About the Surrogate's CourtIn New Jersey, the Surrogate's function has its beginnings in the earliest part of our colonial history. Since so much of our country's most fundamental legal offices can find their origins in the laws and practices of England, it is not surprising to know that the office of Surrogate can be traced back to when the Church of England had the duty of probating wills. When the Bishops were busy and needed assistance in handling the estates, they would appoint Surrogates to take their place. The word "Surrogate" is taken from the Latin word "Subregare," which means substitute.
When East and West New Jersey were combined in 1720, the Governor appointed the first Surrogate covering the entire colony of New Jersey. From 1720 through 1767, the colony was serviced by a number of Deputy Surrogates appointed by the Surrogate. In 1822, the laws in New Jersey were amended, granting the state legislature the power to appoint the County Surrogate. However, in 1844, the New Jersey Constitution prescribed that the Surrogate was to be an elected, independent constitutional officer in the county, no longer to be regarded as a deputy of the Governor or the appointee of the legislature. The Constitution of 1844 provided that the Surrogate was to be elected for a five-year term by the people of that county.
The British Governor of the colony of New Jersey had the responsibility for probating all wills and establishing the administration of all estates in the colony. In 1683 and 1698, statutes were enacted which required wills and letters of administration to be entered in the colony's public register. By the year 1693, the Governor of the colony of New Jersey had appointed the first "Surrogate" for East New Jersey as the Governor's appointed deputy. In 1713, wills were required to be proved and entered in one book of records and registered.
Today, by virtue of laws enacted since 1844, the responsibilities of the County Surrogate have been expanded. The Warren County Surrogate now has two major functions:
Note: For records prior to the formation of Warren County in 1825, you will need to check the records of the Sussex County Surrogate's Court for the period of 1804-1824. For estate records prior to this date, researchers will need to consult the New Jersey Secretary of State records for estates 1680s-1900.
- As Judge and Clerk of the County Surrogate's Court, the Surrogate is responsible for settling the estate of every county resident who dies individually owning any assets in New Jersey--whether or not that resident dies leaving a will. Therefore, the Surrogate reviews and probates wills and appoints Executors, Administrators and guardians of minors. In addition, the Surrogate administers and invests monies primarily for minor children who receive judgments in the courts in Warren County; and
- As Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part, the Surrogate dockets, reviews and schedules all actions pertaining to will contests, estate matters, accountings, mental incompetencies, guardianships of incompetents and all adoptions occurring in Warren County. Permanent records of all wills and other estate administration papers (1804-present) are filed in the Warren County Surrogate Court on microfiche. The records of the Surrogate Court are used by title searchers, genealogists and the public.
Source: The above text is adapted from informational pamphlets and websites of County Surrogate's Courts.
|Record Type||Description/Comments/Notes||FHL Film Number|
|General Indexes:||Index to probate records A-K 1825-1956
Index to probate records L-U 1825-1956
Index to probate records V-Z 1825-1956
Note: Post-1956 indices are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
|Will Books:||Wills, Volume 1: 1825-1840
Wills, Volumes 2-3: 1840-1864
Wills, Volumes 4-5: 1864-1879
Wills, Volumes 6-7: 1879-1889
Wills, Volume 8: 1889-1892
Wills, Volumes 9-10: 1892-1899
Wills, Volume 11: 1899-1901
Note: Post-1901 will volumes are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
& Renunciations) for Probate/Administrations:
|Petitions, Volume 1: 1871 - 1883
Surname Index: A - G H - P Q - Z <--NEW Online Index
Petitions, Volume 2: 1883 - May 1890
Surname Index: A - H G - P R - Z Online Index COMING SOON!
Petitions, Volume 3: May 1890 - December 1920
Surname Index: A - H G - P R - Z Online Index COMING SOON!
Note: Post-1921 Application for Probate volumes are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
|Estate Inventories:||Inventories, Volumes 1-3: 1825-1842
Inventories, Volumes 4-5: 1842-1852
Inventories, Volumes 6-7: 1852-1862
Inventories, Volumes 8-9: 1862-1870
Inventories, Volume 10: 1870-1874
Inventories, Volumes 11-12: 1874-1882
Inventories, Volumes 13-14: 1882-1888
Inventories, Volumes 15-16: 1888-1894
Inventories, Volumes 17-18: 1894-1901
Note: Post-1901 Estate Inventory volumes are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
Bonds, Letters, Applications
|Administrators & Guardians bonds, v. 1-2 1861-1875
Administrators & Guardians bonds, v. 3 1876-1886
Administrators & Guardians bonds, v. 4-5 1881-1922
Administrators & Guardians bonds, v. 6 1895-1924
Note: Post-1924 Administrator's & Guardian's Bonds volumes are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
Letters of administration, v. 1-2 1825-1870
Letters of administration, v. 3-4 1870-1911
Note: Post-1911 Letters of Administration volumes are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
Application (Complaint) for Administration
Note: Warren County Application (Complaint) for Administrations are grouped together with the Application (Complaint) for Probate entries. See above section. Post-1921 volumes are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
See above Petitions #960,394
Assignees Volumes 1-2: 1865-1922
Guardians inventories & accounts, Volumes 1-2: 1850-1905
Receipts & discharges, Volumes 1-3: 1825-1867
Receipts & discharges, Volumes 4-5: 1867-1879
Receipts & discharges, Volumes 6-7: 1879-1894
Receipts & discharges, Volumes 8-9: 1890-1898
Receipts & discharges, Volume 10: 1898-1903
Note: Additional miscellaneous volumes are available in the Surrogate's Court record room.
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