If you have ancestors in the northeastern corner of Massachusetts, you will be interested in Wills of our Essex County Ancestors. This section of RootsWeb.com contains many wills filed before 1850 in Essex County. Each will was transcribed by a volunteer with coordination provided by David Colby Young. The service is open and free of charge to everyone.
Each will is published in standard ASCII text, using the spelling, punctuation, and grammar of the original. For instance, here is a brief excerpt from the will of Giles Corey, who was pressed to death for witchcraft in Salem:
To all people to whome this prsent wrighting shal come, I Gyles Coree of ye town of Salem in ye County of Essex in New England (Send Greeting)
Know yee yt I ye said Gyles Coaree lying under great trouble & affliction through wch I am very weake in body but in perfect memory, knowing not how soone I may depart this life, In Consideration of which and for ye fatherly Love & affection wch I have & doe beare unto my beloved sone in Law William Cleeves of ye town of Beaverly, in ye abovesd Countye and to my sone in Law Jno Moulton of ye town of Salem in sd County both yeomen as also for divers other good causes & Considerations mee att ye prsent Espetially moveing,
The complete will goes on for several more paragraphs. You can read the complete will in Wills of our Essex County Ancestors. In this case, a reference states that the transcription came from New England Historical and Genealogical Register volume 10:32 as transcribed by Mariana Bean Ruggles.
205 wills are now available on this great service. They all seem to be from the 17th and 18th centuries. To read the wills online, go to http://www.rootsweb.com/~maessex/wills