London Probate Records

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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[London]]''  
 
''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[London]]''  
 
For an explanation of probate records in England, click [[England Probate Records|here]].
 
  
 
== Getting Started  ==
 
== Getting Started  ==
  
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The Post-1857 Probate Records section below contains links to additional information about the records of this court. 
+
''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 London. See [[England Probate Records]] for a general description of probate records in England.  
  
To look for a probate record before 1858:
+
=== 1858 to the Present  ===
  
#Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
+
Beginning in 1858, the [[Principal Probate Registry|Principal Probate Registry]] had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.  
#Go to [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Cheshire_Probate_Records#Court_Jurisdictions Court Jurisdictions] section below.  
+
#Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.
+
#Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.<br>
+
  
== London Probate Courts ==
+
=== Before 1858 ===
  
The following courts had some probate jurisdiction over London before 1858.
+
Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in London, follow these steps:
  
*[[Consistory Court of London|Court of Husting]]
+
==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
*[[Archdeaconry Court of London]]
+
*[[The Court of Arches of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
+
*[[Court of the Bishop of London (Episcopal Consistory)]]
+
*[[Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of London (London Division)]]
+
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster (Abbey)]]
+
*[[Court of the Deanery of the Arches of London, Croydon, Shoreham (Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury)]]
+
*[[Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of London (Essex & Hertfordshire Division)]]
+
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral]]
+
*[[Royal Peculiar Court of St Katherine's by the Tower]]
+
  
In addition, the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] had jurisdiction over the whole of England. Wealthier individuals, people who owned property in more than one county or lower court's jurisdiction, people who died outside of the country but had property in England, and Naval personnel often had their estates proven through the Archbishop's court.  
+
First search each index&nbsp;which you will find listed under the name of&nbsp;the particular probate court jurisdiction (see the "London Probate Courts" listed above) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down all&nbsp;details cited in the indexed entry.Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in London. Search these indexes first:
  
=== Appeals Courts  ===
+
*[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1704 London, England, Wills and Probate, 1507-1858] at Ancestry (£). Includes probate records from Consistory Court of London, Commissary Court of London, Archdeaconry Court of London, Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex, Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s, Archdeaconry Court of Surrey, and Commissary Court of Bishop of Winchester.
  
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:  
+
*[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-acl2.htm Archdeaconry Court of London Wills Index 1750-1800]
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
+
*[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm Metropolitan Archives and Library Wills project]&nbsp;(online) - London Signatures project currently includes 10,000 Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex Wills (AM/PW), covering the period 1609 -1810, and 23,500 Diocese of Winchester, Commissary for the Archdeaconry of Surrey marriage bonds (DW/MP), for the period 1673 - 1850.
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
+
*[[Doctor's Common]]
+
  
The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.  
+
*[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/aboutNWI-surrwills.aspx Surrey &amp; South London - Will Abstracts 1470-1856]. This extraordinary collection is one of the most valuable on British Origins. It contains fully indexed abstracts of every Surrey will known to still exist, over 28,000 of them, dating from the 15th to 19th centuries; nearly all the originals are held at the London Metropolitan Archives. The abstracts include all personal names (testator, beneficiaries, executors, witnesses, overseers, and others) with their relationships, place names, occupations, monetary and other bequests, and descriptions of lands. The indexes include the names of every person mentioned - over a half of a million names - places mentioned (many outside Surrey), subjects (eg occupations) mentioned in the wills, and of dates.
  
== Historical Background  ==
+
*[http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/invent.htm Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section&nbsp;Indexes to Probate Inventories of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral]&nbsp;- The probate inventories of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's date from 1660 to 1725. They are arranged in yearly (mostly) and half-yearly bundles. Within each bundle they are arranged chronologically by the date they were exhibited in the court. There are 77 bundles now numbered as Guildhall Library Ms 19504/1-77.
  
Probate records of the City of London commence from as early as 1374 up to&nbsp;1857.&nbsp;There are several&nbsp;probate court&nbsp;jurisdictions for&nbsp;the City of London, some of which hold extensive&nbsp;probate record coverage for the city&nbsp; and there are a few smaller court jurisdictions which only pertain to a small handful of parishes.
+
*[http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/probate.htm Probate Records (wills and administrations) at Guildhall Library&nbsp;]
  
If you&nbsp;know&nbsp;in which parish your ancestor may have died or lived,&nbsp;go to the "London Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" section&nbsp;(below) and search by parish name&nbsp;in order to determine&nbsp;the&nbsp;correct or most likely&nbsp;probate court&nbsp;to search, first.  
+
*[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/About_LMA/Volunteers.htm Diocese of London Consistory Court Wills index ]- This index contains 31,000 entries of wills and letters of administration (granting authority to an executor when a person died intestate) compiled from the London Diocesan Court registers (DL/C/354-416). Near complete coverage is provided for the years 1514-1858 (please note there are no registers for the years 1521-1539 and 1642-1670).
  
Next, see the above links to each London probate court jurisdictions in order to obtain further information for researching in the prime probate court&nbsp;for a will.  
+
*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/wills.asp?WT.hp=Wills Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858)].
  
If a search in the most likely&nbsp;probate court jurisidiction proves unsuccessful, then search the next court as&nbsp;listed in ranked order, i.e. "no. 2", and etc.
+
''Also check indexed abstracts:''
  
== Starting Your Search in Indexes  ==
+
*[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Wills/Wills1.html Commissary Court of London&nbsp; Will Abstracts Volume 26 (1629-1634)] - free.
  
1. First search each index&nbsp;which you will find listed under the name of&nbsp;the particular probate court jurisdiction (see the "London Probate Courts" listed above) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down all&nbsp;details cited in the indexed entry.  
+
*[http://www.origins.net/help/aboutNWI-LONMDX.aspx London &amp; Middlesex Will Abstracts 1700-1704] at Origins.net (£). Includes 2042 abstracts of original wills proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex, Archdeaconry Court of London, Commissary Court of London, Consistory Court of London and Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral.
  
2. Once you have found the name of an ancestor and the probate jurisdiction in which a will or administration (admon) was probated, next proceed to the&nbsp;"Probate Records of This Court" (appears below this section) to determine what original probate records exist for this court and years appertaining.
+
Did you find a reference to a probate record?
  
3. You can also contact or visit the&nbsp;particualr London archives where the original records are held, or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may send upon written request a list of record searchers.  
+
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.  
 +
*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.<br>
  
4. Visit The Family History Library, or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes to probate records. Then with the information obtained from the index[es] you can&nbsp;more quickly locate the original wills and admons which are&nbsp;on microfilm, via any family history [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp centers]&nbsp;near you.
+
==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
  
== Some Explanatory Notes on the London Court  ==
+
Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
  
== London Parishes and Their Court Jurisdictions  ==
+
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:
  
Before 1858, every parish was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp;
+
*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
  
For an alphabetical list of London City&nbsp;parishes and the courts that had jurisdiction over them, click on the link for the letter that a parish name begins with:  
+
The gazetteer will either tell you:  
  
{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1" style="width: 489px; height: 52px;"
+
*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  ====
 +
 
 +
Prior to the year 1858,&nbsp;every town and parish in London fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp;Identify the parish in which&nbsp;your ancestor lived or died.&nbsp;This enables you to&nbsp;learn which court[s] had jurisdiction over the parish so that you may then search for indexes and the actual probate records&nbsp;(i.e.&nbsp;wills)&nbsp;for those courts. Click on a link below&nbsp;for the letter the parish begins with. When you find the name of the parish, click the right-hand column[s] court links to&nbsp;obtain and&nbsp;search the original probate records of the pertinent probate court[s]:
 +
 
 +
{| width="400" cellspacing="2" cellpadding="1" border="1"
 
|-
 
|-
 
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes A-F|A-F]]  
 
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes A-F|A-F]]  
 
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes G-R|G-R]]  
 
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes G-R|G-R]]  
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes S through St. Clement|S-St. C]]  
+
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes S through St. Clement|S-St C]]  
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes St. D-H|St. D-St. H]]  
+
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes St D-H|St D-H]]  
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes St. I-S|St. I-St. S]]  
+
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes St I-S|St I-S]]  
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes St. T-Z|St. T-Z]]
+
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes St T-Z|St T-Z]]
 
|}
 
|}
  
 
<br>  
 
<br>  
  
This list does not include parishes elsewhere in the county of Middlesex.&nbsp; For those parishes, go to [[Middlesex Probate Records|Middlesex Probate Records]].  
+
This list does not include parishes&nbsp;in the county of&nbsp;Middlesex.&nbsp; For those parishes, go to [[Middlesex Probate Records|Middlesex Probate Records]].  
  
<br>
+
==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
  
== Probate Indexes Online  ==
+
Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:
  
Before looking for a will, you should search an index. <br>
+
*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
  
[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-acl2.htm http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-acl2.htm]
+
*Visit the[https://www.familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library] or a [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|family history center]] and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below. <br>
  
Archdeaconry Court of London Wills Index 1750-1800<br>
+
== London Probate Courts  ==
  
[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm]
+
The following courts had some probate jurisdiction over London before 1858.  
  
London Signatures currently includes 10,000 Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex Wills (AM/PW), covering the period 1609 -1810, and 23,500 Diocese of Winchester, Commissary for the Archdeaconry of Surrey marriage bonds (DW/MP), for the period 1673 - 1850.
+
*[[Court of Husting]]
 +
*[[Court of the Archdeaconry of London]]
 +
*[[The Court of Arches of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
 +
*[[Court of the Bishop of London (Episcopal Consistory)]]
 +
*[[Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of London (London Division)]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster (Abbey)]]
 +
*[[Court of the Deanery of the Arches of London, Croydon, Shoreham (Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury)]]&nbsp;
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral]]
 +
*[[Royal Peculiar Court of St Katherine's by the Tower]]
 +
*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
  
[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-surrwills.htm http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-surrwills.htm]
+
== Historical Background  ==
  
Surrey &amp; South London Will Abstracts1470-1856<br>This extraordinary collection is one of the most valuable on British Origins. It contains fully indexed abstracts of every Surrey will known to still exist, over 28,000 of them, dating from the 15th to 19th centuries; nearly all the originals are held at the London Metropolitan Archives.  
+
Probate records of the City of London commence from as early as 1374 up to&nbsp;1857.&nbsp;There are several&nbsp;probate court&nbsp;jurisdictions for&nbsp;the City of London, some of which hold extensive&nbsp;probate record coverage for the city&nbsp; and there are a few smaller court jurisdictions which only pertain to a small handful of parishes.  
  
The abstracts include all personal names (testator, beneficiaries, executors, witnesses, overseers, and others) with their relationships, place names, occupations, monetary and other bequests, and descriptions of lands. The indexes include the names of every person mentioned - over a half of a million names - places mentioned (many outside Surrey), subjects (eg occupations) mentioned in the wills, and of dates.  
+
If you&nbsp;know&nbsp;in which parish your ancestor may have died or lived,&nbsp;go to the "London Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" section&nbsp;(below) and search by parish name&nbsp;in order to determine&nbsp;the&nbsp;correct or most likely&nbsp;probate court&nbsp;to search, first.  
  
[http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/invent.htm http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/invent.htm]
+
Next, see the above links to each London probate court jurisdictions in order to obtain further information for researching in the prime probate court&nbsp;for a will.  
  
Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section<br>Indexes to Probate Inventories of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral<br>
+
If a search in the most likely&nbsp;probate court jurisidiction proves unsuccessful, then search the next court as&nbsp;listed in ranked order, i.e. "no. 2", and etc.  
 
+
The probate inventories of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's date from 1660 to 1725. They are arranged in yearly (mostly) and half-yearly bundles. Within each bundle they are arranged chronologically by the date they were exhibited in the court. There are 77 bundles now numbered as Guildhall Library Ms 19504/1-77.
+
 
+
[http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/probate.htm http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/probate.htm]
+
 
+
PROBATE RECORDS (WILLS AND ADMINISTRATIONS) AT GUILDHALL LIBRARY
+
 
+
[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/07261AAF-7E1D-49F6-B92A-F4319EB6AB59/0/wills.PDF http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/07261AAF-7E1D-49F6-B92A-F4319EB6AB59/0/wills.PDF]
+
 
+
WILLS IN LONDON METROPOLITAN ARCHIVES AND ELSEWHERE
+
 
+
[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/About_LMA/Volunteers.htm http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/]
+
 
+
[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/About_LMA/Volunteers.htm Records_and_archives/About_LMA/Volunteers.htm]
+
 
+
Diocese of London Consistory Court Wills index
+
 
+
This index contains 31,000 entries of wills and letters of administration (granting authority to an executor when a person died intestate) compiled from the London Diocesan Court registers (DL/C/354-416). Near complete coverage is provided for the years 1514-1858 (please note there are no registers for the years 1521-1539 and 1642-1670).
+
 
+
[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Wills/Wills1.html http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Wills/Wills1.html]
+
 
+
Commissary Court of London&nbsp; Will Abstracts Volume 26 (1629-1634)<br>
+
 
+
&nbsp;
+
 
+
== Estate Duty Records<br> ==
+
 
+
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. Between 1813-1858 estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to [[Estate Duty Records]].<br>
+
 
+
<br>
+
  
<br>
+
In practice, most Londoners sent their wills to the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury|Prerogative Court of Canterbury]] and the [[Court of the Bishop of London (Episcopal Consistory)|Consistory Court of London]] from the mid 1700s to 1857.
  
== Post-1857 Probate Records ==
+
== Websites ==
  
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all&nbsp;wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. The system consists of 11 district registry offices and 18 sub-district registries, located throughout England and Wales, and the principal registry&nbsp;office located in London. The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service. To learn more, go to the [http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/civil/probate/index.htm HMCS website].
+
*[http://217.154.230.218/NR/rdonlyres/2FDB01F7-C781-44D5-A492-61EE38E88A94/0/6WILLSFORLONDON.pdf Wills for London, Middlesex and Surrey Before 1858] (London Metropolitan Archives Information&nbsp;Leaflet)
  
A country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills.&nbsp; The [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=208102&disp=Calendar+of+the+grants+of+probate+and+le%20%20&columns=*,0,0 indexes] for 1858-1957 and the records for the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=517092&disp=Record+copy+wills%2C+1858%2D1925%20%20&columns=*,0,0 Principal Registry] and the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=517092&disp=Record+copy+wills%2C+1858%2D1925%20%20&columns=*,0,0 District Registries] for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. <br>
+
{{Template:Pros-Lond}}
  
{{Place|London}}  
+
{{London}}  
  
[[Category:London|Probate Records]]
+
[[Category:London]]

Revision as of 15:10, 7 May 2013

England Gotoarrow.png London

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 London. See England Probate Records for a general description of probate records in England.

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 London, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

First search each index which you will find listed under the name of the particular probate court jurisdiction (see the "London Probate Courts" listed above) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down all details cited in the indexed entry.Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in London. Search these indexes first:

  • London, England, Wills and Probate, 1507-1858 at Ancestry (£). Includes probate records from Consistory Court of London, Commissary Court of London, Archdeaconry Court of London, Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex, Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s, Archdeaconry Court of Surrey, and Commissary Court of Bishop of Winchester.
  • Metropolitan Archives and Library Wills project (online) - London Signatures project currently includes 10,000 Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex Wills (AM/PW), covering the period 1609 -1810, and 23,500 Diocese of Winchester, Commissary for the Archdeaconry of Surrey marriage bonds (DW/MP), for the period 1673 - 1850.
  • Surrey & South London - Will Abstracts 1470-1856. This extraordinary collection is one of the most valuable on British Origins. It contains fully indexed abstracts of every Surrey will known to still exist, over 28,000 of them, dating from the 15th to 19th centuries; nearly all the originals are held at the London Metropolitan Archives. The abstracts include all personal names (testator, beneficiaries, executors, witnesses, overseers, and others) with their relationships, place names, occupations, monetary and other bequests, and descriptions of lands. The indexes include the names of every person mentioned - over a half of a million names - places mentioned (many outside Surrey), subjects (eg occupations) mentioned in the wills, and of dates.
  • Diocese of London Consistory Court Wills index - This index contains 31,000 entries of wills and letters of administration (granting authority to an executor when a person died intestate) compiled from the London Diocesan Court registers (DL/C/354-416). Near complete coverage is provided for the years 1514-1858 (please note there are no registers for the years 1521-1539 and 1642-1670).

Also check indexed abstracts:

  • London & Middlesex Will Abstracts 1700-1704 at Origins.net (£). Includes 2042 abstracts of original wills proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex, Archdeaconry Court of London, Commissary Court of London, Consistory Court of London and Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral.

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

Prior to the year 1858, every town and parish in London fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Identify the parish in which your ancestor lived or died. This enables you to learn which court[s] had jurisdiction over the parish so that you may then search for indexes and the actual probate records (i.e. wills) for those courts. Click on a link below for the letter the parish begins with. When you find the name of the parish, click the right-hand column[s] court links to obtain and search the original probate records of the pertinent probate court[s]:

 A-F  G-R  S-St C  St D-H  St I-S  St T-Z


This list does not include parishes in the county of Middlesex.  For those parishes, go to Middlesex Probate Records.

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.

London Probate Courts

The following courts had some probate jurisdiction over London before 1858.

Historical Background

Probate records of the City of London commence from as early as 1374 up to 1857. There are several probate court jurisdictions for the City of London, some of which hold extensive probate record coverage for the city  and there are a few smaller court jurisdictions which only pertain to a small handful of parishes.

If you know in which parish your ancestor may have died or lived, go to the "London Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" section (below) and search by parish name in order to determine the correct or most likely probate court to search, first.

Next, see the above links to each London probate court jurisdictions in order to obtain further information for researching in the prime probate court for a will.

If a search in the most likely probate court jurisidiction proves unsuccessful, then search the next court as listed in ranked order, i.e. "no. 2", and etc.

In practice, most Londoners sent their wills to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and the Consistory Court of London from the mid 1700s to 1857.

Websites