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RESEARCH: New York State Probate Records, 1629-1971


Early New York state estate files (last wills and testaments, letters of administration) images are now indexed by county and surname, and the images viewable online for free.

 
Early New York state estate files (last wills and testaments, letters of administration) images are now indexed by county and surname online, and further, the images are now online! 

New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971
(images at FamilySearch are restricted past 1917)

 
Look up by County and by Surname here:
 
 
Take note of last two numbers of the reference number, these are the volume and page.
 
To browse images, FIRST log in to your free account at FamilySearch.org

Then, open the following link:

 
Go to the applicable county and find the correct volume in the index... make sure it says 'Wills' in the title.
 
Then navigate through the pdf documents to find the will by its Page number.  The page numbers are hand written at the top corner of each page.
 
DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS BELOW
 
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Here is an example.  Family lore suggests that the Canadian VV branch of John VanValkenburgh married to Hannah Patterson, had a will registered in Montgomery Co.  The children, born after the Revolution, were baptized in Fonda, NY or in Kinderhook - perhaps Fonda was the family's origin before the war.  An 1813 Will has been identified as the possible connection, registered by a John VV married to a Hannah, and executed in Canajoharie in Montgomery Co. (formerly Tryon Co.). 
 
If your family suspects a specific location of origin in NY, you can use these instructions to search for wills registered before and after the war.
 
1. Look up by County and by Surname (initial V for VanVolkenburgh) here:
 
 
 
 
2. Take note of last two numbers of the reference number, these are the volume and page.
 
 
3. To browse images, FIRST login to your free account at FamilySearch. org

Then use the following link:
 
 
Go to the applicable county and find the correct volume in the index... make sure it says 'Wills' in the title.
 
 
Note, in this case, there are two volumes in this single pdf, and you will be looking in Volume Two, in the first part.
 
4.  Using the Image Numbers and arrows above the document, navigate through the pdf document to find the will by its number.  The Image number is circled, and the will's Page number is hand-written at the top corner of each image.
 
In this example I have entered 100 as the image number, and see that the will's page number is 189.  We are looking for will page 310, so must go further.  You can enter a different image number, maybe 150, then use the arrows left or right to navigate to the correct will page.
 
 
5.  Incidentally, if the volume had been volume 3 instead of volume 2, the numbering for volume 3 would have re-started somewhere in the middle of the pdf.  Most of these pdfs have more than one volume on them.
 
6.  When you arrive at the correct page, look on both pages (left-right) for the start point where each Testator identifies him/herself.  The wills are written in succession without headings.  Use the arrows to continue onto subsequent pages.
 
7.  Use the navigation buttons to move the page, zoom in/out, print, or save the images.
 
8.  Copy the citation for the record... click 'Show Citation' link in the bottom left hand corner of each image.
 
 
This will produce text such as:
 
"New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24578-2872-25?cc=1920234&wc=M9S9-KYY:218504570 : accessed 21 Oct 2013), Montgomery > Wills 1810-1826 vol 2-3 > image 166 of 593.
 
In this citation is a direct URL to the page... you can directly link to this will at https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24578-22872-25?cc=1920234&wc=M9S9-KYY:218504570
 
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The following are some Vanvalkenburg wills already found for VV's in our family trees:
 
"New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-24588-3934-28?cc=1920234&wc=M9S9-K95:883434841), Schenectady > Wills 1859-1871 vol H-I > image 208 of 643.
John Valk (brother of Cornelius VV), Will, 1860, Rotterdam, Schenectady Co. 2 pages.
 
"New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24582-857-8?cc=1920234&wc=M9S9-L8L:n657812540), Saratoga > Wills 1791-1799, 1826-1836 vol 7-9 > image 66 of 611.
John Mahoney, Will naming Chloe Hodges-VV and David Mahoney VV, 1796, Saratoga, Saratoga Co. 3 pages.
 

Linked toHodges, Chloe; Patterson, Hannah Annatje; Valk, Johannes John; VanValkenburg, John Johannes; VanValkenburgh, David Mahany; VanValkenburgh, Jacob

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