Scope and Content Note

This series consists of documents relating to the administration of estates, filed with or issued by the provincial Prerogative Court and the Court of Probates. Chapter 27 of the Laws of 1692 gave the Royal Governor as head of the Prerogative Office or Court ultimate authority in all matters of probate of estates. This authority was transferred to the Court of Probates by Chapter 12 of the Laws of 1778.

The types of records included in this series are letters of administration, performance bonds of administrators and executors, renunciations of executorships, accounts of administrators and executors, caveats preventing the probating of a will or appointment of an administrator, wills, property inventories, testimony, affidavits, depositions, appeals from county Surrogate Courts (after 1787), petitions, quietuses (a final discharge or acquittance, as from debt or obligation) removing executors, and citations and other court orders. Each file unit relates to one decedent and may contain one or more of the types of documents listed.

After 1787 the cases included in this series relate only to residents dying out-of-state, non-residents, and appeals from county Surrogate Courts. (Appeals were made pursuant to Chapter 38 of the Laws of 1787 which gave original jurisdiction in most matters of estate to the counties' Surrogate Courts). Included in this series is one 1674 will originally filed in the New York City Mayor's Court.

This series contains information on the appointment of administrators and executors, controversies over the administration of estates, the particulars of the death of individuals, property holdings and debts of decedents, the occupation of decedents, the decision of the court, and the names of decedents, heirs, administration, executors, and witnesses to wills.

A small number of papers were integrated into this series after the publication of Kenneth Scott's Genealogical Data From Administration Papers, From the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany (Middletown, N.Y., 1972). These items are listed separately. Also, some of the cases in this series relate to records found in series J0038, Probated Wills; J0301, Inventories and Accounts; and J0208, Orders and Decrees.