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Please note the administrative history information provided on the State Records Authority website is limited in scope and is not intended to be exhaustive. The administrative histories for government agencies found on State Records’ website are intended to provide general information relating to a government body or agency, changes to organisational structure, governance, purpose and may also include details of relevant information and changes made to it from time to time. Major structural or functional changes are generally included to assist in understanding the context of the records held as State archives. For specific information the relevant government body or agency should be contacted directly.

Series number: 13661 
Title: Will books 
Start date: c. 01 Jan 1800 
End date:  
Contents start date: c. 01 Jan 1800 
Contents end date: c. 31 Dec 1984 

Descriptive note:

Wills for which probate has been granted are deposited with the Registrar of the Probate Office pursuant to Sections 30 and 31 of the Wills, Probate and Administration Act (Act No.13, 1898). The original will and accompanying documents are held in Probate packets. Probate packets are restricted to members of the deceased’s family or their legal representatives. However, copies of the wills, dating from about 1800 onwards, are held in the Will books.

As with the Probate packets, the Supreme Court of New South Wales divided this series of will books into groupings, which they have called “series”. After extensive research and discussions with the Supreme Court no definitive answer as to why these records have been divided could be ascertained. Possible reasons for the division include: statutory change, agency or administrative change and sheer size of the “series” (e.g. “series” 4 has over one million wills). The “series” are divided as follows: Series 1- c.1800-May 1873, Series 2- 1873-1876, Series 3- 1876-c.1890, and Series 4- c.1890-1985.

This series consists of volumes containing copies of original wills. Prior to 1924 the copies of the wills were handwritten, between 1924 and 1952 the copies were typed. In 1952 the copies were altered to photocopies. For about twenty years at the beginning of the twentieth century, the handwritten copies were compiled by members of the Australian cricket team. This was evidently because a senior officer of the Court was also Chairman of the Cricket Board, and arranged the work for the winter months.

These volumes are divided into four series and are arranged numerically within each series.


Home location: This series is held at Western Sydney Records Centre. 
Format: Volumes 


Arrangement: Various - See Descriptive Note 
Bridging aids: State Records NSW Fiche 5016-5269 and 5305-5307 are a copy of the Supreme Court's Probate index, 1880-1985 - available in State Records reading room. 
Copies: State Records Microfilm Reel 1856 provides a copy of Series 1 No.1700-No.1792 and State Records Microfilm Reels 4043-4384 provide a copy of Series 1 No.1793 to Series 4 No.397200 (with gaps) available in State Records reading room. 
Item control status: Item lists are not available electronically. Please contact reading room for assistance. 

Creating agency:
1042 Court of Civil Jurisdiction  01 Jan 1800 ~ 04 Feb 1814 
1043 Supreme Court of Civil Judicature  04 Feb 1814 ~ 13 Oct 1823 
1061 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction [Supreme Court of New South Wales]  13 Oct 1823 ~ 14 Dec 1890 
1062 Probate Jurisdiction (1890 - 1970) / Probate Division (1970 - ) [Supreme Court of New South Wales] starts 15 Dec 1890 

Current agency responsible:
23 Supreme Court of New South Wales  

Preceding series:

Succeeding series:

Related series:
13502 Case papers relating to the granting of probates and letters of administration [Supreme Court]  
13660 Probate packets  
13752 Registers of letters received from private persons and officials  

Controlling series:

Controlled series:

Activities documented by this series:
10 Probate Proceedings starts 01 Jan 1800 

Persons creating this series:

Record items in this series:
13 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-4100 to Series 1-4476  
14 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-4477 to Series 1-4865  
15 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-4866 to Series 1-5180  
16 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-5181 to Series 1-5474  
17 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-5475 to Series 1-5826  
18 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-5827 to Series 1-6178  
19 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-6179 to Series 1-6568  
20 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-6569 to Series 1-6977  
21 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-6978 to Series 1-7327  
22 Will Book of Wills for Series 1-7328 to Series 1-7750  
Total 3,174 Items. Click here to see all...

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