sale of real estate, private sale             1928-1931

172  Bonds and letters of guardianship             1930-1934

173  Determination of legal heirs                  1931-1937

174  Warrant and inventory                         1929-1934

175  Probate record; Miscellaneous                 1929-1934

177  Bond and letters of administration            1930-1932

178  Record of wills                               1931-1933

179  License to sell real estate                   1929-1935

180  Order assigning residue of real estate        1933-1937

181  Bond and letters of administration            1932-1935

182  Record of wills                               1932-1936

183  Bond of guardian                              1934-1939

184  Probate record, miscellaneous                 1934-1937

185  Bond of executor                              1934-1945

186  Warrant and inventory                         1934-1936

187  Bond of administrator                         1934-1938

188  Bond on sale of real estate; Order confirming sale            1935-1937

189  Warrant and inventory record                  1936-1937

190  Miscellaneous records                         1936-1942

191  Record of wills                               1936-1940

192  Miscellaneous records                         1936-1944

193  Order assigning residue of real estate        1937-1945

194 Order confirming sale of real estate          1937-1939

195  Record of wills                               1937-1941

196  Warrant and Inventory record                  1937-1938

197  Sales of real estate                          1939-1942

198  Bond of administrator                         1938-1946

199  Bond of guardian                              1939-1946

200  Warrant and inventory record                  1938-1940

201  Warrant and inventory record                  1940-1941

202  Miscellaneous records                         1940-1944

205  Order confirming sale of real estate          1940-1944

206  Miscellaneous records                         1940-1945

207  Order assigning residue of estate             1940-1944

208  Record of wills                               1941-1944

209  Warrant and inventory record                  1941-1943

210  Miscellaneous record                          1942-1947

214  Order confirming sale of real estate          1943-1946

216  Order assigning residue of estate             1943-1946

218  Warrant and inventory record                  1943-1944

219  Record of wills                               1944-1945

224  Order assigning residue of estate             1946-1949

225  Order confirming sale of real estate          1946-1950

226  Miscellaneous                                 1949-1952

227  Miscellaneous                                 1944-1948

228  Warrant and inventory record                  1944-1946

229  Warrant and inventory record                  1946-1947

230  Miscellaneous                                 1947-1952

233  Record of wills                               1945-1946

234  Record of wills                               1946-1948

240  Warrant and inventory record                  1947-1949

242  Order assigning residue of estate             1949-1951

243  Order confirming sale of real estate          1950-1952

244  Record of wills                               1948-1949

245  Record of wills                               1949-1950

251  Warrant and inventory record                  1949-1950

252  Warrant and inventory record                  1950-1951

254  Record of wills                               1950-1952

255  Miscellaneous                                 1952-1952

256  Bond of guardian                              1951-1952

257  Bond of administrator                         1950-1951

258  Warrant and inventory record                  1951-1952

259  Order assigning residue of real estate        1951-1952

261  Record of wills                               1952-1952

262  Bond of administrator                         1952-1952

 

ENTRY BOOKS OF WILLS

     Entry book of wills                           18---1957

2    Entry book of wills                           ?   -1946

 

RECORD OF MARRIAGES

2    Record of marriages                           1935-1943

4    Record of marriages                           1961-1973

5    Record of marriages                           1973-1979

6    Record of marriages                           1979-1989

 

1    Bond record, no. 16273-26218                  1925-1933

 

Records Retained by Genesee County Probate Court

ADOPTION RECORDS

87   Determination of heirs: Order confirming adoption: Order allowing Accts                                             1910-1930

111  Order appointing administrator; Order confirming adoptions    1919-1927

121  Bonds and letters of general administration; Order confirming adoption                                          1923-1931 [note the duplicate number of this volume]

176  Order confirming adoption                     1931-1940

253  Order confirming adoption                     1950-1952

264  Order confirming adoption                     1952-1953

BLANK (NEVER FILLED IN) VOLUMES

23   Probate calendar

40   blank volume

231  Miscellaneous records

232  Miscellaneous records