Research: Topics: Legal & Correction Records: Probate Records

Probate Records

4. Court of Chancery

Between 1830 and 1847 the Court of Chancery shared with the Surrogate's Court the power to take proof of wills when the testator or the witnesses resided out of state.  After probate in chancery, a Surrogate's Court supervised the administration and disposition of the estate.

Until 1802 the Court of Chancery had the exclusive power to appoint legal guardians for minor heirs, and shared this power with the Surrogate's Court between 1802 and 1847.  Information on guardianships has been abstracted by Kenneth Scott, Records of the Chancery Court, Province and State of New York, 1691-1815 (New York:  1971).  (Scott abstracted data from Chancery orders and minutes in custody of the New York County Clerk's Office and the New York State Archives, series J0090 Orders in Chancery, and J0059 Chancery Minutes.)

Chancery minute books and filed decrees and papers contain much information on guardianships and on appeals from the Surrogate's Courts, through 1847. Unpublished descriptions and finding aids are available from the State Archives.

J0040-82, -85  Record of Foreign and Out-of-State Wills Proved, 1830-48 (3 vols.)

Contents:  Contains record of wills and proceedings in proof of wills.  Some original wills, as well as documents relating to these proceedings (e.g. depositions) are found in series J0057 In Re Papers.  Volumes are fragile.

Microfilm:  Genealogical Society of Utah film, found on reels 1-2 (of 12), available in NYS Library (includes card index to testators).

Indexes:  1) Index to testators at front of each volume; 2) William A. D. Eardeley, "Index to Wills of New York State from 1653 to 1815" (typescript, 1941), pp. 9-10.

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