Court, land, wills, and financial records can be incredibly rich in detail due to the fact that family details and witnesses were often used to identify people. In this category, you’ll find indexes as well as some collections of actual records.
Court records can include wills, which include the names and addresses of family members, and details about your ancestor’s estate. Tax records will typically include information on taxable items your ancestor owned, as well as his or her income and address.
In the days before civil registration, the record of the acquisition of property in some cases can help link generations, as that property passed from one generation to the next.
Financial and insurance records can be particularly helpful because they frequently contain personal details used to identify the person in question—details that presumably only that person or family members would know.
And if your ancestor ran afoul of the law, criminal records will records his transgressions, along with some personal details that may help you fill in your family tree.
Court records are an often overlooked, yet very valuable tool for finding information to assist you in your research. Land records, such as deeds, allow you to tie an ancestor to a specific place at a point in time.
Other court records like those dealing with finances and estates often list related family members or give interesting details like the total value of property owned by your ancestors to add interest to your family history.