Probate files are one of the most popular collections held by Archives New Zealand. Probates give information on how a person’s estate was administered after their death and most probates include information on both the deceased and their family. If the deceased’s will was submitted to the courts, it will be included in their probate file.
Our probate files are currently being digitised as part of a joint project between Archives New Zealand and FamilySearch. In time, all probate files over 50 years old will be made available online, free of charge, for searching, viewing, and printing, via the FamilySearch website. You do not need to register with FamilySearch or supply any details to access digitised probates.
To search for digitised probate records, use this link: https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1865481
Enter the name of the person you are researching. When you find a match, click on the name. This will expand the information.
An example of the expanded information about a digitised probate
On the left side of the expanded information is a reference to the ‘First Image Number’ and the ‘Last Image Number’. FamilySearch uploads images in batches each including multiple records. The first and last image numbers tell you where in the batch a probate begins and ends. On the right is an image from the probate. Below the image is a link: ‘View the original document’, click on this link to begin viewing images of the probate.
Only probates filed more than 50 years ago can be viewed online. If you are seeking a probate that is less than 50 years old please contact us. Access through Archives’ reading rooms and enquiry services remains unrestricted.
If the file is more than 50 years and you can’t find it using the name search, there may be two reasons: