· Victoria · Wills & probate

Victoria, Australia, Wills and Probate Records, 1841-2009

This collection became available on Ancestry on 9 January 2017.  I must admit, this collection had escaped my notice when it first appeared in the Recently Added and Updated collections, and I only noticed it in the last couple of days, as I have been going through the information I have for my ancestors, and checking for any additional records I can find.

This collection includes images of wills and probate files from Victoria up until 1924, as well as an index to the wills and probate files from 1925.  This collection is also available for free on the Public Record Office Victoria website.  Personally, I prefer the PROV website.  Firstly, because it’s free.  Also, each file is available to download as a PDF file, while on Ancestry there’s a separate image for each page. This makes it easy to miss a page, or to end up with the pages out of order.

Also, Ancestry doesn’t provide the complete Public Record Office Reference in the index entry (although it is in the file name, but most people change the file names to something easier for them to use) – Ancestry just provides the Item Number. However, there may be three separate “files” for the same item number, 1 for the Wills, and 2 for the probate. Although the Ancestry entries differentiate between Wills and Probate, there is no way to distinguish which series each “file” came from.

To demonstrate what I mean, these are the entries for my 2x great grandfather, Robert Harley;


The third entry is for the Will, while the other two files both say Probates



Not only it is difficult to make sure you have downloaded all the images for each file, it is hard to keep track of which file you’ve already downloaded.

It’s much easier to use the PROV website.

I first searched for his Probate Record



Although one of his probate records came up, the second one didn’t


I therefore changed the search parameter to include the item number, and this time both records came up.


Now, it’s just a matter of clicking on each entry, and downloading each PDF file, and then doing the same process for the Will.