Staffordshire Probate Records

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Getting Started[edit | edit source]

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 Staffordshire. See England Probate Records for a general description of probate records in England.

1858 to the Present[edit | edit source]

Beginning in 1858, the Principal Probate Registry had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Before 1858[edit | edit source]

Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Staffordshire, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes[edit | edit source]

Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Staffordshire.

Start with:

Also check:

Printed Indexes[edit | edit source]

Lichfield wills and administrations, 1516-1652 : also "peculiars" at Lichfield, Birmingham and Derby, 1529-1652; 1675-1790; 1753-1790, found in Index Library(see above for online copy of book) volume 7.  FHL British book 942 B4b vol. 7.

Wills in the Consistory Court of Lichfield : 1650-1700 editor Cliff Webb found in Index Library vol. 125. FHL British book 942 B4b vol. 125.

The Smethwick Local history Society has published the Probate inventories of Smethwick residents, 1647-1747 : in the Lichfield Joint Record Office.

Probate Calendars[edit | edit source]

Registered wills and original wills, administrations and inventories, 1494-1860, and, act books, 1532-1638 for Diocese of Lichfield Episcopal Consistory Court. [1] These are calendars.  They cover most of the county of Stafford.

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[edit | edit source]

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 the parish where your ancestor lived or died. To learn the parish for the place where your ancestor died, look the place up in a gazetteer (topographical dictionary). Here is a link to the 1872 Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales online:   Vision of Britain

The gazetteer will either tell you:

  • A place is a parish, or if not--
  • What parish it is in


Once you have identified the parish, go to Step 3.

Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish[edit | edit source]

Once you have identified the parish where your ancestor lived or died, learn which courts had jurisdiction over it by clicking on a link below for the letter the parish begins with.  Once you find the parish you want in the list, you can click on the court listed to go to a page that will help you find the records for that court.


A   B   C-G H-L M-S T-Z

Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record[edit | edit source]

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.

Staffordshire Probate Courts[edit | edit source]

The following probate courts had some jurisdiction over the county of Staffordshire prior to 1858; note that most of Staffordshire was covered by its largest court jurisdiction, called--the Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory), but the county also had numerous concurrent smaller jurisdictions called "peculiars" (see the "Staffordshire Court Jurisdictions By Parish" section above to determine the correct court jurisdiction for the parish in which you may be searching for a will):

Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts in Staffordshire
[edit | edit source]

Records and indexes for each court are also available in the collection of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Search the Catalog/frameset_fhlc.asp FamilySearch Catalog for the title of the court or the court as an author.