On one of my wife’s families, I  didn’t bother to get the will of the ancestor. In fact, I never looked for it. The records weren’t microfilmed and I already knew “everything” about the family from other records. If there was a will, it wasn’t going to tell me anything I didn’t already know anyway.


The will was short–“everything to my wife.” The order probating the will mentioned all the heirs, including a child in a mental institution, complete with the institution’s name and address.

If possible, don’t leave records ignored because you “know everything.” There still may be clues in those materials.



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  1. Yes! In Queensland our probate files often include the original will, various affidavits (often with useful information such as names, addresses and occupations of beneficiaries and their spouses at the time the testator died), an inventory, and (from about the mid-1890s onward) a death certificate. Occasionally there are other certificates or even a photograph of the deceased.

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