England, Durham, Diocese of Durham Original Wills (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Diocese of Durham Original Wills, 1650-1857
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Durham,  England
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Record Description
Record Type Wills
Collection years 1650-1857
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Durham University

What is in This Collection?

This collection includes original wills from 1650-1857.

Although many will records before the 17th century are hard to come by, most of the records since then are originals and have kept their validity. The date of the testator's death was often used to endorse wills from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition, some original wills were made simply by the testator filling in a pre-printed form with their desires in regards to the disposal of their estates.

To Browse This Collection

These records are sorted by reference numbers. For assistance with searching, see the section How Do I Search This Collection?.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Durham, Diocese of Durham Original Wills, 1650-1857.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Wills usually include:

  • Surname and Given Name of the Participant
  • Age and/or Birthdate of Participant
  • Gender of Participant
  • Residence
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status
  • Surname and Given Name of Spouse
  • Names of Children
  • Name and Address of Beneficiary
  • Name of Executor of the Will

Collection Content

Sample Image

England, Durham Probate Records, Orginal Wills Consistory Court of Durham DGS 004050665 1.jpg

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the deceased
  • The approximate date of death

Helpful Hint: The records in this collection are linked to an index on Durham University Probate Database website.

  • Fill in as much information as you know and click on Search Database
  • The results will provide a link back to the images and/or give you the reference number to look within FamilySearch
  • Example: Reference DPR/I/1/1662/C13/1-2) indicates the records are from the year 1662; this person is the 13th individual with records in the surname letter "C"

View the Images

If you already know the approximate year and the surname, you can go directly to the images. Otherwise, once you have a reference number you may view images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Reference Number to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community
  • Continue to search the images and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives
  • Use the age and death date to estimate a birth year. Search for a birth record
  • If the name of a spouse is found, look for a marriage record
  • Use the names of relatives to find the family in censuses

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Be aware that errors (such as name spelling) still may have occurred in the documents, especially if the document was not written by the testator
  • Check for variant spellings of the names
  • Search the records of nearby localities
    • Tyne, Wear, and Northumberland to the north
    • Cumbria to the west
    • North Yorkshire to the south

Record Finder

Consult the England Record Finder to find other records

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
“England, Durham, Diocese of Durham Original Wills, 1650-1857.” images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Special Collections, Palace Green Library, Durham University, Durham.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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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.