In this series of blog posts, we are travelling west across Canada looking at probate. This post we're looking at Manitoba and Saskatchewan. If you're just joining in, you an find earlier posts here:
Part 1 gives a short overview of probate
Part 2 looks at Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island
Part 3 looks at Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
Part 4 looks at Quebec and Ontario
The probate process in Manitoba officially started in 1871. It falls under the Probate Court division of the Court of Queen's Bench. There are some earlier probate and wills records before 1871, but they are much fewer. Each regional courthouse is responsible for the keeping on records for their particular area. These are routinely transferred to the Archives of Manitoba under the following criteria:
- Records over 60 years old from the Eastern Judicial District in Winnipeg
- Records over 20 years old from outside of Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Courthouse has a central index. The indexes are divided by year, then alphabetically. A search can be requested, but you will need to provide the deceased's name and date of death. Copies of some of these indexes are also at the Manitoba Archives. The Manitoba Archives' website has a great explanation on the two step process in obtaining probate here.
Some other resources for finding probate and wills are:
1. 1763-1921 Wills of Hudson Bay Company officers are held at the HBC Archives, part of the Provincial Archives
2. Family Search has the searchable online collection Manitoba Probate Files, 1871-1930. They also have several microfilms listed here.
3. Ancestry has the same collection as Family Search, but it is browse only by district.
Probate cases go back to 1883. Like Manitoba, probate cases are handled by the Court of Queen's Bench in Saskatchewan. Now, I have read conflicting information on these records. Some sources say that records pre 1930 have been transferred to the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, while others have said that they are all still in the custody of the individual courthouses. If indeed older records have been transferred to the Archives, then they can only be accessed onsite. They does not seem to be an inter library loan program, and I could not find anything on their website suggesting they have been digitized.
In any case, there is a central index of all the province's probate files located at the Registrar's Office at the Regina Courthouse. By looking at the indexes, you can find out whether your ancestor's estate was probated, and where. The process for getting a search done, and fee schedule is on the Saskatchewan Law Court's website here.
Some other sources to get probate information:
1. Family Search has the browse only collection Saskatchewan, Judicial District Court Records, 1891-1954. These are the docket books and indexes from the central registry in Regina.
2.Family Search also has a browse only collection called Saskatchewan, Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931. These cover the entire province. Narrow your search first by district, then year, then file number.
Next post we will look at Alberta and British Columbia