Surrogates Court (Brooklyn)
Kings County (Brooklyn) Record Room 

Facility Director - Horace Neysmith, Supervisor 

Address - 
2 Johnson St (Supreme Court Building) 
Room 109 
Brooklyn NY 11201

(Cross Streets: Adams Street and Cadman Plaza ) 

Phone number      (718) 643-8016 

Hours of Operation : 

Monday- Friday  9:00am to 5:00pm
Closed Saturday & Sunday and all Legal Holidays 

Descriptions of Resources:

Surrogate's Court records, c.1785 to the present, include files of 
proceedings in probate, administration, guardianship and adoptions. 
In addition there are libers with copies of the recorded wills dating 
back to the 1700's. 

Finding Aids: 

Index card files located in this room are in alphabetical order of name. 
Persons with aliases are often listed under both names. 
(Maiden name may be listed on the card) Each card includes name 
of individual, file number, year filed and notations 
"P" (Probate) 
"LA" (Letters of Administration), 
"G" (Guardianship) or 
"SDB" (Safety Deposit Box) 

Index cards for cases filed between 1936/37 and 1951 also include 
date of death. Index cards for cases filed after 1951 include 
date of death and address of deceased. Index cards for guardianship 
files show date of birth. 

If there is a probate liber number on the card, the will can be 
found in the indicated volume. A copy of the will may also be 
in the probate file. 

Description of Facility: 

This is a government office. Table/Counter top space is provided 
with seating for four people. To order a file, fill out a request 
form found on the counter. Be sure to include the file number and 
the year of filing. There are two clerks available to pull files. 

Drawers of card files are centrally located in the Record Room and 
are available to the public. Will libers through 1924 are located 
on open shelves under the card files. Case files after 1970 are 
located behind the counter in this room. Earlier files are maintained 
in the basement and must be accessed by the staff. Requests for 
these earlier records should be batched so the clerk can make one trip. 

Fees/ Copies:

Photocopies can be made in this room for .15 cents a page. 
For mail requests (even when the file number is provided by the researcher) 
The fee is $20.00 if the record is less than 25 years old, and 
$53 if it is more than 25 years, plus $4.00 perpage.

Restrictions on use : 

Adoption records are closed and may be opened only by decision of the judge. 

Clerks may object to pulling large numbers of files from the basement. 
Be reasonable. A posted sign says the files will be retrieved from the 
basement at set times, i.e. 10:00am and 2:00pm.  Clerks will usually go 
down at other times as needed. 

Bring Pencils to take notes. A sign on the desk indicates ink/pens are 
not allowed and may not be used.

This information was obtained from : 

Genealogical Resources in The New York Metropolitan Area. 
Edited by : 
Estelle M. Guzik 

Compiled and published by The Jewish Genealogical Society  Inc. 
P.O. Box 6398
NY NY 10128

Copyr. 1989 

Surrogates Court is one of the oldest courts in NY State. It has 
it's start in the Dutch Courts of Orphan Masters
(1653-1658) and Court of Schout, Burghomaster and Schepens (1653-1664). 
By 1655 the Mayor's Court and the Perogative Court (In NYC) and the 
Court of Common Pleas heard Probate cases. From 1788-1823 the Court 
of Probates handled these cases. From 1787 on, each county had it's own 
office of the surrogate.Their powers expanded over the years and in 
1823 the Surrogates Court was created absorbing the Court of Probates. 

Surrogate's Courts are responsible for recording the transfer of 
property of deceased individuals who have prepared documents stipulating 
their wishes prior to their death. They handle all estate cases including 
probate and administration, conservetorship,guardianship, and adoptions. 
The types of records found in Surrogates Court include, supplemental 
case file records, case management records, financial records recording 
books and indexes. A case file may contain petitions, wills, orders, 
decrees, waivers, citations, letters, accountings, inventories, 
appraisals, tax files, briefs, responses, and records on appeal. 
Wills, orders, decrees are also indexed separately in recording books. 

This portion was taken from an Index pertaining to the holdings at the 
Municiple Archives in Manhatten . The Archives hold records for NYC 
which include some of Brooklyn's records. Aside from Vitals they hold 
Criminal and Surrogate Court records and a wealth of other records. 
Surrogates Court , General Index

For the completion of the administration of an estate pending before him , 
except that an order of the Supreme Court is required to transfer an 
action pending before that court. The court also has jurisdiction over 
adoption, and naturalization proceedings, Appeals from the surrogates 
court may be taken to the appellate division of the Supreme court. 

The surrogates court is located in the Hall of Records, Brooklyn and all 
records are kept there.

              General Indexes

705. (General Index), 

1787---- 300,000 cards in 72 f.d. (labeled by Color card index to 
(Filed-Papers All Proceedings), 
1924 --, entry 707; Misc (Proceedings), 1847-1923, entry 708 ; 
Misc-Unfinsished, 1847-1923, entry 710; (Pending Misc Proceedings), 
1924-- entry 712; Adoptions,
1847 --,entry 714 ; Probate Proceedings , 
1829-1923, entry 715 ; (Pending Probate), 1924---, entry 716; 
Probate Proceedings Unfinished, 1854-1923 entry 717 ; 
Surrogate's court minutes of Misc Proceedings, 1914-15 , 
1917 -- ,entry 723 ; Original Wills, 1829-1923,entry 729 ; 
Wills , entry 730 ; Exemplified (Wills), 1914 -23, entry 731;  
Rejected Wills , 1827-1923 , entry  732 ; 

Letters Testamentary ,1830 ----, entry 737 ; 
Administrations, 1817-1923, entry 740 ; 
(Petitions Pending Administration and Guardianship), 
1924 ---, entry  741 ; Letters of Administration, entry 742; 
Special letters of Administration,1832----,entry 743; 
Testamentary trustees, 1920-23, entry 745; 
Letters of Trusteeship,1928--, entry 748; 
Guardianships,1802-1923, entry  749 ; 
Letters of Guardianship, 1814--, entry 755; 
Letters of Guardianship Without bond, 1914-- entry 757 ; 
Infants over 21 years, 1916 --, entry 758; 
Ancillary Letters of Guardianship,1900--,entry 760; 
Guardians Annual Accounts , 1842-1923, 
entry 762 ; Final Accountings 1829-1923 , entry 775; 
Unfinished Accountings , 1877-1923, entry 777; 
(incomplete final accountings petitions), 1924 --, entry 778; 
Assignments and Mortgages of Interest - Recorded in Libers 1-11, 
1893-1916, entry 781 ; Bonds of Administration, 1900--,entry 787; 
Separate Bonds of Administration , 1893--, entry 789; 
Executors Bonds,1914--, entry 790 ; Bonds of Guardianship, 
1830--, entry 791; Separate Bonds of Guardianship , 1892-- entry 792; 
Misc Bonds, 1896--, entry 793 ; Inventories, 1894-1923 , entry 800; 
Transfer Tax (Proceedings), 1885-1923, entry 804; 
Pending Transfer Tax Proceedings, 1924--, entry 807;
Transfer Tax, 1885-1906. 

25. Surr. Ct. Act. sec. 38

26 .L. 1909, ch. 19 (Dom. Rel. L. ), sec .109 as added by L, 1938, ch. 606; sec. 112. 

27. U.S. Code (1934), title 8, sec, 357. 

28. Surr. Ct. Act. sec. 288, 309, 310. 

This portion taken from Inventory of County Archives of NYC , 
Kings County No. 2  1942. Obtained from Adriance Public Library, 
History Room, Poughkeepsie NY. 

The next portion sent to the list will contain Index concerning adoptions. 
This index was discontinued due to adoption law, but it will give you an 
idea of what they had. 

Case Papers
Section/ Entry 
Signed and Rejected Misc. Papers, 1936 --  350 Documents in 1 f.d.

Temporary file of original misc. proceedings unfinished or rejected 
for necessary corrections, which when finished or corrected are 
transferred to file papers, entry 707, showing name of decedent, 
title of proceeding, file number, date proceeding filed, and 
signature of surrogate. Arr. alph. by name of decedent. 
No index. Hdw. on pr. fm.    12 x 17 x 24. Rm. 25, in safe. 


714.  Adoptions, 1847--    18,000 documents in 1,644 d.f., 300 documents in 1 f.d.

Original papers in adoption proceedings, showing dates order of adoption 
and investigation of case filed, titles of proceeding, dates of petition, 
order, and consent for adoption, names of parents, infant, petitioners, 
and investigator,  date and nature of investigation, and signature of 
surrogate. Arr. Chron. by date order adopting infant filed. For index, 
see entry 705. Hdw. on pr. fm.  D.F. 10 1/4  x  4 1/4  x 14;  f.d. 14 x 16 x 25 1/2.
D.f., 1847- 1936, surr. va., rm. 2, sec. 4;  f.d., 1937--, rm. 25, in safe. 


715. Probate Proceedings, 1829- 1923 233,000 folders in 1, 784 d.f. 
(dated). 1924-- in (Filed Papers All Proceedings), entry 707. 

Folders containing all original documents in probate proceedings.  
On face of each folder appears date proceeding filed,  name of decedent, 
date of proceeding, and file number. Arr. Chron. by date document filed. 
For index see entry 705. Typed  10 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 14. Rm. 26. 

716.( Pending Probate), 1924--,  1,100 documents in 6 f.d.

Temporary file of original papers in probate proceedings to be transferred 
to filed papers, entry 707, after issuance of testamentary letters, 
showing file number, date and nature of document, and title of proceeding. 
Arr. numer. by file no.   
For index, see entry 705. Hdw. on pr. fm.    12 x 17 x 24. Rm. 25, in safe. 

717. Probate Proceedings Unfinished, 1854 - 1923.  2,325 envelopes in 31 d.f. 
(labeled by contained letters of alph.).   
1924 -- in (Filed Papers All Proceedings) , entry 707. 

Envelopes containing all original documents in probate proceedings 
where-in decrees of probate have not been granted. On face of each 
envelope appears name of the decedent. Arr. alph. by name of decedent. 
For index see entry 705. Hdw.,  typed.  10 1/4  x  4 3/4  x 14.  
Surr. va.,  rm. 2 , sec. 4. 

These portions obtained from Inventory of County Archives of NYC - 
Kings County No.2  1942. 
Adriance Public Library , History Room , Poughkeepsie NY. 

Postscript : 

Some of these records may also be obtained at Municiple Archives in Manhatten, 
If you cannot locate records in this facility or the Municiple Archives 
please contact the County Clerk's office to ask which repository would now 
be in possesion of the records. For whatever reason , at times records are 
moved to other jurisdictions or other facilities. Often fires , leaks and 
other causes are factors , the records are moved and then sometimes are 
not always put back in their original location. There may be copies of 
records in different places, etc. etc. Private facilities may also have
copies of records for their own use in different formats, not government 
documents maybe, but containing some of the same information. Sometimes 
this is the case with children's homes. They often have their own 
records Archives. 


644         papers (1924+) 2f, . For index, see 645.        
(480-81, 848-49. entries with related information) 

             sealed secret records of petitions,consents ,agreements, 
and reports of investigators. 
Includes cases on which no action has been taken. Separate portfolio 
for each case. Adoptions are carried out in the County Court, 
Children's Court or Surrogates Court. The investigation papers are 
sealed and remain in the custody of the court, but the orders granting 
adoption are filed with the County Clerk. Laws of 1873,chap. 830; 
(1887), 703; (1924), 323; (1935), 860. 

645 Card Index to (by adopted)  (1924+)  1f, G
This is a secret index not open to the public. 

646  Correspondence of Surrogate's Court  (1893) lv, I,G
Copies of outgoing letters written by clerk of court.

647  Court and trust fund register (1918+) 1v, I,G.          
(entry 30 related information )
Moneys paid into court or set up as trusts elsewhere. Single-line 
entries on ledger forms.

648 Creditors, Notice to (1896+) 2f, 6v, I (1906+), G, 
Basement Vault (2f)- 1906- Rm 125       
Order to file claims against estate with name of newspaper designated 
to publish. Printed forms.

649  Distribution, Books of  (1832-81) 2v, I (1852+) , G
Proceeds of sale of estates less expenses and fees and how balance distributed.

650  Dower admeasurements (1831-82) 1v, I, G.
(entry 653 related information )
Proceedings in litigation for dower rights , including appointment and 
accountings of appraisers.

Bldg (building) ; 
Rm (room); 
b (box); 
bu (bundle); 
e (envelope) 
f (file); 
v  (volume); 
- (to date) ; 
A (alphabetically arranged) ; 
I  (index in each volume); 
U (unindexed); 
G (good condition); 
F (Fair condition); 
P (poor condtion); 
PR (prior records); 
SR (subsequent records) . 

This portion obtained through Albany Archives . State library in Albany.  
Although Albany does not have Vital records for NYC ,They do however  
have a large amount of other resources which pertain to the whole state 
including NYC. One should not overlook them as a source of information. 
I called the State Library in Albany and they sent me a fairly 
large packet of their holdings and sources for people investigating 
their family history.  

Thanks to : Tabitha Hall
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