England, Durham, Probate Commissions, Monitions and Citations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Durham, Probate Commissions, Monitions and Citations, 1650-1858 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Durham,  England
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Record Description
Record Type Probate Commissions, Monitions and Citations
Collection years 1650-1858
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Durham University

What is in the Collection?

This collection will include probate records from 1650-1858 from the county of Durham in North East England near the German Ocean. The name "Durham" comes from the Old English "dun", meaning hill, and the Old Norse "holme", which translates to island. It is about 40 miles in length and 30 miles in width. This county was formerly under the special jurisdiction of the bishop of Durham.

These records are linked to an index on Durham University's website: http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei/data/advanced.php

Probate courts deal in the legal administration of wills and estates. Probate agreements guarantee that a person will faithfully perform the tasks assigned to him by a probate court.

Commissions are authorizations to carry out particular acts, usually, in probate cases, to administer an oath to an executor or administrator of an estate.

Monitions are normally general summonses issued to kindred or others with an interest in a will or administration of an estate, or else instructions to do or refrain from doing a specific action.

Citations are summonses issued usually to a named person but sometimes to anyone concerned, ordering them to appear before a court for some specific purpose.

Collection Contents

Sample Images

Probate Records may include:

  • Name of Testator
  • Name of Executor
  • Names of Beneficiaries
  • Place of Residence
  • Witness Name(s)

How Do I Search the Collection?

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor's given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence, age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

To search by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the 'Reference number' category which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

  • Use the name of the testator, along with the date and place, to locate death records.
  • Use the information given in the probate record to determine wealth and status.
  • Try to locate the names of family members or wards.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name, or variant spellings of the name, before deciding which is correct.
  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.
  • Search the records of nearby localities (Northumberland on the North, Cumbria on the West, North Yorkshire on the South).
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.
  • Probate records sometimes omit the name of the eldest son who received his inheritance according to law; the names of others who had previously received their inheritance; or any deceased family members.
  • Realize that some of the mentioned children may be from a spouse’s previous marriage.
  • The records may also mention a spouse who is not the parent of the children named or give inaccurate relationships of people mentioned in the document.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

“England, Durham Probate Commissions, Monitions and Citations, 1650-1858.” Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org: accessed 2017. Special Collections, Palace Green Library, Durham University, Durham.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Durham Probate Commissions, Monitions and Citations, 1650-1858.