Using Probate Records Online at Family Search Tutorial (2019)

Finding a will for your ancestor can open up part of the story of his or her life. You can find the names and relationships of the heirs including their children listed, including the names of any married daughters.

In this tutorial we, we are searching in New York State records, in Cattaraugus County, for the Will of Sebastian Tingue, who died on 14 Mar 1874.

Start at the FamilySearch page



Click on Search at the top of the screen



You are now on the “Search Historical Records” page.
Alternately, you can go directly to



Scroll down to “Research By Location” (if your browser window is wide enough you may see the map without scrolling down.)



Click on the United States and select New York from the scrollable menu that pops up.



You are now on the “New York Research Page”.



The top of the page has a search box for those records that have been indexed.
Scroll down to the “Probate and Court Section”.



Select “Show All…” to view all the Probate and Court Records.



Select “New York Probate Records, 1629-1971”.



Selecting “Learn More” will take you to the FamilySearch entry for the “New York Probate Records”. Here you can learn about the collection, how to search it and what to do with the results.

For now, select “Browse through…”
At this point, you will have to login or create a free account.



Select Cattaraugus from the list of counties.

The list of probate records available for Cattaraugus County are listed.

In this case, we are searching for the Will of Sebastian Tingue, who died on 14 Mar 1874.

Select the Wills Index 1832-1893.



Use the forward arrows to the beginning of the book. This is a relatively short index book that has the names listed in alphabetic order. For other counties, use the photo of the inside of the book to identify the indexing system used by the courthouse.

Enter image numbers and evaluate whether the name you are searching for is before or after the current page. The entry for
Sebastian Tingue was on the Image for the letter “T” (Image 35).



Sebastian Tingue’s Will is in Volume 5, Page 737.

You can download the image of this page using the tools on the upper right of the image frame. On the lower left of the image frame, you can click the arrow next to Information to view the Catalog Record and Item Number.

Use the bread crumb above the frame with the image to go back to the Cattaraugus County Probate Records to find the book with his Will.




The Wills are listed by Volume with the years that are included in it.

Select “Wills 1870-1874 vol 5”.



Sebastian Tingue’s Will is on page 737, but there are only 435 pages. I tried numbers near the end of the book, and found his Will on Image 401.


The Will continue on Images 402, 403 and 404.

Good luck looking for ancestor wills on FamilySearch!