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Wills & Estates

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According to English Common Law, the provisions of a will regarding real property (land) come into effect upon the death of the testator. If a wife is not mentioned in a husband's will, it is likely that she predeceased the testator. Here are some types of information that researchers may find in a will:

  • Real estate may be described, or an ancestor's signature on a will can be a unique souvenir that may be very useful for comparing with other documents.
  • A will may mention the names of children (not necessarily all children).
  • A bonus is finding a reference to married daughters or the full names of grandchildren or other relations.
  • If the wife is not mentioned in a husband's will, chances are high that she predeceased the testator.

Recommended Links

  • Ontario Court of Probate and Surrogate Court Records: Wills and Estate Files - A Pathfinder - Archives of Ontario explains how to find wills, usually within estate files, that were filed with the Court of Probate and Surrogate Courts between the years 1793 and 1963. The indexes and estate files themselves are not available on this website but it provides directions on how to determine which microfilm reels you need to use in order to find the estate files that you are seeking. These reels can then be consulted either in the Archives of Ontario reading room or borrowed through interlibrary loan.

Books & Print Materials

(BUR) refers to non-circulating items located in the Burlington History Room. To view these items, please present your BPL library card or other identification at the 2nd floor Information Desk, Central Library.

(RR) or Ready Reference, also (REF) or Reference, refers to an item that must be used in the library.

  • Surrogate Court Index of Ontario, Canada 1859-1900 - 24 vols - by June Gibson, 1988- and 2nd ed, 2005 - 929.3713 GIB (REF) - these are available for the following counties:
    • Halton
    • Lincoln and Welland
    • Wellington
    • Waterloo
    • Brant
    • Peel
    • Dufferin
    • Haldimand
    • Norfolk



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