South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

This collection of estate files from Orange Free State, South Africa includes the period from 1951 to 2006.

Each estate file contains several documents; some files are extensive as others are smaller in size. These files may include death notices, death certificates, other vital records, wills, liquidation and distribution accounts, duty accounts, inventory of goods, acceptances of trust as executor, letters of administration, notary public documents, pension documents, bank and stocks documents, valuation of properties, other assets, etc.

Documents are written in English and in Dutch. The estate files are arranged in chronological order and by the first letter of the surname. Groups of documents often span many years beyond the year of death of the deceased. The death notice is the most important piece of genealogical information in these files; it typically contains the full name of the deceased, date and place of death, birth place, age at death, nationality, parents, occupation, residence, marital status, spouse(s), children, if the deceased left any goods and a will. Cause of death is found only on the brief death certificate.

Estate files, created at the Master of the Supreme Court in Orange Free State, South Africa commenced in the year 1951. Not all deceased persons have estate files. Estate files are not opened for those who owned little or no assets, therefore these records cover only a certain percentage of the population. Estate file prior to 1951 may be found in the relevant Archives Repositories.

The purpose of the estate files at the Master’s Office is to administer the liquidation and distribution of the estates of deceased persons, administer trust property given under the control of any person by a deceased person, administer the property of minors and persons under curatorship, administer derelict estates, regulate the rights of beneficiaries under mutual wills made by any two or more persons. The Master’s Office keeps records for every estate within the jurisdiction of the Office, and documents are available for inspection and certified copies may be made for documents.

The fullness and accuracy of the information appearing on death notices is dependent on the knowledge of the informant, often the next-of-kin. If the informant is not a family member, details may be sketchy. However, additional information may be added after the completion of the death notice, which is a reason for seeing all the papers in the file.

For a list of records by dates and localities currently published in this collection, Browse link from the collection landing page.

Record Content

Death notices usually contain the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Age of deceased in months and years
  • Birth place and nationality
  • Date and place of death
  • Names of parents
  • Occupation and residence of deceased
  • Marital status and date of last marriage
  • Name of surviving spouse
  • Names of children of deceased

Will records usually contain the following information:

  • Full name of deceased
  • Name of spouse
  • Names of heirs and family members
  • Date and place of will
  • Names of witnesses

How to Use the Record

To search the death notices, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Place of residence
  • Approximate year and place of death

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

To search the collection image by image,
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Year"
⇒Select the appropriate "File Number" which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Dutch and English. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:

Dutch Genealogical Word List

General Information About These Records

The documents inside the estate files give much information about the deceased including personal details, those of his/her spouse(s), children and other beneficiaries. Addresses often also give clues to the researcher about where to find relatives of the deceased. It is suggested to look at all the documents in the file, not simply the death notice and will.

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Don't overlook FHL Place South Africa, Orange Free State items or FHL Keyword South Africa, Orange Free State items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see South Africa Archives and Libraries.

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information (often called citing your sources). This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

"South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951-2006." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2014. Citing The Master of Supreme Court. Master of the Free State High Court, Bloemfontein.


Record citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951-2006.


Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951-2006.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 12 December 2014, at 22:39.
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