Wales, Probate Abstracts (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This collection consists of abstracts from across Wales for the years 1544-1858.

Access the Records
Wales Probate Abstracts, 1544-1858 .
This article describes a collection of records at
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Record Description
Record Type Probate Abstracts
Collection years 1544-1858
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
The National Library of Wales

Why Should I Look at This Collection?

Abstracts were created to summarize the details of the will or probate documents. They contain information that was pulled from the original wills, and they were independently checked and proofread at the time of their creation. They are therefore an excellent working guide to the names, relationships and place names contained in the original wills.

What Is in the Collection?

This collection contains images of will abstracts. The original abstracts were microfilmed at the National Library of Wales.

Abstracts were originally recorded in the six consistory courts, including the dioceses of:

  • Bangor
  • Brecon
  • Hawarden
  • Llandaff
  • St. Asaph
  • St. David's

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Wales Probate Abstracts, 1544-1858.

Sample Image

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

The contents of probate records vary greatly depending on the prevailing law, local customs and the personality of the record keeper. There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Probate Extracts normally include:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Residence
  • Type of document
  • Death date
  • Probate date
  • Burial place
  • Names and residences of heirs and their relationship to the deceased

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before searching, it is best to know the following information:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Approximate date of death

As you search, compare your results with this information to find a match.

View the Images

  1. Go to the collection browse page
  2. Click on the correct Diocese link
  3. Click on the correct Record Type and Date Range link to go to the image viewer
  4. Use the onscreen controls to move between images as you search for a match.

What Do I Do Next?

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

  • Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives.
  • Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records since the probates exist for an earlier time period.
  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.
  • You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
  • Probate records may not give an exact death date, but a death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate. Use the document (such as the will) or the recording dates to approximate a death date.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Probate records may omit the name of the eldest son who received his inheritance according to law, others who previously received their inheritance, or deceased family members.
  • Probate records may mention children who are from a spouse’s previous marriage or mention a spouse who is not the parent of the children named.

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Remember that the patronymic naming system was used in Wales. The adoption of fixed surnames did not happen at one time for all families or the country as a whole.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • Search the indexes of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

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

"Wales, Probate Abstracts 1544-1858" Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing National Library, Aberystwyth, Wales.

Image Citation

When looking at an image, the citation is found 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 Wales, Probate Abstracts, 1544-1858.

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.