Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Wallace Hale's Early New Brunswick Probate, 1785-1835

Introduction Introduction | Name Index Name Index | Blacks, Freemen, Servants, and Slaves Blacks, Freemen, Servants, and Slaves | Women Women | Vessel Types Vessel Types | Counties Counties

In 1985 R. Wallace Hale began the work of writing abstracts of all case files registered with the various County Probates Court for the period from 1785 to 1835. Four years later, in 1989, his Early New Brunswick, Probate Records, 1785-1835, ISBN 1-55613-240-9, was published by Heritage Books, Inc.

The book was well received and deemed useful by genealogists and family historians. However it has been out of print for many years thus preventing many researchers from having access to this valuable source of information on early New Brunswick history. This searchable database will allow researchers to locate records through one main index searchable by family names. To provide more in-depth access three other indexes are provided: a) Black, Freeman, Servant, and Slave b); Women and c) Vessel.

The Database contains abstracts for 2,371 Probates files from every County Probate Court in existence in that period (1785-1835). Records for the period covered are missing or incomplete for some areas of the Province. From the surviving records, a breakdown of probate files by county was compiled. The numbers serve to show, to a degree, the more populous areas of New Brunswick.

Original spellings have been preserved in the abstracts of the estate records and variations in the spelling of names have been appropriately noted. The usual convention of enclosing dubious words in square brackets has been preserved throughout.

Wills and Estates

At the first sitting of the New Brunswick General Assembly, held at Saint John, on the third day of January, 1786, an Act for "the Public Registering of all Deeds, Conveyances and Wills, and other encumbrances which shall be made of or that may affect any Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, within this Province," and an Act "relating to Wills, Legacies, Executors and Administrators, and for the settlement and distribution of the Estates of Intestates," were among the first laws enacted.

The first Act provided for the creation of Registry offices in each county of New Brunswick, while the second Act decreed the form and manner in which estates of deceased persons, both testate and intestate, were to be processed.