Probate files now available

Over one million  probate records from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have been digitised and indexed in a joint project between Archives New Zealand Te Rua Maharao Te Kāwanatanga and FamilySearch. FamilySearch volunteers from around the world have helped out with the digitisation of these probate files.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organisation in the world, so this collaboration represents something very significant. New Zealanders can also search using the NZ version of FamilySearch.

Whilst seemingly of not much interest, probate files actually contain invaluable information for researchers and historians and are particularly useful for genealogists. Anyone who owned property and was of sound mind the right to leave a will. which is then used in the first part of the probate process. In additions to wills, probate files contain a wide range of different documents such as property records, death certificates and affidavits.

Archives NZ has information about probate files including a fact sheet about  probate files held in the Auckland office and another about Personal Identity

Ref: 4-7046, Sir George Grey Special Collections
You can search for probate files by inputting a name into Archway - the online system that Archives New Zealand uses to document government records in the context of their creation and use. The search results will bring up a list of documents which mention the name you inputted. When you find what you are looking for, click on "Order Details" to find the probate record number. Take note of this number and on Family Search's NZ Probate Records you can then find the range of record numbers that includes your record number. This may take a bit of work but you will be rewarded with a digitised version of the probate file.

Find out more about this project. The next project planned is the 'Intentions to Marry' files.

Auckland Libraries has in its heritage collections a wide selection of probate resources including probate files from around the world, as well as guides and indexes to probate files.


  1. This is FANTASTIC! As a researcher this is just awesome news. They are fantastic documents! Well done to everyone!


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