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Wills contain the name and address of the deceased, names of beneficiaries, sometimes addresses of relatives, details of bequests, and names of executors. Between 1728 and 1780 in India wills were recorded in court proceedings (Records class P):
- Bengal Mayor's Court Proceedings 1727-1774 and Supreme Court Proceedings 1774-1779
- Madras Mayor's Court Proceedings up to 1780
- Bombay Mayor's Court Proceedings up to 1783
A single volume records wills from 1618 to 1725: G/40/23. From 1780 to 1948 wills were recorded in a separate sequence for ease of reference: L/AG/34/29 series. A photocopy of an alphabetical list of wills to 1783 (Z/L/AG/34/1, formerly H/792) is on the Reading Room shelves at The British Library. For indexes from 1780 to 1909, use the photocopies of Z/L/AG/34/4-10 on the Reading Room shelves. For wills from 1909 onward, consult the general card index of wills or the typescript version (in progress), in the Reading Room.
Grants of Administration
'1774-1948: L/AG/34/29 series. Grants of Administration were mainly in cases of intestacy, and with other cases where the executor was not available or was unwilling to act. Information provided consists of:
- Name of deceased
- Date of death
- The High Court of the Presidency where the will was proved and registered
- The name and address of the person granted administration of the will.
For indexes to 1909, use the photocopies of Z/L/AG/34/4-10 on the Reading Room shelves at The British Library. For grants from 1909 onward, consult the general card index of wills, or the printed version (in progress) in the Reading Room.
Grants of Probate
'(1) Probates and Administrations granted by District Courts in India 1865-1944: L/AG/34/31/1-21, L/AG/34/29/383-386. Index for 18651910: Z/L/AG/34/12. For grants from 1909 onward, consult the general card index of wills, or the typescript version (in progress) in the Reading Room.
(2) Registers of Probates and Letters of Administration 17871974: L/AG/33/1-11. These are alphabetically arranged and refer to Great Britain residents only (mainly those receiving official pensions).
Inventories of Deceased Estates
'1778-1938: L/AG/34/27 series. Inventories of Deceased Estates include the name of the deceased and a list of possessions at time of death. For indexes to 1909, use the photocopies of Z/L/AG/34/13-16 on the Reading Room shelves. For grants from 1909 onward, consult the general card index of wills or the typescript version (in progress) in the Reading Room.
Military Estate Papers (1850-1937: L/AG/34/40 series) contain inventories for soldiers serving in the East India Company armies and the Indian Army. The papers are indexed.
'1792-1927: L/AG/34/33 series. Indexes: Z/L/AG/34/17-21. These records contain less information than Military Estate Papers and deal mainly with army officers, although some other ranks do appear. They include the name of deceased, their rank and unit, date of death, amount of money left in Indian rupees and sterling equivalent, and name and address of next of kin.
Original Indexes to Wills, Administrations and Inventories
'Photocopies of many of the indexes in the Z/L/AG/34 index series (Wills, Administrations and Inventories of Deceased Estates to 1909) have been placed in the Reading Room. The original card index, for wills, etc. after 1909, is also available in the Reading Room while the information it contains is being transferred to a printed list. See also the separate "Guide to Wills, Probates, Administrations and Inventories in the India Office Records," shelved in the Reading Room.
Inquirers who are unable to make a personal visit to the Oriental and India Office Collections may wish to employ research agents to pursue inquiries on their behalf.
- The British Library
Oriental and India Office Collections
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB
Telephone: 44 171 412 7873
Fax: 44 171 412 7641