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An email from cousin Judy Kellar Fox

Cousin Judy provides us with some good info and advice.

From: "Judy Kellar Fox" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 11:31 AM
Subject: [MAFRANKL] Franklin Co. deeds and probate

Deeds and probate records are fabulous sources of information on our ancestors.  I've just spent a couple years looking at both for Heath and Ashfield.  In response to a question from a Thayer descendant, I wrote up the following information for accessing deeds and probate files.  It relies on the microfilmed indexes from the Family History Library (here represented with the film numbers for Thayer) as the first step in finding the records.  From there, the deeds and probate files can be read on microfilm or ordered directly from County offices.

Judy Fox
Aloha, OR


[from the Family History Library Catalog:]
Franklin County (MA).  Register of Deeds.  Deeds, 1787-1947.
Grantor index, v. S-T 1787-1889     no. 0893542
Grantee index, v. T-Z 1787-1889     no. 0893550

Once you find your name(s) in the indexes, then you would order the specific deed volume and read the deed.  I recommend copying (or photocopying) all the Thayers in the indexes.  I found that as I went along, I sometimes had to re-order indexes because someone who hadn't seemed important earlier in fact was.

You can either order the microfilm that has the deed (they cover about two years' worth of deeds each--see the Family History Library Catalog), or order a photocopy of the deed from the Franklin County Register of Deeds.

After spending hundreds of dollars ordering over 60 microfilmed deeds, I finally learned that the clerks at the Register of Deeds are extremely helpful and efficient in making and sending out copies.  The copies cost $0.75 per page (usually 1-3 pages), which is cheaper than $3.50 for a microfilm that has only one deed on it, and they come in about a week's time.  The copies are sent out with a bill for the service.

The phone number is 413-772-0239.  Or write to Franklin County Division of Deeds, P. O. Box 1495, Greenfield, MA 01302.  Or fax them an order at 413-774-7150.

They will want to know the Book and Page numbers and the Grantee (all available from the grantor and grantee indexes, which you have to get on microfilm, or read on site in Greenfield, I suppose).

Now then, the probate records work in about the same way:


Massachusetts.  Probate Court (Franklin County).
Probate Index v. K-Z 1812-1925  no. 0854380

The probate index lists individuals and gives volume/page numbers after various entries (petition for administration, for guardian of minor, bonds, petition for sale of real estate, etc.).  I think these refer to other volumes where deeds and such may be found.  The important number is a stamped (non handwritten) number to the left of the name.  This is the probate file number, and it's the probate file that you will order once you find your name.

By the way, even if the person you are looking for is not in the index, he may be mentioned in the probate record of his father or a sibling.  Probate records can contain wills and property inventories, which usually contain some names.

So, after you find the file number from the index, you can order the microfilm that contains that file (I don't have the numbers, but check the FHL Catalog under the entry above).  Or you can call the Register of Probate, Franklin Division, at 413-774-7011 (M-F 8:30-4pm).  Their copies are only $0.50 per page!  It seems to me that they had to look up the file number, determine how many pages there were, give me a price, and then required prepayment.  Still, the packet came in about a week after they received my check.  I paid about $40 for five probate files, and they were a goldmine!  Three of them had inventories of the deceased's property, which for me was fabulous, as I was writing about the families in the context of their place and time.  One had a list of notes owed the deceased (including some from his children and grandson); another had a full will listing children.  Those were great.  I have to mention, too, that a couple of my Heath guys did not appear in the probate indexes.  I believe that they simply disposed of their little property before their death, probably divided it up among heirs and creditors.

I'm very excited about the finds in the deeds and the probate papers, so I hope you will have good luck with them, too.

Click on the logo below for Massachusetts Archives information:


Click on the logo below for more information:

The Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics is located at:
150 Mount Vernon St., 1st Fl.
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
Main Telephone: (617) 740-2600


Helpful Massachusetts Telephone Numbers:


The Soundex Machine:


Libraries in Massachusetts; a great place to research:


The Latter-Day Saints Search:


Visit Ashfield, Massachusetts:

Ashfield Historical Society collects, preserves, and presents material related to the history of Ashfield, a town in the hills of Western Massachusetts. Although the town is small, it has a rich history because it was at the crossroads of unique developments and because its citizens have always made a special effort to preserve its history.


Below find a listing of State Places to contact:

Alabama Department of Archives and 
624 Washington AvenueP.O. Box 300100
Montgomery, AL 36130-0100

Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums
141 Willoughby Avenue
Juneau, AK 99801-1720
Tel: 907-465-2270

Arizona Department of Library, Archives, 
and Public Records
1700 West WashingtonRoom 442, 
State Capitol
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Tel: 602-542-4159

Arkansas History Commission and 
State Archives
One Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AK 72201
Tel: 501-682-6900

California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Main: 916-653-7715
Reference: 916-653-2246

Colorado State Archives
1313 Sherman Street,
Room 1B-20
Denver, CO 80203
Main: 303-866-2055
Reference: 303-866-2358; 303-866-2390
Toll Free: 800-305-3442 
(In Colorado) 

Connecticut State LibraryHistory 
and Genealogy
231 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Main: 860-566-5650
Reference: 860-566-3690

Delaware Public ArchivesHall of Records
Dover, DE 19901
Tel: 302-739-5318

Florida State ArchivesBureau of Archives 
and Records Management
Division of Library and Information Services
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
Tel: 904-487-2073

Georgia Department of Archives 
and History
330 Capitol Avenue SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
Main: 404-656-2393
Reference: 404-656-2350

Hawaii State ArchivesDepartment of 
Accounting and General Services
Kekauluohi Building
Iolani Palace Grounds
Honolulu, HI 96813
Tel: 808-586-0329; 
800-468-4644 (Hawaii only)

Idaho State Historical SocietyLibrary and Archives
450 North Fourth Street
Boise, ID 83702-6027
Tel: 208-334-3356

Illinois State Archives
Margaret Cross Norton Building
Capitol Complex
Springfield, IL 62756
Tel: 217-782-4682

Indiana State Archives 
117 State Library Building
140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Tel: 317-232-3660

Iowa State Historical Society
600 East Locust
Des Moines, IA 50319-0290
Tel: 515-281-5111

Kansas State Historical Society
6425 SW Sixth Avenue
Topeka, KS 66615
Tel: 913-272-8681

Kentucky Archives Research Room
Kentucky Department for Libraries 
and Archives
300 Coffee Tree Road
PO Box 537 
Frankfort, KY 40602-0537
Tel: 502-564-8300

Louisiana Division Of Archives 
And Records
3851 Essen Lane
Baton Rouge, LA 70809-2137
Tel: 504-922-1208

Maine State Archives
State House Station #84
Augusta, ME 04333-0084
Tel: 207-287-5790

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401
Tel: 410-974-3914
Toll Free: 800-235-4045 (In Maryland)

Massachusetts Archives
Reference Supervisor
220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
Tel: 617-727-2816

State Archives Of MichiganMichigan
Historical Center
717 West Allegan Street
Lansing, MI 48918-1800
Tel: 517-373-3559
Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Boulevard West
St. Paul, MN 55102
Tel: 612-296-2143

Missouri State ArchivesState 
Information Center
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Tel: 573-751-3280

Montana Historical Society
225 North Roberts Street
Helena, MT 59620
Tel: 406-444-2694

Nebraska State Historical Society
1500 "R" Street
PO Box 82554
Lincoln, NE 68501-2554
Tel: 402-471-3270; 800 833-6747

Nevada State Archives And Records Management
100 North Stewart Street
Carson City, NV 89710
Tel: 702-687-5210

New Hampshire Division Of Records 
Management And Archives
71 South Fruit Street
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: 603-271-2236

New Jersey Division Of Archives 
And Records Management
185 West State Street, Level 2
New Jersey State Library Building
Trenton, NJ 08625-0307
Tel: 609-292-6260

New Mexico State Records Center 
And Archives
404 Montezuma Street
Santa Fe, NM 87503
Tel: 505-827-7332

New York State ArchivesCultural Education CenterRoom 11D40
Albany, NY 12230
Tel: 518-474-8955

North Carolina State Archives
109 East Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2807
Tel: 919-733-7305

North Dakota State Historical Society
North Dakota Heritage Center
612 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismark, ND 58505-0830
Main: 701-328-2668
Reference: 701-328-2091

Ohio Historical SocietyArchives/Library 
Reference Questions
1982 Velma Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211-2497
Tel: 614-297-2300

Oklahoma State Archives200 NE 
18th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-3298
Tel: 405-521-2502

Oregon State Archives
800 Summer Street NE
Salem, OR 97310
Tel: 503-373-0701

Pennsylvania State ArchivesBox 1026
Attn: ERA
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026
Tel: 717-783-3281

Rhode Island State ArchivesDept. 
Of Archives And History
337 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903-3302
Tel: 401-277-2353

South Carolina Department of Archives
and History
8301 Parklane Road
Columbia, SC 29223
Tel: (803) 896-6100
Fax: (803) 896-6198

South Dakota State Archives
900 Governors Drive Pierre, SD 57501-2217 
Tel: 605-773-3804 

Tennessee State Library And Archives
403 Seventh Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37243-0312
Tel: 615-741-2764

Texas State Library And Archives
P.O. Box 12927
Austin, TX 78711-2927
Tel: 512-463-5460

Washington State Archives
1120 Washington Street SE
P.O. Box 40238
Olympia, Washington 98504-0238
Tel: 360-753-5485

West Virginia State ArchivesArchives And History Library
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
Tel: 304-558-0230, ext. 168

State Historical Society Of 
DivisionReference Services
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706
Tel: 608-264-6460

Wyoming State Archives, Museums And Historical Department
Barrett Building
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Tel: 307-777-7013

District of ColumbiaOffice of Public Records
1300 Naylor Court NW
Washington, DC 20001-4225
Tel: 202-727-2052

Puerto Rico General ArchivesPonce de Leon #500Puerta de Tierra
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902
Tel: 809-722-0331

No Web Site

U. S. Virgin IslandsLibraries, Archives & Museums
23 Dronningens GadeCharlotte Amalie, 
St. Thomas, USVI 00802
Tel: 809-774-3407

No Web Site

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