Essex Probate Records

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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 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.  
 
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 [[Essex Probate Records|indexes]].  Search the courts in the order given.  Click on a court name for more information about the court.  
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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.  Once you have identified a court of interest, search [[Essex_Probate_Records|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:  
 
To see a list of Essex parishes, click on a letter link:  
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|  [[Essex Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes W-Z|W-Z]]
 
|  [[Essex Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes W-Z|W-Z]]
 
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==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
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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:
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*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
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*Visit the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp Family History Library] or a [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp family history center] and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below. <br>
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== Essex Probate Courts  ==
 
== Essex Probate Courts  ==

Revision as of 20:34, 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:

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.

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.

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

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.


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. 

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.