Cheshire Probate Records

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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Cheshire]]''  
 
''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Cheshire]]''  
 
For an explanation of probate records in England, click [[England Probate Records|here]].
 
  
 
== Getting Started  ==
 
== Getting Started  ==
  
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The Post-1857 Probate Records section below contains links to additional information about the records of this court.  
+
''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 Cheshire. For a general description of England probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].  
  
To look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
+
=== 1858 to the Present  ===
  
#Go to the 'Cheshire Probate Courts' section below and click on&nbsp;a court link&nbsp;to learn about the records.
+
Beginning in 1858, the [[Principal Probate Registry|Principal Probate Registry]] had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.  
#Go to the 'Probate Indexes' section below and learn about indexes.&nbsp;Search the indexes.  
+
#<br>
+
  
The whole of Cheshire was under the jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory).
+
=== Before 1858  ===
  
== Cheshire Probate Courts  ==
+
Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Cheshire, follow these steps:
  
Here is a list of the pre-1858 ecclesiastical courts that had some probate jurisdiction over Cheshire.&nbsp; Click on a court name to learn more about records.  
+
==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
  
*[[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]]
+
Cheshire's probate jurisdictions are well-covered with indexes. Follow these steps for accessing&nbsp;some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Cheshire. Search these indexes first:
*[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
+
*[[Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York]]
+
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]]
+
*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
+
  
==== Appeals Courts  ====
+
1. First search each index (see listed below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the index entry such as the year (or date of the will or admon), the page or folio number and town or parish listed:
  
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:  
+
*A&nbsp;comprehensive and county-wide [http://archivedatabases.cheshire.gov.uk/RecordOfficeWillEPayments/search.aspx '''Wills index''' ]compiled by the Cheshire Record Office.&nbsp;This index covers the years 1492-1940 and contains 130,000 entries. It covers probate documents proved at Chester mainly for the County of Cheshire.
 +
*The following Website specifically covers the parishes of Disley, Lyme Handley; Taxal &amp; Whaley in Cheshire:&nbsp;[http://www.disley.net '''http://www.disley.net'''].
 +
*A&nbsp;new and comprehensive [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://hr-search-api:8080/searchapi/search/collection/1589492 '''Probate Index for Cheshire'''] is now available at [http://www.familysearch.org www.familysearch.org]. More information at [[England Cheshire Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*The original will indexes for the [[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] for 1545-1858 are available in print by both the Lancashire &amp; Cheshire Record Society and the Chetham Society. These two large publication&nbsp;series&nbsp;cover both Cheshire and&nbsp;Lancashire counties. They&nbsp;are available at many major archives in the United Kingdom such as at the British Library, and Guildhall Library, London, and other like institutions. The Family History Library likewise has most of these printed indexes in book form and/or on microfilm (see below).
 +
*Original handwritten indexes and calendars to the Probate Acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons)&nbsp; from 1492-1857 were created&nbsp;as&nbsp;the probate records were filed and are found with the records (see below).
 +
*The Wills and Inventories a complete transcription 1603 to 1625 of&nbsp;[https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/show?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fcatalog-search-api%3A8080%2Fwww-catalogapi-webservice%2Fitem%2F2078074 The Ancient Parishes of Malpas, Tilston and Shocklack]
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
+
2. Click on&nbsp;the court name&nbsp;(i.e. Court of the Bishop of Chester [Episcopal Consistory] below) to&nbsp;learn more about the records.
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
+
  
The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.<br><br>
+
3. Accessibility to the indexes:
  
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Cheshire Courts  ==
+
*Contact or visit the [http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure_and_culture/record_office.aspx Cheshire Record Office], ''OR'' you may&nbsp;use their [http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure,_culture_and_tourism/record_office/research_service.aspx research&nbsp;service] to&nbsp;obtain a copy of a record.
  
1. Cheshire had no peculiar court jurisdictions in the county. There are several higher probate court jurisdictions which hold concurrent jurisdiction over Chesire. To identify and learn about these courts and their records, click on the "Cheshire Probate Courts" links above.  
+
4. You can visit the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp Family History Library] which has microfilm copies of original Cheshire probate&nbsp;indexes and calendars&nbsp;for&nbsp;1492-1858.  
  
2. The [[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] was sub-divided into basically two courts--a higher or what is termed, a "Supra" court and, a lower or "Infra" court. A majority of&nbsp;Cheshire wills and admons were probated in the "Infra" court. <br>
+
5. You can visit&nbsp;one of the Family History Library's&nbsp;4,500 satellite [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|family history centers]] worldwide, and obtain a copy of the probate indexes on microfilm. To determine film numbers go to the [[Family History Library Catalog]],&nbsp;and click&nbsp;"Place", and then type&nbsp;'Cheshire' and click on Probate Records' and 'Probate Records&nbsp;- Indexes'. In particular, see:&nbsp; {{FHL|821001|title-id|disp=Original wills, bonds, and inventories for Chester only, 1492-1858}}
  
== Court Jurisdictions  ==
+
From an index, did you find a reference to a probate record?
  
Before 1858, all of Cheshire was under the primary probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop&nbsp;of&nbsp;Cheshire.&nbsp; Secondary courts are also listed in the table below.&nbsp; When looking for the will of an ancestor in Cheshire, search the courts in the order given.&nbsp; Search indexes first.&nbsp; For an online index to Cheshire wills, click [http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/recordoffice/wills/Home.htm here].  
+
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 3, 4 or 5'''&nbsp;above - any option.  
 +
*If ''no'', go to '''Step 3&nbsp;'''above to&nbsp;contact the Cheshire Record Office for further information.
  
{| cellspacing="0" cellpadding="5" width="95%" align="center" border="1"
+
==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
|-
+
! style="background: rgb(255,222,173); moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial" width="15%" | PARISH
+
! style="background: rgb(255,222,173); moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial" width="40%" | PRIMARY COURT
+
! style="background: rgb(255,222,173); moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial" width="40%" | SECONDARY COURTS - IN SEARCH ORDER
+
|-
+
| All parishes
+
| Pre-1541 - [[Court of the Bishop of Lichfield (Episcopal Consistory)]]
+
Post-1540 - [[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]]
+
  
|
+
Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If&nbsp;you are not sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
''Pre-1541''  
+
  
2 - [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]  
+
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 1870 ''Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales'' online:&nbsp;[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]  
  
''Post-1540''
+
The gazetteer will either tell you:
  
2 - [[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
+
*A place is a parish, or
 +
*What parish it is a part of, or
 +
*What place it is near.
  
3 - [[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]]
+
If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
  
4 - [[Court of the Chancery of the Archbishop of York]]
+
Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
  
5 - [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
+
==== Step 3. Cheshire's&nbsp;court jurisdiction&nbsp;  ====
  
|}
+
Before 1858, all of Cheshire was under the primary probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop&nbsp;of&nbsp;Cheshire.&nbsp; Secondary courts are also listed in the table below.&nbsp; When looking for the will of an ancestor in Cheshire, search the courts in the order given.&nbsp; Again, search indexes first.&nbsp;
  
<br>
+
Pre-1541 -
  
== Probate Indexes  ==
+
*[[Court of the Bishop of Lichfield (Episcopal Consistory)]]
 +
*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
  
Cheshire's probate jurisdictions are well-covered with indexes.
+
Post-1540 -  
  
=== Starting Your Search in Indexes  ===
+
*[[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] - the main court jurisdiction
 +
*[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]&nbsp;
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]]
 +
*[[Court of the Chancery of the Archbishop of York]]
 +
*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
  
1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the index entry.
+
==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
  
2. Click on a court name above to&nbsp;learn more about the records.  
+
Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:
  
3. Contact or visit the [http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/recoff/ Chester Record Office], ''OR'' you may&nbsp;use their [http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/Recordoffice/shop/recoffrequestres.htm research&nbsp;service] to&nbsp;obtain a copy of a record.  
+
*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
  
4. Visit the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp Family History Library], or one of its 4,500 satellite [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp family history centers] worldwide, and obtain a copy of the probate record from microfilm.  
+
*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>
  
==== Probate Indexes Online 1492-1940 ====
+
== Cheshire Probate Courts ==
  
Before looking for a will, search the comprehensive and county-wide [http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/Recordoffice/Wills/ Wills index] compiled by the Cheshire local government.&nbsp;This index covers the years 1492-1940 and contains 130,000 entries. It covers probate documents proved at Chester mainly for Cheshire residents.  
+
Here is a list (again) of the pre-1858 ecclesiastical courts that had&nbsp;probate jurisdiction over Cheshire.&nbsp; The whole of Cheshire was under the Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory). However, some parishes also came under concurrent jurisdiction or secondary court jurisdictions such as the Exchequer or&nbsp;Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York. Click on a court name to learn more about records.  
  
The following website specifically covers the parishes of Disley, Lyme Handley; Taxal &amp; Whaley in Cheshire: <br>[http://www.disley.net http://www.disley.net]  
+
*[[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]]
 +
*[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
 +
*[[Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]][[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury|<br>]]
 +
*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
  
==== Printed Indexes ====
+
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Cheshire Courts ==
  
The original will indexes for the [[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] for 1545-1858 are available in print by both the Lancashire &amp; Cheshire Record Society and the Chetham Society. These two large publication&nbsp;series&nbsp;cover both Cheshire and&nbsp;Lancashire counties. These series are available at many major archives in the United Kingdom such as at the British Library, and Guildhall Library, London, and other like institutions. The Family History Library likewise has most of these printed indexes in book form and/or on microfilm (see below).
+
1. Cheshire had no peculiar court jurisdictions in the county. There are several higher probate court jurisdictions which hold concurrent jurisdiction over Chesire. To identify and learn about these courts and their records, click on the "Cheshire Probate Courts" links above.  
 
+
==== Original Handwritten Indexes  ====
+
 
+
Original handwritten indexes and calendars to the Probate Acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons) exist from 1492-1857, were created&nbsp;as&nbsp;the probate records were filed, and found with the records (see below).
+
 
+
Calendars are a kind of index (arranged by the first letter of each surname) to the probate records and admons (administrations).
+
 
+
==== Microfilmed Indexes and Records at the Family History Library  ====
+
 
+
The [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp Family History Library] has copies of Cheshire probate records, indexes and calendars&nbsp;for&nbsp;1492-1858.&nbsp;Microfilmed&nbsp;copies may be circulated to any of its 4,500&nbsp;satellite [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp family history centers] worldwide. To determine film numbers,&nbsp;go to 'Cheshire - Probate Records' and 'Cheshire - Probate Records&nbsp;- Indexes' in the [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp Family History Library Catalog].
+
 
+
In particular, see:
+
 
+
*[http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=821001&disp=Original+wills%2C+bonds%2C+and+inventori%20%20&columns=*,0,0 Original wills, bonds, and inventories for Chester only, 1492-1858]
+
 
+
<br>
+
 
+
== Estate Duty Records  ==
+
 
+
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 you locate a will. For more information, go to the article on [[Estate Duty Records]].<br>
+
 
+
<br>
+
  
== Post-1857 Probate Records  ==
+
2. The [[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] was sub-divided into basically two courts--a higher or what is termed, a "Supra" court and, a lower or "Infra" court. A majority of&nbsp;Cheshire wills and admons were probated in the "Infra" court.
  
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. The system consists of 11 district registry offices and 18 sub-district registries, located throughout England and Wales, and the Principal Registry Office located in London. The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service. To learn more, go to the [http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/civil/probate/index.htm HMCS website].
+
'''A wiki article describing this collection is found at:'''
  
A country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills. The [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=208102&disp=Calendar+of+the+grants+of+probate+and+le%20%20&columns=*,0,0 indexes] for 1858-1957 and the records for the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=517092&disp=Record+copy+wills%2C+1858%2D1925%20%20&columns=*,0,0 Principal Registry] and the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=517092&disp=Record+copy+wills%2C+1858%2D1925%20%20&columns=*,0,0 District Registries] for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. <br>
+
[[England Cheshire Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)|England Cheshire Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
  
{{Place|Cheshire}}
+
{{Place|Cheshire|Probate Records}}
 +
{{England Probate Records}}
  
[[Category:Cheshire|Probate Records]]
+
[[Category:Cheshire]]
[[Category:Probate records in England]]
+

Revision as of 18:01, 7 December 2012

England Gotoarrow.png Cheshire

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 Cheshire. 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 Cheshire, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

Cheshire's probate jurisdictions are well-covered with indexes. Follow these steps for accessing some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Cheshire. Search these indexes first:

1. First search each index (see listed below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the index entry such as the year (or date of the will or admon), the page or folio number and town or parish listed:

  • A comprehensive and county-wide Wills index compiled by the Cheshire Record Office. This index covers the years 1492-1940 and contains 130,000 entries. It covers probate documents proved at Chester mainly for the County of Cheshire.
  • The following Website specifically covers the parishes of Disley, Lyme Handley; Taxal & Whaley in Cheshire: http://www.disley.net.
  • A new and comprehensive Probate Index for Cheshire is now available at www.familysearch.org. More information at England Cheshire Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
  • The original will indexes for the Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory) for 1545-1858 are available in print by both the Lancashire & Cheshire Record Society and the Chetham Society. These two large publication series cover both Cheshire and Lancashire counties. They are available at many major archives in the United Kingdom such as at the British Library, and Guildhall Library, London, and other like institutions. The Family History Library likewise has most of these printed indexes in book form and/or on microfilm (see below).
  • Original handwritten indexes and calendars to the Probate Acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons)  from 1492-1857 were created as the probate records were filed and are found with the records (see below).
  • The Wills and Inventories a complete transcription 1603 to 1625 of The Ancient Parishes of Malpas, Tilston and Shocklack

2. Click on the court name (i.e. Court of the Bishop of Chester [Episcopal Consistory] below) to learn more about the records.

3. Accessibility to the indexes:

4. You can visit the Family History Library which has microfilm copies of original Cheshire probate indexes and calendars for 1492-1858.

5. You can visit one of the Family History Library's 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide, and obtain a copy of the probate indexes on microfilm. To determine film numbers go to the Family History Library Catalog, and click "Place", and then type 'Cheshire' and click on Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes'. In particular, see:  Original wills, bonds, and inventories for Chester only, 1492-1858

From an index, did you find a reference to a probate record?

  • If yes, go to Step 3, 4 or 5 above - any option.
  • If no, go to Step 3 above to contact the Cheshire Record Office for further information.

Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died

Determine when your ancestor died. If you are not 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 1870 Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales online: Vision of Britain

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. Cheshire's court jurisdiction 

Before 1858, all of Cheshire was under the primary probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Cheshire.  Secondary courts are also listed in the table below.  When looking for the will of an ancestor in Cheshire, search the courts in the order given.  Again, search indexes first. 

Pre-1541 -

Post-1540 -

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.

Cheshire Probate Courts

Here is a list (again) of the pre-1858 ecclesiastical courts that had probate jurisdiction over Cheshire.  The whole of Cheshire was under the Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory). However, some parishes also came under concurrent jurisdiction or secondary court jurisdictions such as the Exchequer or Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York. Click on a court name to learn more about records.

Some Explanatory Notes on the Cheshire Courts

1. Cheshire had no peculiar court jurisdictions in the county. There are several higher probate court jurisdictions which hold concurrent jurisdiction over Chesire. To identify and learn about these courts and their records, click on the "Cheshire Probate Courts" links above.

2. The Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory) was sub-divided into basically two courts--a higher or what is termed, a "Supra" court and, a lower or "Infra" court. A majority of Cheshire wills and admons were probated in the "Infra" court.

A wiki article describing this collection is found at:

England Cheshire Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)