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Following article posted August 20, 2000, Vol. IV Number 14
Contributed by: Fawne Stratford-Devai, firstname.lastname@example.org
Researching Ontario Wills & Probate
I have noticed a number of questions recently regarding Wills & probate records for Ontario. The Archives of Ontario is the repository for those will which have been probated. Information about Wills is available on the Archives of Ontario website - specifically:
Under the section "Conducting Research at the Archives of Ontario" ( http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/virtualrr/index.html) is a link to the information handouts which are found in the main reading room. Researchers would be well advised to read those handouts which explain the availability and use of wills and probate records:
#15 How to Find a Will (HTML version):
Before 1859, estates were dispersed either by the provincial Court of Probate or the local Surrogate Courts. The Court of Probate (Series RG 22-155) handled estates with property in two or more Districts valued over £5. The Surrogate Courts handled estates with property within one District. With the abolition of the Court of Probate in 1858, the Surrogate Courts assumed complete responsibility for estate actions.
Many years ago, the Archives created two surname Indexes of Estate Files * before 1859 * -- these indexes are available online at:
COURT OF PROBATE - Inventory 22, Appendix A1 (formerly Appendix F):
Surnames: H to N
Surnames: O to Z http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/interloan/c-rg22fc.htm
Researchers would be well advised to carefully read the online information for wills at: http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/interloan/c-efile.htm
For those researching in York County, things are somewhat more complex but are carefully explained in the York County Surrogate Court Records section of the inter-loan catalogue at: http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/interloan/c-york-t.htm
Generation Press has been working for a number of years to provide indexes to probate records by county for the period 1858-1900. These indexes are available for searching in the main reading room of the Archives and are available in many libraries. They can be purchased from Global Genealogy at: http://globalgenealogy.com/cdaont.htm , and then click on the county for which you have an interest. Or call 613-257-7878.
There are indexes for the following counties that I am aware of: Brant, Carleton, Dufferin, Elgin, Essex, Frontenac, Haldimand, Halton Hastings, Kent, Lambton, Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, Lennox & Addington Lincoln, Norfolk, Northumberland & Durham, Ontario, Peel, Peterborough Prescott & Russell, Prince Edward, Renfrew, Simcoe, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, Victoria, Waterloo, Welland.
Microfilm of probate records (wills) can be borrowed on inter library loan from the Archives for those records that have been microfilmed. Please read the online information carefully...unfortunately, not all wills have been probated and not all probated records have been microfilmed....
As the Archives' information handout clearly explains, Not all wills are probated:
The Land Registry Offices fall under the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations http://www.ccr.gov.on.ca/mccr/welcome.htm (Real Property Registration) which has a website at: http://www.ccr.gov.on.ca/mccr/lroindex.htm which will also take you to a list of Land Registry Offices with an explanation of the service each provides.
I hope these links and online information will assist those in search of Ontario probate records & wills in general.