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Probate Records

Topical Guide to New York Probate Records

This topical guide serves to direct researchers to probate documents from specific time periods and (in some cases) from various regions of New York State. Each category of documents (e.g. "Wills") is broken down into one or more sets of geographical and chronological parameters. (These parameters are derived from the complex jurisdictional and organizational history of probate courts in New York, summarized in this leaflet.) Each set of parameters is followed by New York State Archives record series numbers and page numbers in this leaflet, and, where appropriate, by references to major custodians of related records.

This is a simplified guide to record series and custodians, and is meant for quick reference. The researcher should carefully read the brief descriptions of record series in this leaflet. Fuller descriptions are available through our online finding aid search.


New York City (Manhattan), 1665-1879

J0038-92J0043-92J1038-92 J1043-92 J2043-92

New York Colony (Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester), 1665-1783

J0038-92J0043-92J2043-92; wills for small estates may be recorded in county clerk's offices

New York Colony (north of Westchester), 1665-1776

J0038-82J0043-92J2043-92; wills for small estates may be recorded in county clerk's offices

New York State, 1778-1787


New York State, 1787+

Surrogate's Court in each county

Wills devising real estate, 1786-1829

J1043-92J0041-82J2041-04J0020-82; also recorded in Surrogate's Court and in county clerks' offices

Out-of-state wills, 1787-1966

J0043-85J0039-85J1043-92J0040-82, -85B0081-48, -78, -87, -92

Estate Inventories

New York Colony (New York City, Long Island, Westchester), 1665-1708

J0043-92; New-York Historical Society (New York City)

New York Colony (north of Westchester), 1666-1776


New York Colony, ca. 1730-1753


New York State, 1779-1786


New York State (north of Westchester), 1778-1823

J0301-82; New York City Municipal Archives

New York State, 1787-1964 (seldom filed after ca. 1900; statutory provision repealed in 1964 )

19802-78, -97; also Surrogate's Court in each county; local historical society in a few counties (some courts have discarded old estate inventories)

Administration Papers

New York Colony, 1665-1776

J0043-92 J1032-04J1033-04J0033-82; New York County Surrogate's Court

New York State, 1778-1823

J0039-85J0039-04J0033-82J0032-83, -85

New York State, 1787+

Surrogate's Court in each county

Last updated
Mon, 2022-04-11 11:08