One of the best resources genealogists have at their disposal is a will. This document can tell you a great deal about a person, their family, and perhaps more important, the testator's feelings about the people in his or her family. A lot of folks today with even minimal assets make a will. But back in the day of our ancestors, this wasn't always true. A lot of people just didn't see much need. If you die without a will, you are deemed to have died "intestate", and your estate is distributed according to state statute. Probate court records are also a valuable tool in family history research.
For more information about using wills and probate records in your research, take a look at Genealogy.com, FamilySearch.org and Origins.net
It can be fun and informative to read through the wills of our ancestors, should such documentation exist - but even more interesting to read through the wills of the rich and famous.
Amanda, the Social Media Coordinator at Geni recently wrote a story about an unusual last will and testament. Entitled The Great Stork Derby about a man with a wry sense of humor, who made sure his legacy lived on long after his death. Click here to read about Mr. Miller and his unusual sense of humor.
-- Submitted by Denise Doyon