London Probate Records

From FamilySearch Wiki

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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in London. Search these indexes first:  
 
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in London. Search these indexes first:  
 +
1. 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.
 +
 +
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 "Probate Records of This Court" (appears below this section) to determine what original probate records exist for this court and years appertaining.
 +
 +
3. You can also contact or visit the 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.
 +
 +
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 more quickly locate the original wills and admons which are on microfilm, via any family history [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp centers] near you.
 +
 +
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]
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 +
Archdeaconry Court of London Wills Index 1750-1800<br>
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 +
[http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/applications/wills/index.htm]
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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.
 +
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[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/aboutNWI-surrwills.aspx Surrey &amp; South London]
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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]
 +
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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]
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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)&nbsp;
  
 
*[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.  
 
*[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.  

Revision as of 20:45, 7 June 2010

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. 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 London, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in London. Search these indexes first: 1. 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.

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 "Probate Records of This Court" (appears below this section) to determine what original probate records exist for this court and years appertaining.

3. You can also contact or visit the 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.

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 more quickly locate the original wills and admons which are on microfilm, via any family history centers near you.

Before looking for a will, you should search an index.

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

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.

Surrey & South London

Surrey & South London Will Abstracts1470-1856
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.

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

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

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

Commissary Court of London  Will Abstracts Volume 26 (1629-1634) 

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 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.


Before 1858, every parish was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. 

For an alphabetical list of London City parishes and the courts that had jurisdiction over them, click on the link for the letter that a parish name begins with:

 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.


London Probate Courts

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

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 county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:

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

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.

Starting Your Search in Indexes

1. 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.

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 "Probate Records of This Court" (appears below this section) to determine what original probate records exist for this court and years appertaining.

3. You can also contact or visit the 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.

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 more quickly locate the original wills and admons which are on microfilm, via any family history centers near you.

Probate Indexes Online

Before looking for a will, you should search an index.

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

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.

Surrey & South London

Surrey & South London Will Abstracts1470-1856
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.

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

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

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

Commissary Court of London  Will Abstracts Volume 26 (1629-1634) 

Some Explanatory Notes on the London Court