Probate index brings past to life

March 15, 2013

More than a million images of probate records from Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch have been digitised and indexed at Archives New Zealand in a joint venture between FamilySearch and the archives.
“This collaborative project between Archives New Zealand and FamilySearch brings to life the past,” says Chief Archivist Greg Goulding. “These indexes are a goldmine of information for researchers and historians.
“The probates add to the wealth of information already available via the shipping lists previously digitised in partnership with FamilySearch,” he said. “Our next goal is all the Intentions to Marry.
The probate records, essential for genealogical research, contain over 30 types of documents including wills, affidavits, property records, and death certificates. The documents can now be searched by name via an index which went live earlier this month on 5 March.
Mike Higgins, Manager FamilySearch Pacific Area said hundreds of hours of work, donated by FamilySearch volunteers, at Archives New Zealand offices in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland have made the project possible.
“We are pleased to continue our on-going relationship with Archives New Zealand as this digitisation is a win win for both organisations,” he said.
Tom McVey, a FamilySearch volunteer, who has been in the country digitising records with his wife Ann since August 2011 and is returning home this weekend, is delighted to see the index go live before he leaves for the US.
“In Wellington four fulltime volunteers and two working part-time have digitised more than a million images,” Tom McVey said. “Volunteers are on task to digitise more probate records in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. It’s been a pleasure to donate our time to help others research their roots.”
Another volunteer couple, Steve and Cathy Stuckis, recently arrived from the US, will be replacing Tom and Ann McVey.
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organisation in the word. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. The New Zealand probate records are now available on
Contact Christine Seymour 04 894 6086