Oxfordshire 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 Sussex. 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 Oxfordshire. For a general description of England probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].  
  
 
=== 1858 to the Present  ===
 
=== 1858 to the Present  ===
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=== Before 1858  ===
 
=== Before 1858  ===
  
Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Sussex, follow these steps:  
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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 Oxfordshire, follow these steps:  
  
 
==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
 
==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
  
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Sussex. Search these indexes first:  
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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Oxfordshire. Search these indexes first:  
  
*[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.
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*[http://users.ox.ac.uk/%7Emalcolm/genuki/big/eng/OXF/probate/1550-90.txt| Index of Probate Inventories, Oxfordshire 1550-1590] -- three files, based on an original document "Household And Farm Inventories In Oxfordshire, 1550-1590" published by the Historical Manuscript Society (1994.)
*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. 
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*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1| 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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Did you find a reference to a probate record?  
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See also indexes on the individual court pages. Did you find a reference to a probate record?  
  
 
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.  
 
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.  
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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 Sussex 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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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 Oxfordshire 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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|  [[Oxfordshire Probate Jurisdictions Parishes A through C|A-C]]  
 
|  [[Oxfordshire Probate Jurisdictions Parishes A through C|A-C]]  
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==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
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Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:
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*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
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*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>
  
 
== Oxfordshire Probate Courts  ==
 
== Oxfordshire Probate Courts  ==
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*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln]]  
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln]]  
 
*[[Court of the Manor of Sibford|Court of the Manor of Sibford]]  
 
*[[Court of the Manor of Sibford|Court of the Manor of Sibford]]  
*[[Court of the Chancellor of the University of Oxford|Court of the Chancellor of the University of Oxford]]
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*[[Court of the Chancellor of the University of Oxford|Court of the Chancellor of the University of Oxford]]  
 
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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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The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.
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<br>
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== Probate Indexes Online  ==
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Before looking for a will, you should search an index.<br>
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*[http://users.ox.ac.uk/%7Emalcolm/genuki/big/eng/OXF/probate/1550-90.txt| Index of Probate Inventories, Oxfordshire 1550-1590] -- three files, based upon an original document "Household And Farm Inventories In Oxfordshire, 1550-1590" published by the Historical Manuscript Society &amp; H.M.S.O. (Editing By Dr. W. O. Hassall. Original transcription by M.A.Havinden, D.G.Vaisey &amp; Jane E. Sayers. Computer transcription by M.Brewerton (c) Copyright 1994.)
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*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1| Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384 - 1858)]
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See also indexes on the individual court pages.
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<br>
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== Some Explanatory Notes on the Oxfordshire Probate Courts  ==
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== Estate Duty Records<br> ==
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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]].<br>
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== Probates After 1857  ==
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The [http://www.origins.net/help/helpNWI-oxf.aspx Origins Network] has an index to Oxfordshire Peculiars for 1547-1856.<br>
  
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the&nbsp;settlement of estates and all&nbsp;wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. For more information, go to [[Principal Probate Registry]].<br>
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[[Category:Oxfordshire|Probate]]  
  
[[Category:Oxfordshire]]
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The Oxfordshire Family&nbsp; Society has [http://wills.oxfordshirefhs.org.uk/index.html transcribed wills ]online on their website.

Revision as of 19:17, 6 September 2011

England Gotoarrow.png Oxfordshire Gotoarrow.png Oxfordshire Probate Records

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 Oxfordshire. 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 Oxfordshire, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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

See also indexes on the individual court pages. 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 Oxfordshire 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.

 A-C  D-K  L-R  S-Z


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 Family History Library or afamily history center and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below.

Oxfordshire Probate Courts

Most of Oxfordshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the combined Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Oxford. The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts. However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.

The Origins Network has an index to Oxfordshire Peculiars for 1547-1856.

The Oxfordshire Family  Society has transcribed wills online on their website.