Hawaii Probate Records
Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc.” Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. For further information about the probate process, types of probate records, analyzing probate records, and to access a glossary of probate terms, see United States Probate Records.
The circuit courts, from the time they were established, have kept probate records of Hawaii. Some records date from as early as the 1840s. No probate records exist for earlier eras, except for a few of the royal families. The Hawaii State Archives and the Family History Library have 141 microfilms of probate records from 1845 to 1900 and indexes from 1814 to 1917 (beginning on Family History Library film 1010689). Additional records are at the various county courthouses.
- Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."