England, Hampshire Probate Abstracts (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
This collection contains wills from the Consistory Court of Winchester and the Archdeaconry Court of Winchester. The extracts were created by volunteers and employees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History Library. These records cover the years 1491 to 1653.
The records may include the following information:
- Full name of deceased
- Date of probate
- Date of will
- Names of children, spouse and cousins
- Relationship to listed persons
- Place of residence
How to Use the Record
To begin your search, it is helpful if you knew the following information:
- Name of your ancestor
- Identifying information such as approximate year of death or place of residence
Search this Collection
To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
- If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
- Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
Use these records to find ancestors’ children and relatives in order to establish relationships that may be more difficult to prove in parish registers, especially before 1813. They are also good to confirm relationships in families where relationship is already established.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
General Information About These Records
There are several different types of probate records, but wills are the most informative. Original wills were generally on loose pieces of paper, copies of which were entered into books. Act books are brief paragraphs telling that the executor appeared in court and was approved to distribute the goods as set forth in the will. Administrations are documents created when a person died without leaving a will. Older wills from 1492 through to the late 17th or early 18th century will have varying degrees of legibility. There will also be some Latin in the wills in the middle of the 17th century. Wills probated up to 1857 were handled and kept by the Consistory Court of the Diocese Chester; thereafter (1858-1940) they were handled by the District Probate Registry for Cheshire.
Until 1837 a male as young as 14 and a girl as young as 12 could make a will; thereafter one had to be 21 to make a will. Wills for married women before 1882 are rare because they were not allowed to have property. Those who had land or money, such as merchants, shopkeepers, farmers, or laborers, created wills. About 10% of the heads of households were probated before 1857, but as many as 25% left a will or was mentioned in one. There are about 143,000 names indexed in Cheshire Probate Record indexes.
Probate records document the transfer of possessions after a person dies. Wills, in particular, were written to ensure that the property and personal estate of a deceased person would be distributed according to his or her wishes. The court would then call in the next of kin and assign them the duty of distributing the goods. The administrator is usually the only person mentioned besides the court officials.
The records are quite reliable because of their legal nature.
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "England, Hampshire Probate Abstracts." Index. FamilySearch. http://familysearch.org. Citing Hampshire Probate Collection. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.