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Archives of Manitoba

A Guide to Probate Records at the Archives of Manitoba

Probate records, including wills and estate files, for Manitobans are available at the Archives of Manitoba. This guide is intended to explain how to find probate records that were filed in the Province of Manitoba between 1870 and 1984. For probate records filed after 1984, see the Manitoba Court Registry System, an online database available directly from Manitoba Justice.

Probate records include wills and estate files for individuals who died with a will, “testate”, or without a will, “inteste”. Probate files are usually created and maintained by the court nearest the residence of the deceased person or the executor of the will. The contents of the file may vary. Most contain a copy of the will, if it exists. Prior to 1973, legal instruments such as grants of probate and letters of administration were filed separately in probate books. After 1973, these instruments are kept with the estate file.

Getting Started

Finding probate records in the Province of Manitoba involves a multi-step process that requires the deceased’s name and the year that the estate was probated.

It also helps if you know where the estate was probated. Probate files are usually created and maintained by the court nearest the residence of the deceased person or the executor of the will.

If the estate was probated in the Winnipeg (Eastern) Judicial District, Brandon (Western) Judicial District, Dauphin Judicial District, the Morden (Southern) Judicial District (prior to 1966),  Portage la Prairie (Central) Judicial District or the St. Boniface Judicial District, proceed to Section I.

If the estate was probated outside of the Winnipeg (Eastern) Judicial District, Brandon (Western) Judicial District,  Dauphin Judicial District, the Morden (Southern) Judicial District (prior to 1966), Portage la Prairie (Central) Judicial District or the St. Boniface Judicial District, or if you do not know the judicial district in which the estate was probated, proceed to Section II.


Section I. Finding an estate file where an online index exists

Step #1: Determining the Estate File number

Locate the estate file number or the book and folio number of the documents you are trying to find by searching the online index noted below.  The entries are organized roughly in alphabetical order by last name.

With the estate file number, or the book and folio number, proceed to Step #2 in order to find the location of the estate file.

Step #2: Finding the Archival Location of the Records

Using the estate file number obtained in Step #1, search the Keystone Archives Descriptive Database to find the location of the file. The listings are arranged chronologically by the year the probate was granted.

Search Keystone:

  1. Enter “estate files” in the Keyword search.

  2. Select the search result for “Descriptions of Archival Records”.

  3. Select the series title which includes the region in which the file was probated, e.g.  Brandon estate files, Minnedosa estate files, etc.

  4. Scroll to the bottom of the descriptive record for the list of accession numbers.  Click on the accession number associated with the year you are searching for to see the file lists.

  5. Click on the file range for which includes the ‘estate file number’.  Note location code.

Once you have the archival locations, contact the Archives of Manitoba to view the records.

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Section II: Finding an estate file where an online index does not yet exist

Step #1. Finding the Application Number

Search the Keystone Archives Descriptive Database for Surrogate Court application indexes in order to find the application number of the deceased.

Search Keystone:

  1. Search “surrogate court application indexes” in the Keyword search.

  2. Select the search result for “Descriptions of Archival Records”.

  3. Select “Surrogate Court application indexes”.

  4. Scroll to the bottom and select GR3728.

  5. Identify the microfilm reel number you need to begin your search.

Microfilm may be viewed in the Archives of Manitoba Research Room or on loan through the Microfilm Program.

  • Once you have the application number, proceed to Step #2.

Step #2. Determining the Judicial District

With the application number obtained from the application index in Step #1, search the Keystone Archives Descriptive Database for the relevant application register to find the judicial district in which the application was processed.

Search Keystone:

  1. Search “Surrogate Court application registers” in Keyword Search.

  2. Select the search result for “Descriptions of Archival Records”.

  3. Select “Surrogate Court application registers”.

  4. Scroll to the bottom and select “GR3750”.

  5. Identify the application register which includes the ‘application number’ for which you are looking.  Click on the entry and find the microfilm number you need to continue your search.

Microfilm may be viewed in the Archives of Manitoba Research Room or on loan through the Microfilm Program.

  • If the estate was probated in the Winnipeg (Eastern) Judicial District, Brandon (Western) Judicial District, Dauphin Judicial District, the Morden (Southern) Judicial District (prior to 1966), the Portage la Prairie (Central) Judicial District or the St. Boniface Judicial District, proceed to Section I.
  • If the estate was probated in another region, proceed to Step# 3.

Step #3. Determining the Estate File number

To find the location of the legal instruments and the estate file numbers, browse the Judicial District indexes located in the Keystone Archives Descriptive Database.

Search Keystone:

  1. Enter “judicial district indexes” in Keyword Search.

  2. Select the search result for “Descriptions of Archival Records”.

  3. Select the entry which includes the district for which you are looking, e.g. Dauphin Judicial District indexes, St. Boniface Judicial District indexes.

  4. The indexes are listed alphabetically and will provide you with the file numbers for estate files, and the book and folio number of the legal instruments. Scroll to the bottom to select an accession number which corresponds to the time period for which you are looking.

  5. Note the location code and/or microfilm number.

File listings may be found in the Keystone Listings Database.

Microfilm may be viewed in the Archives of Manitoba Research Room or on loan through the Microfilm Program.

  • To find the legal instruments using the book and folio number found in the Judicial District Index (pre-1973 files), proceed to Step #4a.
  • To identify the location of the estate file using the estate file number found in the Judicial District Index, proceed to Step #4b.

Step #4a: Finding Archival Locations for Probate Records filed before
1973
*:

Use the information found in Step #3 to search the listings of the regional probate books below to find the archival locations for the various legal instruments issued prior to 1973*.  File listings may be found in the Keystone Archives Descriptive Database.

Regional Surrogate Court Probate Books

The Archives of Manitoba has probate books from the following regions:

  • Brandon (Western Judicial District)
  • Dauphin Judicial District
  • Minnedosa (Northern Judicial District) 
  • Portage la Prairie (Central Judicial District)
  • St. Boniface Judicial District

Search Keystone:

  1. Enter “Regional Surrogate Court Probate Books” in Keyword Search.

  2. Select the search result for “Descriptions of Archival Records”.

  3. Scroll to the bottom and select the district you wish to search.

  4. Scroll to the bottom of the descriptive record and select the accession number which corresponds to the years for which you are looking.

  5. Note location code.

Once you have the archival locations, contact the Archives of Manitoba to view the records.

*After 1973, legal instruments were filed with the estate files.

Step #4b: Finding Archival Locations for Probate Records filed after 1973*:

Search the Regional estate files listings in the Keystone Archives Descriptive Database for archival locations using the estate file number found in Step #3.

Regional Estate Files

The Archives of Manitoba has estate files for the following regions:

  • Brandon (Western Judicial District)
  • Dauphin Judicial District
  • Minnedosa (Northern Judicial District) 
  • Portage la Prairie (Central Judicial District)
  • St. Boniface Judicial District
  • Morden Judicial District estate files
  • The Pas Judicial District estate files

Search Keystone:

  1. Enter “regional estate files” in Keyword Search.

  2. Select the search result for “Descriptions of Archival Records.

  3. Scroll to the bottom and select the region for which you are looking.

  4. Scroll to the bottom of the descriptive record and select the Accession Number which corresponds to the years for which you are looking.

  5. Click on the file range which includes the ‘estate file number’.  Note location code.

* Prior to 1973, legal instruments were filed separately from the estate files.

Step #5: Once you have the archival locations, contact the Archives of Manitoba to view the records.

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