Wales, Probate Abstracts (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Wales Probate Abstracts, 1544-1858
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Record Description
Record Type Probate Abstracts
Collection years 1544-1858
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
The National Library of Wales

What is in This Collection?

This collection contains images of will abstracts from across Wales for the years 1544-1858. 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

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.

To Browse This Collection

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

What Can These Records Tell Me?

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

Collection Content

Sample Image

How Do I Search This Collection?

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

  • Name of ancestor
  • Approximate date of death

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Diocese
  2. Select Record type and date range 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?

  • 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

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

  • 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

Research Helps

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

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. : 5 August 2016. 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.

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