Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Probate (i.e. wills) researching in England heretofore has been a fairly complex research process. For drawing accurate conclusions and connections to prior generations in especially the pre-1858 and/or pre-civil registration (pre-1837) era, few records do so any better than wills. Where extant, they often play a major role in genealogical provenance.

Recently, however, the 'difficulty' level has just been majorly adjusted and turned down a couple of notches! Why?
Did you know that just about all of England's counties now have indexes--most of them quite significant--available online?

Those who use and research in England's probate records--including wills, administrations/admons, inventories, codicils and etc., may also be very pleased to learn that (click "England", then click the county of interest, then "Probate") gives quick step-by-steps for researching in and pointing you to each rich online county resources to these records.

The key to using probate records is knowing in and by which probate court jurisdiction your ancestor's parish of residence at death--was covered. And the Wiki provides you not only with one but several (ranked) possible probate court jurisdictions in which the target parish comes under--critical information for deciding which court[s] to search. For example: The F.S. Wiki points you to David Wright's all-London Wills Index ~1750 to 1858 (now at FindMyPast).
The Wiki is updated with similar information on all new critical online resources researchers need to more quickly locate wills, by displaying and sharing links to these online indexes to wills (and other records). And the best part? Most of them are free or at low cost to you.

Thanks to the Wiki, you can easily determine that most England counties now have online indexes to wills, admons and other probate records. Amazingly, only a few counties do not offer much online, but which is constantly changing. 

Current online Internet offerings, would you believe, renders finding probate records in England significantly easier, thus making research in original probate records themselves, a lot more fun!

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