Kent Probate Records

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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Kent]]''  
 
''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Kent]]''  
  
The following article is about probate records in the county of Kent. 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 Kent. 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.  
  
<br>
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=== Before 1858  ===
  
== Getting Started ==
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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 Kent, follow these steps:
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==== Step 1. Search Indexes ====
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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Kent. Search these indexes first:
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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)].
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Did you find a reference to a probate record?
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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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====  ====
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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.
  
Follow these steps to look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
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Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
  
#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 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish  ====
#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><br>
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== 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&nbsp;Kent 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.
  
Before 1858, every town and parish in Kent was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp; To find the will of your ancestor who lived&nbsp;or owned property in&nbsp;Kent,&nbsp;see a&nbsp;list of Kent parishes&nbsp;with the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over each.&nbsp; Click on the letter for a parish of interest.&nbsp; <br><br>
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<br>Before 1858, every town and parish in Kent was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp; To find the will of your ancestor who lived&nbsp;or owned property in&nbsp;Kent,&nbsp;see a&nbsp;list of Kent parishes&nbsp;with the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over each.&nbsp; Click on the letter for a parish of interest.&nbsp; <br><br>
  
 
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Revision as of 20:15, 1 June 2010

 

England Gotoarrow.png Kent

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 Kent. 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 Kent, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Kent. 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 Kent 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.


Before 1858, every town and parish in Kent was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.  To find the will of your ancestor who lived or owned property in Kent, see a list of Kent parishes with the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over each.  Click on the letter for a parish of interest. 

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


Search the courts in the order given.  Search indexes first.  For indexes covering more than one court, see below.  For court-specific indexes, click on the name of a court above.

If you do not know where in Kent your ancestor lived or owned property, search the indexes to each court if necessary.  Lastly, search the index to the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Kent Probate Courts

The following ecclesiastical courts had some probate jurisdiction over the county of Kent prior to 1858.  Click on a court name to learn more about its records and indexes and how to find the probate of your ancestor in the court's records.

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 lower courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:

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


Probate Indexes

Before searching probate records, search indexes.

Indexes on the Internet

Here is a list of indexes on the Internet for the county of Kent.  None of the indexes are comprehensive, but they will be added to over time.

Printed Indexes

Printed indexes to probate records may be available in many locations including English county archives and other record repositories, libraries, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

  • To access an English county archive, go to Access to Archives or to GENUKI and search for the archives for Kent or another county of interest.
  • For printed indexes that are available through the Family History Library, click on the name of a court above.

Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts in Kent

The Court of the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Court of the Episcopal consistory of Canterbury, and the Court of the Bishop and the Archdeacon of Rochester technically did not have jurisdiction over the Peculiar of Wingham, the Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Episcopal Consistory and Archdeaconry of Rochester, but as the larger courts of original jurisdiction in the county, they will often contain probate records of persons who resided in the other jurisdictions.

The Commissary-General of the Archbishop of Canterbury was the judge of the Court of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) of Canterbury.  He exercised probate jurisdiction within the diocese of Canterbury, and he also exercised the Archbishop’s prerogative throughout the diocese.  Therefore, records of probate that would have normally gone through the Archbishop's court, will be found in the records of the Court of the Bishop of Canterbury, particularly before 1759.