Discovering Death Dates for Genealogy
Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
So how do we know when someone died? If they had a will, we can use the date of probate as a basis.
Every Last Will and Testament has a date of probate. This is found on the page following the will document. It is important to write the probate date down. After a person dies, a family member takes the last will and testament to the county court house where the deceased resided. This is done within 2 or 3 days after the death and is important because it enables the executor to begin the process of administering the estate to the heirs.
This process includes creating the annual returns, inventories, distributions and vouchers, etc. and should always be examined by genealogists. If the date that the will was filed for probate was say October 3, 1802, it is safe to conclude that the death occurred several days prior. So now, you know when to search old newspapers for obituaries!