What are Will Books?
Will Books consist of copies or transcriptions of the complete texts of wills probated by the courts. The wills are accompanied by certifications of authenticity and of filing, signed by witnesses and clerks of court. Will books do not contain original wills. Original wills are found in probate case files.
We have Will Books for most* Minnesota counties, though the dates covered by the books varies by individual county. The earliest wills date from 1849 and the most recent are from the mid-1980s. To request a copy of a will from a Will Book, please follow the instructions below.
How do I order a copy?
- Search for a will in the online index to Minnesota Will Books (1849 - 1985). This index--and indexes to some other Minnesota genealogical records--are available online, for free, through FamilySearch.org.
- Use the information you find in the index to complete the Will Book Copy Request Form. Staff will search for one will per request form.
- The following information is required on the form and incomplete orders will be returned:
- Name: The full name of the deceased
- County: County where the will was filed, listed as “Event Place” in the online index (Please note that we do not have the Will Books for Hennepin, Marshall, or St. Louis counties.*)
- Volume: Volume number, letter, or full title, listed in the index as "Source Reference"
- Digital Folder #
- Image #
- Number of Images
The following information may or may not be present in the index, but please include it whenever possible:
Year of Will: listed in the index as "Event Year"
Send the completed form with payment information via U.S. Mail, fax, or email. (Email is not usually recommended due to security issues.) Shipping address, fax number, and email address are on the bottom of the form.
- Prepayment is required and non-refundable
- The $9 fee includes traditional shipping costs
- There is an extra $3.00 fee if you would like your order faxed or emailed.
- Credit/debit card is the preferred method of payment, but we can also accept checks and money orders. If paying by check, make the check payable to the Minnesota Historical Society
- Members of the Minnesota Historical Society receive a 10% discount. Visit the Membership page to find out more about becoming a Society member.
- Will Book Requests are completed on a first-come-first-served basis
- Turn-around time can be as much as 30 business days if we are busy, dating from the receipt of payment
- Copies will be sent via first class US Mail, unless a fax or email delivery is specified on the order form.
* If you are interested in obtaining a will filed in Hennepin (including Minneapolis), Marshall, or St. Louis (including Duluth) counties, please contact that county’s court records or court administration department.