England, Kent, Wills and Probate (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Kent, Wills and Probate, 1440-1881
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Kent,  England
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Location of Kent, England
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Record Description
Record Type Wills and Probates
Collection years 1440-1881
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Kent History and Library Centre

What is in This Collection?

This collection includes wills and probate records from the county of Kent, covering the period 1440-1881. Availability of the records varies by year and locality.

Probate records document the transfer of possessions after a person dies. Wills, in particular, were written to ensure that the property and personal estate of a deceased person would be distributed according to his or her wishes. If the deceased did not specify an executor, the court would usually assign the next of kin the duty of distributing the goods.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. Images in this collection are available for viewing if you are a registered FamilySearch user. You can register for a free FamilySearch account here. These images can also be viewed online by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at a Family History Center near you, or the Family History Library. The images are also viewable to users who have contributed to the FamilySearch Indexing effort. Learn how to be a part of FamilySearch indexing here.

For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Kent, Wills and Probate, 1440-1881.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Wills and Probate Records may contain:

  • Full name of deceased
  • Residence of deceased
  • Names of beneficiaries (usually surviving spouse and children)
  • Name of executor or administrator
  • Names of witnesses
  • Date and place of will or probate
  • Relatives present at the time of death
  • Itemization of household goods and property
  • Listing of any debt or funeral expenses to be paid
  • Property names

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Approximate date of death

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page. br>

  1. Select County, Court
  2. Select Record Type
  3. Select Year, Surname Range, Volume 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?

  • Using probate dates, estimate a death year and look for a death record
  • If a death date is found, along with an age, estimate a birth year and search for birth records
  • Use the names of relatives mentioned in the will and probate documents to look for families in censuses
  • If the name of a spouse in found, search for a marriage record
  • Continue to search for people with the same surname to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives

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

  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names. Remember that it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name in a church record
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of matches
  • Search in neighboring towns and counties
    • Essex to the north
    • London and Surrey to the west
    • East Sussex to the south

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Kent.

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, Kent, Wills and Probate, 1440-1881." images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. County Record Office, Maidstone, England.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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.