Huntingdonshire Probate Records
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- 1 Getting Started
- 2 Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
- 3 Some Explanatory Notes on the Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
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 Huntingdonshire. See England Probate Records for a general description of probate records in England.
1858 to the Present
Beginning in 1858, the Principal Probate Registry had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.
- 1858-1957 - England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957 at FamilySearch — index
Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Huntingdonshire, follow these steps:
Step 1. Search Indexes
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Huntingdonshire. Search these indexes first:
- Huntingdonshire Wills 1479-1652. Part of the National Wills Index.
Note: List here any that are combined indexes for several of the courts. If an index covers only one of the courts, the index should be listed on that court's page.
- Probate records of the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1585-1858 Many index listing in the following film notes on the FamilySearch Catalog 
- Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1559-1857, 1559-1857 This Court only had jurisdiction in Huntingdon prior to 1837 
- Calendars of Huntingdonshire wills, 1479-1652 
- Abstracts of Huntingdonshire wills, 1601-1652, in Lincoln consistory court at Lincoln, England 
- Transactions of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archaeological Society - v. 5-6 (1936-1940) v. 6 Part 3 pages 79-96 have an index of Wills Proved in the Peculiar Courts of Brampton, Buckden, Leighton Bromswold, Stow Longa, all in the County of Huntingdon, together with the Bonds and Inventories. According to this 1940 publication They were preserved in the Probate registry at Peterborough. 
- The Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of Ely and Court of the Archdeacon of Ely had jurisdiction only from 1837-1858 in Huntingdon Index of the probate records of the Consistory Court of Ely, 1449-1858, Index of the probate records of the Court of the Archdeacon of Ely, 1513-1857 
- Court of the Bishop of Peterborough (Episcopal Consistory) only included the parish of Washingley in Huntingdon Calendars of wills, administrations & etc., for the Archdeaconry Court of Northamptonshire and the Consistory Court of Peterborough 
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 Huntingdonshire 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.
Before 1858 all of Huntingdonshire, with just a few exceptions, was under the primary probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. The exceptions were a few places and parishes considered peculiars and their courts will be found in the jurisdiction lists through the links below. Click on a letter link for the name of a parish.
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 theFamily History Library or a family history center and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below.
Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
Most of Huntingdonshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts. However, the following smaller courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.
- Court of the Archdeacon of Huntingdon (Hitchin Division)
- Court of the Bishop of Lincoln (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Bishop of Ely (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of Brampton
- Court of the Peculiar of Buckden
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Leighton Bromswold
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Stow Longa
- Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury
Some Explanatory Notes on the Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
Before the Reformation the diocese of Lincoln included the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. After the Reformation, the archdeaconry remained until the period 1837-1845. 
- Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: by author, 1974; page 66.