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The following article is about probate records in the county of Norfolk. For general information about English probate records, click here.


Contents

Description

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 wills, administrations (also called admons), inventories, and 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.

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 section below has a link to an article about probates after 1857.


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 Probates After 1857 section below contains links to additional information about the records of this court. 

To look for a probate record before 1858:

  1. Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
  2. Go to Court Jurisdictions section below.
  3. Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.
  4. Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.

Court Jurisdictions by Parish

Before 1858, every town and parish in Norfolk was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary ecclesiastical court and one or more secondary ecclesiastical courts.

To see a list of Norfolk places and the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, click on a letter link:


 A  B  C-F  G-H  I-N  O-S  T-Z


Norfolk Probate Courts

These courts had some pre-1858 jurisdiction over the county of Norfolk.  Click on a court name for more information.  See also the Indexes section below. Click on a court name to learn more about the records available 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.<br>

  •  Wealthy individuals<br>
  • People who owned property in more than one county<br>
  • Military and naval personnel<br>
  • People who lived or owned property outside England<br>


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.

Probate Indexes Online

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


All the indexes of pre-1858 probate records are included in NROCAT. Some pre-1858 wills were proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and these can be searched via The National Archives documents online web page. [1]


http://www.norfolksources.norfolk.gov.uk/  (Probate records for 1800–1857)

Probate Indexes

Church of England. Archdeaconry of Norfolk. Wills and administrations, 1459-1857[2]

Index of wills proved in the Norfolk Archdeaconry Court Contents: v. 3.1453-1542 -- v. 5.1542-1560 -- v. 10.1560- 1603/4[3]

England, Norfolk - Probate records - Indexes [4]

Wills and administrations, 1469-1857 Church of England. Archdeaconry of Norwich.[5] Court
Index of wills proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich and now preserved in the District Probate Registry at Norwich, 1604-1686 [6]
Index of wills proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich, 1687-1750 [7]
Index of wills proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich, 1751-1818 [8]
Index of wills proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich, 1819-1857 [9]

Index to Norfolk (England) wills, 1838-1858[10]

Norfolk peculiar jurisdictions Contents: Index to probate records, 1416-1857[11]

Some Explanatory Notes on the Norfolk Probate Courts

Estate Duty Records

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. Estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.



Probates After 1857

Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. For more information, go to Principal Probate Registry.



 

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