Bedfordshire Probate Records

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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Bedfordshire|Bedfordshire]]''  
 
''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Bedfordshire|Bedfordshire]]''  
  
The following article is about probate records in the county of Bedfordshire. For general information about English probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].
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== Getting Started  ==
  
<br>
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''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Probate records include [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]] and [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]]. This article is about probate records in Bedfordshire. For a general description of England probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].
  
== Description ==
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=== 1858 to the Present ===
  
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The term ''probate'' refers to a collection of documents, including [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]], [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]] (also called admons), [[I genealogical glossary terms|inventories]], and [[A genealogical glossary terms|act books]]. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.  
+
Beginning in 1858, the [[Principal Probate Registry|Principal Probate Registry]] had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.  
  
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. <br>
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=== Before 1858 ===
  
== Getting Started  ==
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Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Bedfordshire, follow these steps:
  
Follow these steps to look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
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==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
  
#Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived. <br>
+
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Bedfordshire. Search these indexes first:
#Go to the "Court Jurisdictions by Parish" section below.<br>
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#Click a letter or span of letters for your place. This opens an article showing a table of places and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.<br>
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#Follow the steps at the top of the table to search for a will.<br><br>
+
  
== Court Jurisdictions by Parish  ==
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Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384 - 1858) [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1]
  
==== Majority of the County  ====
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*Index of Bedfordshire probate records, 1484-1858 This includes {{FHL|703748|title-id|disp=indexes}} for the Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford, the Peculiar Court of Biggleswade and the Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard. Digital version at [http://www.origins.net/NWIWelcome.aspx National Wills Index] ($)
 +
*Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedfordshire. FHL films {{FHL|221664|title-id|disp=88007-88009}}
 +
*{{FHL|116542|title-id|disp=English wills, 1498-1526}} which are transcribed and many from the Archdeacon of Bedford
 +
*Bedfordshire wills, {{FHL|79682|title-id|disp=1480-1519}}
 +
*The Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard&nbsp;: persons named in wills proved {{FHL|1474249|title-id|disp=1701-1846}}
 +
*Index of Bedfordshire probate records,{{FHL|703748|title-id|disp=1484-1858}} The Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard
 +
*Wills and administrations, 1624-1858 See FHL fims {{FHL|291040|title-id|disp=95109 and 95100}}
 +
*Prebendal Court (Leighton-Buzzard) {{FHL|252871|title-id|disp=Probate records, 1537-1842 Index 1736-1846}}
 +
*{{FHL|4791|title-id|disp=Index}} to records of Lincoln Peculiar Courts with Peculiar of Biggleswade
 +
*Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, {{FHL|374857|title-id|disp=1559-1857, 1559-1857}} The Act books contain some Admon Grants from the Peculiar Court of Biggleswade
 +
*Some transcripts of Bedfordshire Wills at Lambeth and Lincoln {{FHL|124544|title-id|disp=1387-1570 v. 14}}
 +
*Bedfordshire wills {{FHL|132268|title-id|disp=1601-1652}} at probate registry Lincoln, England, all name index
 +
*Everton and Swineshead parishes have some references in the following court record Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, {{FHL|374857|title-id|disp=1559-1857, 1559-1857 }}<br>
  
Before 1858, every town and parish in Bedfordshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp; The court that had primary jurisdiction over most of Bedfordshire, with just a few exceptions, was the [[Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford]].&nbsp;
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Did you find a reference to a probate record?
  
==== Exceptions  ====
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*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.
 +
*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.
  
For a list of the Bedfordshire parishes that were exceptions to this, and the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, click [[Bedfordshire Probate Court Jurisdictions|here]]. <br>
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==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
  
== Bedfordshire Probate Courts  ==
+
Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
  
Most of Bedfordshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the [[Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford|Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford]]. The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts, which were the [[Court of the Bishop of Lincoln (Episcopal Consistory)]] before 1837, and the [[Court of the Bishop of Ely (Episcopal Consistory)]] starting in 1837.&nbsp; The courts should be searched in that order.&nbsp; The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] (and the appeals courts if necessary) should be searched last.
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Determine ''where'' your ancestor died. It is easier to find a probate record if you know whether the place where your ancestor lived or died is a [[P genealogical glossary terms|parish]]. To learn whether it is a parish, look it up in a gazetteer. Here is a link to the 1872 ''Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales'' online:
  
However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.  
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*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
  
*[[Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford|Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford]]
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The gazetteer will either tell you:
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln|Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln]]
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*[[Court of the Peculiar of Aylesbury|Court of the Peculiar of Aylesbury]]
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*[[Court of the Peculiar of Biggleswade|Court of the Peculiar of Biggleswade]]
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*[[Court of the Peculiar of Leighton Buzzard|Court of the Peculiar of Leighton Buzzard]]
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In addition, the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.<br>
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*A place is a parish, or
 +
*What parish it is a part of, or
 +
*What place it is near.
  
*Wealthy individuals<br>
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If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
*People who owned property in more than one county<br>
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*Military and naval personnel<br>
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*People who lived or owned property outside England<br>
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=== Appeals Courts  ===
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Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
  
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:
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==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish ====
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
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==== Majority of the County  ====
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
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The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.  
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Before 1858, every town and parish in Bedfordshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp; The court that had primary jurisdiction over most of Bedfordshire, with just six exceptions (see next heading), was the [[Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford|Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford]].&nbsp;
  
== Probate Indexes Online ==
+
==== Exceptions ====
  
Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384 - 1858) [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1]  
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There were six Bedfordshire parishes that were exceptions to this--Biggleswade, Billington, Eggington, Heath and Rich, Leighton Buzzard, and Stanbridge. To see the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over these parishes, click [[Bedfordshire Probate Court Jurisdictions|here]]. <br>
  
== Probate Indexes ==
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==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record ====
  
*Index of Bedfordshire probate records, 1484-1858 This includes indexes for the Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford, the Peculiar Court of Biggleswade and the Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard[http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=703748&disp=Index+of+Bedfordshire+probate+records%2C%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:  
*Archdeaconry of Bedfordshire. Court FHL films 88007-88009[http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=221664&disp=Probate+records%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*English wills, 1498-1526 which are transcribed and many from the Archdeacon of Bedford [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=116542&disp=English+wills%2C+1498%2D1526%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Bedfordshire wills, 1480-1519 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=79682&disp=Bedfordshire+wills%2C+1480%2D1519%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*The Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard&nbsp;: persons named in wills proved 1701-1846 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=1474249&disp=The+peculiar+court+of+Leighton+Buzzard%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Index of Bedfordshire probate records, 1484-1858 The Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=703748&disp=Index+of+Bedfordshire+probate+records%2C%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Wills and administrations, 1624-1858 See FHL fims 95109 and 95100 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titlefilmnotes&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=291040&disp=Wills+and+administrations++]
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*Prebendal Court (Leighton-Buzzard) Probate records, 1537-1842 Index 1736-1846 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=252871&disp=Probate+records%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Index of Bedfordshire probate records, 1484-1858 The Peculiar Court of Biggleswade[http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=703748&disp=Index+of+Bedfordshire+probate+records%2C%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Index to records of Lincoln Peculiar Courts with Peculiar of Biggleswade [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=4791&disp=Index+to+records+of+Lincoln+Peculiar+Cou%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1559-1857, 1559-1857 The Act books contain some Admon Grants from the Peculiar Court of Biggleswade [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titlefilmnotes&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=374857&disp=Probate+records+for+the+Commissary+Court++]
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*Some transcripts of Bedfordshire Wills at Lambeth and Lincoln 1387-1570 v. 14 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=124544&disp=The+Publications+of+the+Bedfordshire+His%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Bedfordshire wills 1601-1652 at probate registry Lincoln, England, all name index [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=132268&disp=Bedfordshire+wills+1601%2D1652+at+probat%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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*Everton and Swineshead parishes have some references in the following court record Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1559-1857, 1559-1857 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=374857&disp=Probate+records+for+the+Commissary+Court%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>
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== Estate Duty Records<br> ==
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*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
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*Visit the [https://www.familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library] or a [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|family history center]] and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below. <br>
  
Starting in 1796, a tax or death duty was payable on estates over a certain value. Estate duty abstracts may add considerable information not found elsewhere. Estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to [[Estate Duty Records]].<br>
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<br>
  
== Probates After 1857 ==
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== Bedfordshire Probate Courts ==
  
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the&nbsp;settlement of estates and all&nbsp;wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. For more information, go to [[Principal Probate Registry]].<br>
+
Most of Bedfordshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the [[Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford|Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford]]. The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts, which were the [[Court of the Bishop of Lincoln (Episcopal Consistory)]] before 1837, and the [[Court of the Bishop of Ely (Episcopal Consistory)]] starting in 1837.&nbsp; The courts should be searched in that order.&nbsp; The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] (and the appeals courts if necessary) should be searched last.  
  
<br>
+
However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction over certain parishes within the county. Click on a court name below to learn about the parishes they cover and&nbsp;their&nbsp;records and indexes.
  
{{Place|Bedfordshire}}
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*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln|Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Aylesbury|Court of the Peculiar of Aylesbury]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Biggleswade|Court of the Peculiar of Biggleswade]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Leighton Buzzard|Court of the Peculiar of Leighton Buzzard]]<br>
  
[[Category:Bedfordshire]]
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{{Place|Bedfordshire|Probate}}
 +
{{England Probate Records}}

Revision as of 17:06, 27 November 2012

England Gotoarrow.png Bedfordshire

Contents

Getting Started

Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Probate records include wills and administrations. This article is about probate records in Bedfordshire. For a general description of England probate records, click here.

1858 to the Present

Beginning in 1858, the Principal Probate Registry had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.

Before 1858

Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Bedfordshire, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Bedfordshire. Search these indexes first:

Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384 - 1858) [1]

  • Index of Bedfordshire probate records, 1484-1858 This includes indexes for the Court of the Archdeacon of Bedford, the Peculiar Court of Biggleswade and the Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard. Digital version at National Wills Index ($)
  • Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedfordshire. FHL films 88007-88009
  • English wills, 1498-1526 which are transcribed and many from the Archdeacon of Bedford
  • Bedfordshire wills, 1480-1519
  • The Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard : persons named in wills proved 1701-1846
  • Index of Bedfordshire probate records,1484-1858 The Peculiar Court of Leighton Buzzard
  • Wills and administrations, 1624-1858 See FHL fims 95109 and 95100
  • Prebendal Court (Leighton-Buzzard) Probate records, 1537-1842 Index 1736-1846
  • Index to records of Lincoln Peculiar Courts with Peculiar of Biggleswade
  • Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1559-1857, 1559-1857 The Act books contain some Admon Grants from the Peculiar Court of Biggleswade
  • Some transcripts of Bedfordshire Wills at Lambeth and Lincoln 1387-1570 v. 14
  • Bedfordshire wills 1601-1652 at probate registry Lincoln, England, all name index
  • Everton and Swineshead parishes have some references in the following court record Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1559-1857, 1559-1857

Did you find a reference to a probate record?

  • If yes, go to Step 4 below.
  • If no, go to Step 2 below.

Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died

Determine when your ancestor died. If you aren't sure, use an approximate date. 

Determine where your ancestor died. It is easier to find a probate record if you know whether the place where your ancestor lived or died is a parish. To learn whether it is a parish, look it up in a gazetteer. Here is a link to the 1872 Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales online:

The gazetteer will either tell you:

  • A place is a parish, or
  • What parish it is a part of, or
  • What place it is near.

If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.

Once you have identified the parish, go to Step 3.

Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish

Majority of the County

Before 1858, every town and parish in Bedfordshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.  The court that had primary jurisdiction over most of Bedfordshire, with just six exceptions (see next heading), was the Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford

Exceptions

There were six Bedfordshire parishes that were exceptions to this--Biggleswade, Billington, Eggington, Heath and Rich, Leighton Buzzard, and Stanbridge. To see the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over these parishes, click here.

Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record

Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:

  • Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
  • Visit the Family History Library or a family history center and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below.


Bedfordshire Probate Courts

Most of Bedfordshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford. The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts, which were the Court of the Bishop of Lincoln (Episcopal Consistory) before 1837, and the Court of the Bishop of Ely (Episcopal Consistory) starting in 1837.  The courts should be searched in that order.  The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury (and the appeals courts if necessary) should be searched last.

However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction over certain parishes within the county. Click on a court name below to learn about the parishes they cover and their records and indexes.