Surrogate's Court


     Estates is the key word when it comes to Surrogate's Court; that, 
and supervising the administration of small estates.  In each county, 
a Surrogate "has power over administrators, executors, guardians and 
trustees of estates and all matters which may arise in such connection", 
according to Black's Law Dictionary.  First appointed in New York by 
the governor in 1692, Surrogates were responsible for administrating 
oaths.  A Surrogate's Court was established in each county in 1787.

DECREES OF FINAL SETTLEMENT. (1899-1929, not inclusive). 
8 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court. Printed and Typed.  Indexed.

     These records contain orders on how an estate was to be settled.  
A summary statement of the monies involved is given, including the 
value of the estate minus certain expenses, such as funeral costs, 
executor's fees and other debts owed.  Finally, the names of the heirs 
are listed with their shares of the estate.  The years 1906 to 1921 
are missing from this series.


RECORD OF INSTRUMENTS SETTLING ESTATES. 
(1903-1956, not inclusive). 18  Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Typed.

     This series records the fact that certain duties connected with the 
settlement of an estate were fulfilled, through the use of sworn statements 
by  persons, banks and corporations.  For example, a bank swears it paid 
the executor a fee from an account of the estate involved or an individual 
swears they have received their entitled inheritance.  
Also included are judges' dismissals of executors upon the completion 
of their duties.  The years 1928 and 1951 are missing from this 
series.

GENERAL ORDERS. (1805-1950, not inclusive). 61 Volumes.
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County
Surrogate's Court. Early Records - Handwritten.  Later Records typed.  
Indexed.

     These records contain court orders for setting a court date, 
the disbursement of money and answering executor's requests, 
among other acts. Also included in this series are Orders for the 
Publication of Citations,by which the court ordered the executor 
to advertise in a local newspaper the court date of the settlement, 
so those having claim against the estate could be present.  
The following years are missing from this series: 
1823-1832, 1834-1835, 1839-1840, 1866-1867, 1886, 1897-1906, 
1914-1924 and 1929.


ORDERS FOR SPECIAL GUARDIAN. (1889-1958, not inclusive). 7 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's
Court.  Printed, Handwritten-early, Typed-later.  Indexed.

     This is a record of the court appointing special guardians for those 
minors (referred to as infants) who did not have a general guardian 
(see below), which was usually one of the minor's parents.  The 
following gaps appear in the records: 1896-1905 and 1928-1945.


ORDERS FOR GENERAL GUARDIAN. (1895-1951, not inclusive). 9 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court.  Printed, Handwritten-Early, Typed-Later.  Indexed.

     This series, which consists of standard printed forms with blank 
spaces for the inclusion of names and dates, records the court 
appointment of a minor's parent as his or her general guardian 
to protect the minor's interests in an estate.

EXECUTOR’S FEE LEDGER. (1840-1844). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Handwritten.

     This series lists the expenses an executor has incurred in the 
administration of an estate.  It must be noted that this series is 
difficult to decipher because of cramped handwriting and the 
use of many abbreviations.


RECEIPT OF TAXES. (1841-1852).  2 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is arranged in a chart with the following columns: 
Date, For Whom, Ward, Page, Property Base and Received.


RECEIPT BOOKS FOR WILLS. (1839-1958, not, inclusive). 7 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court.  Printed.  Indexed.

     The Receipt Books simply state the fact that the Executor has 
received the will.  Each statement reads, "Received of Surrogate 
of Albany County, the original last will and testament' of [blank- space] 
left in the office of probate".  The years 1917 and 1945 
are missing from this series.


SALE OF REAL ESTATE. (1872-1950, not inclusive).  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Printed and Handwritten.

     This series gives information concerning the sale of the decedent’s 
real property in order to settle the debts of the estate.
The records contain many court orders, including orders for 
the administrator to appear in court and explain why property should 
not be sold to settle debts,orders to appoint a guardian to protect a 
minor's interests and orders to sell property, accompanied by a record 
of how the money was distributed.  Often there is a description of the 
land involved.  The years 1889-1895 and 1902-1909 are missing 
from this series.


ORDERS TO APPEAR FOR SETTLING ESTATE. (1906-1913). 2 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court. Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series consists of court orders directing the administrator to 
place an advertisement in a local newspaper informing anyone who 
wishes to make a claim against the estate to contact the administrator 
at his place of business.  Among the newspapers named were the 
Albany Times-Union, Altamont Enterprise, Albany Evening Journal and 
the Cohoes Republican.


DECREES ASSESSING TAX. (1905-1959, not inclusive). 26 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Printed and Typed.  Indexed.

     This series consists of court orders appointing an appraiser to 
appraise an estate for taxation.  These records are important because 
they contain the exact date of death of the deceased.  The following years 
are missing: 1924, 1951, 1959.

EXECUTOR, ADMINISTRATOR AND TRUSTEES BONDS.  
(1892-1954, not inclusive). 35 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Printed 
and Typed.  Indexed.

     Executors, administrators and trustees had to post bond as 
insurance of the faithful fulfillment of their duties.  This series is 
a record of those bonds organized in standard printed forms with
blank spaces for the insertion of names and dates.


ORDERS APPOINTING APPRAISER. (1905-1926, not inclusive). 
10 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany 
County Surrogate's court.  Printed and Typed. Indexed.

     This series consists of court orders in the form of printed 
statements directing the appraiser of an estate, to give notice 
to certain named persons when and where the appraisal will take 
place so they can be present.  Presumably, all persons named have 
an interest in the estate.


TESTAMENTARY: LETTERS OF TRUSTEESHIP. (1923-1929). 
1 Volume.  Arrangement: Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany 
County Surrogate's Court.  Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is arranged in a chart with the following 
labeled columns: Date of Filing, Name of Testator, Trustees, 
Address of Trustees, Will Probated, Decree-Order-Instrument, 
Date filed, Bond and Remarks.  Usually the remark column states
 "no bonds required".


DATES OF RETURN PROBATE. (1880-1925). 1 Volume. Arrangement. 
Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     The information in this series is arranged in chart form with the 
following labeled columns: Name, Date, Book and Page.

PROBATE OF WILLS. (1944-1948). 3 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Printed and Typed.  Indexed.

     This series is a record of the court requiring "proper parties" 
to appear in court on an appointed date to ascertain if there 
are any reasons a will should not be admitted to probate or if 
there are any objections to the named executors.  
The name of the executor, the witnesses to the will and all 
those present at each hearing are recorded.


LETTERS TO GUARDIANS. (1876-1943, not inclusive). 4 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court. Printed and Handwritten.

     These records are similar to the Orders for Guardianship, but 
in addition to appointing a guardian, they also contain orders for the 
guardian to appear in court on an appointed date and to post bond.  
The years 1882-1913 and 1928-1932 are missing.


GUARDIAN BONDS. (1890-I908, not inclusive). 6 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court. Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     These records are oaths sworn by individuals to validate certain facts.  
For example, the most common oaths are sworn statements that a person 
recognizes an individual's handwriting or a corporate seal.  Oddly, 
no mention of guardianship is present although one assumes there is some 
connection.  This series is also unusual in that it contains some court 
proceedings outside of Albany County.  The years 1904-1905 are 
missing from this series.

OFFICIAL BONDS. (1900-1901). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is basically the same as the Executors, Administrators and 
Trustees Bond except that, in this series, the deceased apparently 
died intestate.


RENUNCIATION OF EXECUTORS. (1893-1905). 1 Volume.
Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     As its name suggests, this is a record of persons who renounce 
their named appointment as executor of a will.  
The Renunciation is witnessed by the Commssioner of Deeds.  
The renouncing executor's name and city of residence are recorded.


LIST OF INVENTORY: INDEX TO INTESTATE ESTATES. (1850-1891). 
1 Volume.  Arrangement: Alphabetical. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.

     This series basically consists of an index with names and numbers.  
The location of the records of each  estate has been changed, 
so this index is no longer useful.


INDEX TO TAXABLE TRANSFERS OF PROPERTY. (1850-1918). 1 Volume. 
Arrangement: Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series contains only a list of names with no other reference.  
Most of the book is blank.

REAL ESTATE BOOKS. (1852-1873). 2 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     These records differ only in name and form from the Sale of Real Estate 
series (see above).  They are a record of court orders to settle the debts 
of an estate by selling real property.


ESTATE ACCOUNT LEDGER. (1818-1836). 1 Volume.  
Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This is a record of expenses incurred and monies paid from each 
estate for items such as food, travel and taxes.


DAILY RECORD AND MINUTES. (1935-1957). 1 Cubic Foot. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Typed.  Indexed.

     These records are a summary of the proceedings of court cases. 
Included are the recording of orders, filing of papers, court appearance, 
as well as other information.


TRANSCRIPTS, AND STENO MINUTES. (1886-1957, not indusive). 
1 Cubic Foot.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Typed.  Indexed.

     These records, which include the testimony of witnesses and others, 
are complete transcripts of court proceedings.  Most cases appear to 
involve a dispute surrounding a will.  The following gaps appear in this 
series: 1887-1894, 1906 and 1908-1914.

JUDGEMENT DOCKET. (1896-1915). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: 
Chronological then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     The information in this series is arranged in chart form with the 
following labeled columns: Amount Deposited, Title of Action 
(usually settlement of account), Name of Party to 
Whom Ordered Pay, Order Filed (date), and Receipt Filed (date).  
This volume's unbound pages are now stored in a box.


RECORD OF TRANSFERS. (1927-1939, not inclusive). 2 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court.  Typed.  Indexed.

     This is a record of a distributee transferring his interest in an 
estate to another "for value received".  A distributee, according to 
Black's Law Dictionary, is one who is entitled by law to a share of 
an estate of someone who died intestate.  The following gaps in the 
series appear: 1928-1929, 1932-1934 and 1936-1938.


GENERAL ORDERS' APPRAISAL FOR TAXATION. (1895-1903). 7 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series contains court orders appointing appraisers to appraise 
the value of an estate for estate taxes.

ESTATE RECORDS. (1875-1927). 18 Cubic Feet.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Handwritten and Typed.

      This series consists of important papers concerning the settlement and 
management of estates, including estates held in trust for many years.  
Some estates' records consist of a file of a few inches, while 
others consist of a few boxes.  Included are checks, receipts, 
and inventories.
     Basically, records produced in the administration of the estate can 
be found in this series.  Some of the boxes are labeled "vouchers" 
while larger estates are labeled by their names (e.g. "The Brady Estate").  
There are also bound volumes labeled "Judicial Settlement" which are 
ledgers for large complex estates held in trust.  These ledgers hold 
financial information such as records of stocks bought and sold, 
dividend interest, cash receipts, etc.  There are also volumes labeled, 
"Account of Proceedings" which are similar to the 
Judicial Settlement Books.


GUARDIAN APPOINTMENT BOOKS. (1870-1887). 3 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is a register arranged in chart form with the following 
labeled columns: Name of Infant, Date of Birth, Name and Address of 
Guardian, Name and Address of Sureties, Date of Appointment, LIB 
("Liber"=Book), Page and Remarks.

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