Probate Court Records
Probate courts in Vermont have been responsible for the probate of wills, the settlement of estates, guardianships, adoptions, civil commitments, and name changes. Prior to 2011, the state was divided into as many as twenty probate districts. For most of the state's history, the six southern counties each contained two districts, while the remaining counties each comprised single districts. Each district had its own probate court.
The State Archives holds microfilm copies of record books from every probate district up to 1850, as well as the original records from some courts for later years.
Indexes to the records are available through our Reference Room. Each district maintained its own index; no single index exists that covers all districts. As a result, researchers should try to identify the district(s) where an individual lived before searching the probate records.
Researchers should also note that adoption records for adoptees who are less than 99 years old; records documenting the relinquishment of parental rights; and mental health records which may be found in probate records are exempt from public inspection pursuant to state statutes.
Some Vermont Probate records are available through the subscription service Ancestry.com. Vermont residents can research and print Vermont probate for free on Ancestry.com through an account on MyVermont.gov.