Lebanon Probate Records

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The Syrian National Archives contains records of the various courts located in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Hama for the years 1517-1919. The court records are a complete but rather confusing record of inheritance cases, property purchases, divorce proceedings, and other legal matters for Muslim, Christian, and Jewish urban populations. These records are not catalogued; given the lack of family names in pre-modern Syria, historical research on individual families is difficult and requires much patience. Syria's development of archival records is such that they may not be able to provide services for researchers abroad. However, I've been told they would warmly welcome anyone who came to Damascus for research. In that case, obviously, knowledge of Arabic or a good interpreter would be most helpful. by Sandra Hasser Bennett, Genealogy Today