South Africa Cape Province Probate Records

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South Africa > Cape Province Probate Records

Probate records are essential documents for research in South Africa. These records can include heirs and locations, property transfers, wills, and other important information.

Probate records were held under the jurisdiction for which they were created. The first probate records were created shortly after the Cape Colony was established in the 1650s. In 1834, the court system was revamped, with the probate records being created by the Master of the Supreme Court, under the old Cape Province. Prior to 1994, probate records for the three Cape provinces (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Western Cape) were recorded under this jurisdiction.

Indexes for the probate records are available in paper form at the Family History Library; see the catalog entry here.

The South African National Archives have also indexed these records online. To search the death notices, visit the National Archives index page for the Cape Town Archives Repository by clicking here. This index searches all types of records held within the Cape Town Archives Repository; to narrow the list for surname searches, type in "MOOC" as one of the search terms. Wills and inventories are catalogued under the 7/1 series, while liquidation and distribution records are catalogued under the 13/1 series.  The source (always shown as MOOC), as well as the volume number and reference, are essential in order to obtain a copy of the death notice. The reference should look something like this:

MOOC 7/1/502 Ref. 728 Andreas Jacobus Stephanus Kruger, year 1872

The wills 1917-1950 are filmed together with death notices; for these records, see the article about death notices found here.  Records prior to 1917 are not filmed, but must be obtained in person from the Cape Town Archives Repository in Cape Town, South Africa. They are located at:

Western Cape Provincial Archives and Records Service 72 Roeland Street Cape Town South Africa

If you are not able to obtain the record in person, the South Africa National Archives has provided a list of researchers at the link here.