Essex Probate Records

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[[England|<span id="fck_dom_range_temp_1261522788618_143" />England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Essex]]  
 
[[England|<span id="fck_dom_range_temp_1261522788618_143" />England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Essex]]  
  
The following article is about probate records in the county of Essex. For general information about English probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].<br>
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== Getting Started  ==
  
== Description  ==
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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 Essex. For a general description of England probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].
  
''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.
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=== 1858 to the Present  ===
  
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The '''Probates After 1857'''&nbsp;section below has a link to an article about probates after 1857.  
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Beginning in 1858, the [[Principal Probate Registry|Principal Probate Registry]] had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.  
  
== Getting Started ==
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=== Before 1858 ===
  
Follow these steps to look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
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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 Essex, follow these steps:  
  
#Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived. <br>
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==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
#Go to the Court Jurisdictions 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>
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''[[England]]&nbsp;[[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Essex|Essex]]&nbsp;[[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Essex Probate Records|Essex Probate Records]]'' <br>
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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Essex. Search these indexes first:  
  
== Court Jurisdictions by Parish<br> ==
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*[http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml]&nbsp;-- compiled by the Sussex Family History Group which has transcribed the names of 12,300 individuals found in Sussex wills, including testators, executors, beneficiaries or witnesses.&nbsp;The information recorded includes name, date&nbsp;and place.
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*The [http://sussexrecordsociety.org/home2.asp?an=&ap= Sussex Record Society] has&nbsp;published four volumes of indexes to Sussex wills, and these&nbsp;can be viewed on&nbsp;their [http://sussexrecordsociety.org/bwills1.asp?an=&ap= website]. They are arranged by parish then by surname.&nbsp;
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*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/wills.asp?WT.hp=Wills Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858)].
  
Here&nbsp;are links to&nbsp;an alphabetical&nbsp;list of Essex parishes containing a prioritized list of courts with jurisdiction over each.&nbsp; To see which courts to search for probates of persons living in or owning property in particular parish, click on the letter the parish name begins with.
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Did you find a reference to a probate record?
  
Below is a list of Essex parishes beginning with the letter 'B' and the ecclesiastical courts with pre-1858 probate jurisdiction over them.&nbsp; Once you have identified a court of interest, search [[Essex Probate Records|indexes]].&nbsp; Search the courts in the order given.&nbsp; Click on a court name for more information about the court.  
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*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.
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*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.
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==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
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Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
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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:
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*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
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The gazetteer will either tell you:
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*A place is a parish, or
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*What parish it is a part of, or
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*What place it is near.
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If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
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Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
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==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish  ====
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Once you have identified the parish where your ancestor lived or died, learn which courts had jurisdiction over it then search indexes for those courts. Every town and parish in Sussex fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Click on a link below for the letter the parish begins with. Here&nbsp;are links to&nbsp;an alphabetical&nbsp;list of Essex parishes containing a prioritized list of courts with jurisdiction over each.&nbsp; To see which courts to search for probates of persons living in or owning property in particular parish, click on the letter the parish name begins with.
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Below is a list of Essex parishes beginning with the letter 'B' and the ecclesiastical courts with pre-1858 probate jurisdiction over them.&nbsp; Once you have identified a court of interest, search [[Essex_Probate_Records|indexes]].&nbsp; Search the courts in the order given.&nbsp; Click on a court name for more information about the court.  
  
 
To see a list of&nbsp;Essex parishes, click on a letter link:  
 
To see a list of&nbsp;Essex parishes, click on a letter link:  
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*[[High Court of Delegates]]
 
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
  
The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.
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The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.  
  
 
== Probate Indexes  ==
 
== Probate Indexes  ==
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*Essex County Record Office's outstanding wills index from [http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/default.asp early to 1857]&nbsp;consolidates into one&nbsp;single index, the&nbsp;county's&nbsp;wills.
 
*Essex County Record Office's outstanding wills index from [http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/default.asp early to 1857]&nbsp;consolidates into one&nbsp;single index, the&nbsp;county's&nbsp;wills.
  
The following site has transcriptions of a few Essex will from various probate court jurisdictions at <br>[http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/probate/index.htm http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/probate/index.htm]. &nbsp;
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The following site has transcriptions of a few Essex will from various probate court jurisdictions at <br>[http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/probate/index.htm http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/probate/index.htm]. &nbsp;  
 
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<br>
  
Always re-visit these websites as&nbsp;new, updated data may periodically be posted online.
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Always re-visit these websites as&nbsp;new, updated data may periodically be posted online.  
  
 
=== Printed Indexes  ===
 
=== Printed Indexes  ===

Revision as of 20:27, 7 June 2010

England Gotoarrow.png Essex

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 Essex. 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 Essex, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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

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

Once you have identified the parish where your ancestor lived or died, learn which courts had jurisdiction over it then search indexes for those courts. Every town and parish in Sussex fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Click on a link below for the letter the parish begins with. Here are links to an alphabetical list of Essex parishes containing a prioritized list of courts with jurisdiction over each.  To see which courts to search for probates of persons living in or owning property in particular parish, click on the letter the parish name begins with.

Below is a list of Essex parishes beginning with the letter 'B' and the ecclesiastical courts with pre-1858 probate jurisdiction over them.  Once you have identified a court of interest, search indexes.  Search the courts in the order given.  Click on a court name for more information about the court.

To see a list of Essex parishes, click on a letter link:

 A     C   D-F    H-K  L   M-N  O-R  S   T-V  W-Z

Essex Probate Courts

The following ecclesiastical courts had some probate jurisdiction over the county of Essex prior to 1858.  Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes. 

In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.

  • Wealthy individuals
  • Interregnum, 1649-1660, because the Prerogative Court was the only court.
  • Property in more than one diocese in the Province of Canterbury.
  • Property in both the Province of Canterbury and Province of York.
  • People who died outside England, including British citizens and others who held property in England.

Appeals Courts

Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:

The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury also served as an appeals court.

Probate Indexes

Before looking for a will, you should search an index.

Online Indexes

County-wide general will indexes for Essex County are now available online, making Essex County one of the foremost in facilitating probate research in  England. 

The following site indexes significant portions of Essex wills:

  • Essex County Record Office's outstanding wills index from early to 1857 consolidates into one single index, the county's wills.

The following site has transcriptions of a few Essex will from various probate court jurisdictions at
http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/probate/index.htm.  


Always re-visit these websites as new, updated data may periodically be posted online.

Printed Indexes

If the indexes on the Internet do not produce possible wills for your ancestors, look in the published indexes listed here.

The Essex County Record Office compiled and published a complete surname index covering wills and administrations from the first eight Essex County probate court jurisdictions listed above (through the Liberty of Sokens).  The index is available in three volumns at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City:

  • Emmison, F. G., ed.  [Index to] Wills at Chelmsford.  London: s.n., 1961, by the British Record Society.  (FHL book 942 B4b vols. 78, 79 & 84; also on microfilms 0962739 and 0962740, and on microfiche 6073796, 6073797, and 6073802.)

Other printed indexes are found listed on the court pages.  Click on the court name links above.

Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts in Essex

Probate records for the first eight courts listed above are located at the Essex Record Office. The additional four courts' records are located in Greater London-based record offices (click links to view).

Records and indexes for each court are also available in the collection of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Search the Family History Library Catalog for the title of the court or the court as an author. 


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 locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.

Probates After 1857

Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. For more information, go to Principal Probate Registry.