You may discover dates of death from these records along with heirs at law (if no will/will rejected) or the people/family to whome the testator devised the estate. Guardianship proceedings are also informative because all minor children should be named. The surviving parent did not automatically receive custody of the children, hence the guardianship records.
The records are organized by county. Keep in mind two things when you search for probate records. First, boundaries of counties changed over the years and new counties were carved from existing counties. If you know the name of the town (which also may have changed) where your family lived, you should be able to identify which county to search within a range of years.
|The map on the right represents the 21 modern counties of New Jersey. [Credit Geology.com.]|
The map on the right is from circa 1826. [Rutgers Special Collection]
|Page from the Surrogate's Docket Index of Essex County, New Jersey|
You may have to play around with the numbers until you find the corresponding documents.
|Docket #17226 turned out to be a guardianship proceeding for the minor children of Charlotte Uhl,|
awarding her guardianship of her own children after her husband died.