South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court, 1834-1989
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Cape Province, South Africa|
|Flag of South Africa|
|Location of Cape Province, South Africa|
|Record Type:||Probate Records|
|Languages:||Afrikaans and English|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing This Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
This collection includes records from 1834-1989.
South African probate records often include heirs, locations, property transfers, wills, and other important information. The most useful records in the collection are the death notices which give much more information than a death certificate. The probate records are contained in packets with a record cover identified by an assigned file number.
When a person died, the nearest relative or other connection should have completed a death notice and sent it to the Master of the High Court within 14 days of the death.
This collection includes several handwritten and typed indexes. You can use these lists to quickly scan for your ancestor’s name and where his or her records are located. The index includes the name of the person who died, the death dates, the name of the spouse, and the probate file number. The death notices and wills included in the probate files are hand-written. The death notices are on a pre-printed form.
The original probate records from the Master of the High Court in Cape Province, South Africa are located in the Cape Archives Depot, Cape Town.
Reading These Records
These records are in Afrikaans and English. For help reading these records see the following guides:
What Can These Records Tell Me?
The following information may be found in these records:
- Name of the deceased
- Birthplace of the deceased
- Age of the deceased
- Names of the deceased’s parents
- Occupation of the deceased
- Names of surviving or deceased spouses (with death date) if any
- Date and place of death
- Names of the children of the deceased
- Whether the deceased owned property
- Whether the deceased left a will
- Name of the informant
How Do I Search This Collection?
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of the deceased
- Location of residence upon death
Search The Index
View the Images
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Probate Records, 1834-1989. Click on camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?
Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.
- Whenever possible, look at the original record. It often has more information than the indexed record.
- Print or download a copy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed.
What Do I Do Next?
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Use the age to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in church or civil records for the person and other family members
- Use the information to find the person or family in prior census records
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
- The probate record may contain an inventory of personal property, and a list of who received the property
- Check for siblings, especially women, to determine if they married
- Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, either Civil Registration records or Church Records may be more useful
- Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as an ancestor and that the ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times
- Keep in mind that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
- Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation
- Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well
- Search the indexes and records of local genealogical societies
- Try different ways of searching the collection. For example, fill in just the given name or the surname. This will return a list of everyone with that name so you can browse through options
- Be aware that there may have been some transcription errors
Citing This Collection
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
- Collection Citation
- "South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court, 1834-1989." Database with images. FamilySearch. https://FamilySearch.org : 12 June 2018. Pietermaritzburg Archives (Formerly Natal State Archives), South Africa.
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.