England, Durham Probate Bonds (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Durham Probate Bonds, 1556-1858 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Durham,  England
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Record Description
Record Type Probate Bonds
Collection years 1556-1858
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Durham University

What is in the Collection?

This collection will include records from 1556-1858.

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

This collection comes from the University of Durham. Before being housed by the University, the records were organized by number, although not necessarily chronologically. Up to the year 1738, the number of each bond is prefixed with the letter B. From 1739 onwards, the bonds are divided into two numerical sequences for each year. Administration bonds, relating to the estates of those that died without a will, are prefixed with the letter A. The other group, consisting primarily of will bonds, relating to executors (those assigned to carry out a will), are prefixed with the letter T for testament. Filed with the will bonds are also some tuition and curation bonds, relating to the appointment of guardians for minors.

These records are linked to an index on Durham University's website: North East Inheritance database (pre-1858 Durham Probate Records)

Collection Content

Sample Images

Sample Images

Probate bond 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.

What do I do Next?

  • Use the name of the testator, along with the date and place, to locate death records
  • Use the information given in the bond 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.
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

While probate records are one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence, they must be used with caution. For example, they may:

  • 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.
  • Mention children from a spouse’s previous marriage.
  • Mention a spouse who is not the parent of the children named.
  • Give inaccurate relationships of people mentioned in the document

How You Can Contribute

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 Bonds, 1556-1858." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org: accessed 2016. 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 Bonds, 1556-1858.