Search Probate Court Records, Case Files & Legal News in Newspapers (1704 - 1999)

Enter your ancestor's name below and we'll search court records & legal news to help you learn more about your family history.

Try different name spellings

Ex: Jenson, Jensen, Jens?n, Carrol, Carol, Caroll, Car* name search tips »

Try variations of the first name

Ex: William, Will OR Bill, Wm., W., etc. name search tips »

Try adding a word to narrow the hit results

Ex: occupation, university, home town, etc. keyword search »

Try excluding a word to narrow the hit results

Reduce records from a particular state. Ex: Texas keyword search »

Getting limited results? Broaden the date range

Use a range beyond the ancestor's life span. Ex: 1800 - 1890 or Jan 15, 1890 - Nov 22, 1890 date search tips »

USA map

Court Case Records

You can uncover the legal lives of your ancestors in old newspaper accounts of court case records from the early 1700s to recent years in our historical newspaper archives.

The public hearings and verdicts of superior, civil and criminal court cases are commonly reported in newspapers. Find civil court cases ranging from divorce decrees to business disputes. Uncover the stories behind criminal court cases ranging from misdemeanors to murder trials.

Local, State & Federal Legislation

Newspapers contain a great deal of information about the legal history of the United States. Newspapers cover the elections, impeachments, laws, bills, acts and other government legislation that affected America's past and our present.

Read the legal news that shaped our ancestors' lives, from the abolition of slavery to women's right to vote, and other notable moments in American history dating back to Colonial times in our newspaper archives.

Probate Records

Probate records are created by the probate court after a person's death and are required by law to be made public. As such, these will and probate records are commonly published in newspapers.
Court probate records contain an inventory of the deceased's estate at their time of death and information about the settlement of their estate. These will records can provide the names of spouses, siblings, children, other relatives and friends. The list of heirs to the estate can also provide clues to your ancestor's other family members. Browse exclusive probate records online to get started.

Name Change Records

Name changes were especially popular with our immigrant ancestors who had surnames that were difficult for people living in the U.S. to pronounce. The court records of the legal name changes were published in historical newspapers.
As a result, these name change records can help you find missing ancestors and trace back your family tree overseas.

Legal News Found in Newspapers:

  • Probate Court Records

  • Court Case Files

  • Change of Name Records

  • Local, State & Federal Legislation

And many more!

Search Probate Records and News of Court Cases

Newspapers publish many types of legal news articles ranging from public legal notices to government legislative news. Newspapers are required by law to publish many types of legal notices as public records. As such, you can find a variety of legal notices and

advertisements in newspapers to discover more about your ancestors' lives. From probate and estate records to news accounts of court cases, explore your ancestors' legal affairs and uncover unknown facts and stories of your family history.