London Probate Records

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== 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. Probate records include [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]] and [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]]. This article is about probate records in London. For a general description of England probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].  
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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 London. See [[England Probate Records]] for a general description of probate records in England.  
  
 
=== 1858 to the Present  ===
 
=== 1858 to the Present  ===
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==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
 
==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
  
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in London. Search these indexes first:  
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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:  
 +
 
 +
*[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.
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*[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-acl2.htm Archdeaconry Court of London Wills Index 1750-1800]
 +
 
 +
*[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm 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.
 +
 
 +
*[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/aboutNWI-surrwills.aspx 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.
 +
 
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*[http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/invent.htm Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section Indexes to Probate Inventories of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral] - 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 Probate Records (wills and administrations) at Guildhall Library ]
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 +
*[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).
  
*[http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml] -- 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. The information recorded includes name, date and place.
 
*The [http://sussexrecordsociety.org/home2.asp?an=&ap= Sussex Record Society] has published four volumes of indexes to Sussex wills, and these can be viewed on their [http://sussexrecordsociety.org/bwills1.asp?an=&ap= website]. They are arranged by parish then by surname. 
 
 
*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/wills.asp?WT.hp=Wills Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858)].
 
*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/wills.asp?WT.hp=Wills Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858)].
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 +
''Also check indexed abstracts:''
 +
 +
*[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Wills/Wills1.html Commissary Court of London  Will Abstracts Volume 26 (1629-1634)] - free.
 +
 +
*[http://www.origins.net/help/aboutNWI-LONMDX.aspx 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?  
 
Did you find a reference to a probate record?  
  
 
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.  
 
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.  
*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.
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*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.<br>
  
 
==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
 
==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
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==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish  ====
 
==== 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 London 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.  
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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]:
  
<br>Before 1858, every parish was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp;
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{| width="400" cellspacing="2" cellpadding="1" border="1"
 
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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:
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{| cellspacing="2" cellpadding="1" width="400" border="1"
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|-
 
|-
 
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes A-F|A-F]]  
 
| &nbsp;[[London Probate Jurisdictions Parishes A-F|A-F]]  
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|}
 
|}
  
<br>
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<br>  
  
 
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]].  
 
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>
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==== 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[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>
  
 
== London Probate Courts  ==
 
== London Probate Courts  ==
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*[[Court of the Deanery of the Arches of London, Croydon, Shoreham (Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury)]]&nbsp;  
 
*[[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]]  
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral]]  
*[[Royal Peculiar Court of St Katherine's by the Tower]]
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*[[Royal Peculiar Court of St Katherine's by the Tower]]  
 
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*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
In addition, the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.<br>
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*Wealthy individuals<br>
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*Interregnum, 1649-1660, because the Prerogative Court was the only court.
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*Property in more than one diocese in the Province of Canterbury.
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*Property in both the Province of Canterbury and Province of York.
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*People who died outside England, including British citizens and others who held property in England.
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=== Appeals Courts  ===
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Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:
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*[[Court of Arches]]
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*[[High Court of Delegates]]
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*[[Doctor's Common]]
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The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.
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== Historical Background  ==
 
== Historical Background  ==
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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.  
 
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.  
  
== Starting Your Search in Indexes  ==
+
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.  
 
+
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.
+
 
+
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.
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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.
+
 
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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.
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== Probate Indexes Online  ==
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+
Before looking for a will, you should search an index. <br>
+
 
+
[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-acl2.htm http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-acl2.htm]
+
 
+
Archdeaconry Court of London Wills Index 1750-1800<br>
+
 
+
[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm]
+
 
+
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.
+
 
+
[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/aboutNWI-surrwills.aspx Surrey &amp; South London]  
+
 
+
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.  
+
 
+
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.
+
 
+
[http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/invent.htm http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/invent.htm]
+
 
+
Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section<br>Indexes to Probate Inventories of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral<br>
+
 
+
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).
+
== Websites  ==
  
[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Wills/Wills1.html http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Wills/Wills1.html]  
+
*[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)
  
Commissary Court of London&nbsp; Will Abstracts Volume 26 (1629-1634)&nbsp;
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{{Template:Pros-Lond}}
  
== Some Explanatory Notes on the London Court  ==
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{{London}}
  
 
[[Category:London]]
 
[[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