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by Dave Bantroch

The Archives of Ontario has an informative page relating to the Ontario Court of Probate and Surrogate Court Records: Wills and Estate Files which explains how to find wills (usually found in estate files) that were filed with the Court of Probate and Surrogate Courts between the years 1793 and 1957. Finding wills that were filed with Probate or Surrogate Courts is a two step process in which one must first consult name indexes to determine which reel(s) contain the actual estate files of interest, before consulting the estate files themselves. The Archives of Ontario site also contains a name index for some of the earlier estate records filed across Ontario, as well as a list of relevant microfilm reels held at the Archives.

For information regarding post-1957 estate records, researchers can contact:
Ontario Court (General Division) Estate Office, 415 Hunter Street, P.O. Box 70, Woodstock, Ontario N4S 7W5 (519) 539-6187

Researchers should also check with the Oxford County Land Registry Office in cases where no will can be found in the Court Records. A number of wills exist which have never been probated (and hence are not indexed as Court Records). This is especially true in cases where the deceased's estate consisted ONLY of real estate (e.g., farmers). The Oxford Land Registry Office is located at 75 Graham Street, Woodstock, Ontario, N4S 6J8 (519) 537-6287.