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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Berkshire]]''  
 
''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Berkshire]]''  
  
The following article is about probate records in the county of Cumberland. For general information about English probate records, click [[England Probate Records|here]].  
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== Getting Started  ==
 +
 
 +
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Probate records include [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]] and [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]]. This article is about probate records in Berkshire. See [[England Probate Records]] for a general description of probate records in England.  
  
== Description ==
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=== 1858 to the Present ===
  
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The term ''probate'' refers to a collection of documents, including [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]], [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]] (also called admons), [[I genealogical glossary terms|inventories]], and [[A genealogical glossary terms|act books]]. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.  
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Beginning in 1858, the [[Principal Probate Registry|Principal Probate Registry]] had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.  
  
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The '''Probates After 1857''' section below has a link to an article about probates after 1857.
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=== Before 1858 ===
  
== Getting Started  ==
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Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Berkshire, follow these steps:
  
Follow these steps to look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
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==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
  
#Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived. <br>
+
Here are some&nbsp;indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Berkshire. Search these indexes first:
#Go to the Court Jurisdictions section below.<br>
 
#Click a letter or span of letters for your place. This opens an article showing a table of places and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.<br>
 
#Follow the steps at the top of the table to search for a will.<br><br>
 
  
== Court Jurisdictions by Parish  ==
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Before looking for a will, you should search an index.
  
Before 1858, every parish was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary (or superior) courts.&nbsp; The majority of the Berkshire parishes were under the jurisdiction of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire, as stated above.&nbsp;
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*[http://www.origins.net/help/aboutNWI-procoll.aspx Berkshire Wills and Administrations 1508-1710]. Part of the National Wills Index.
 +
*[http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/index.php Berkshire wills in Wiltshire] This index is in Wiltshire, but has over 11,000 probate records in this online court index!&nbsp;
 +
*[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/BRKwills/ Hungerford and&nbsp; Wantage].&nbsp; This is a collection of about 1000 abstracts of probate documents relating to people residing in the neighbourhood of the towns of Hungerford and Wantage in Berkshire. Since Hungerford is on the County boundary there is some spread into Wiltshire and to a lesser extent into Hampshire and Oxfordshire.
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*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1 Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858)].
  
Click [[Berkshire Probate Jurisdictions|here]] to see an alphabetical list of Berkshire parishes&nbsp;that were the exceptions, and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.  
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[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/show?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fcatalog-search-api%3A8080%2Fwww-catalogapi-webservice%2Fitem%2F1928673 Berkshire Archdeaconry Probate Records 1480-1652] Contents: v. 15. Part 1, Index to personal names -- v. 16. Part 2, Index to place names -- v. 17. Part 3, Index to occupations.  
  
<br>
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Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire&nbsp;An index to the surnames, other than those of testators ... occurring in the registered wills of the Archdeaconry of Berks ...&nbsp;: registers A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I &amp; 19 and parts of register J (pp. 1-578) &amp; register M (pp. 1-245), ca. {{FHL|392490|title-id|disp=A.D. 1480-1710}}
  
== Berkshire Probate Courts  ==
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Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks, {{FHL|208103|title-id|disp=1508 to 1652}} The link takes you to a book version of the index.&nbsp; The book has been microfilmed several times but the copy on the Family History Library microfilm number 88088 has additional comments in it.
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 +
Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Court Index of Wills and administrations, {{FHL|278280|title-id|disp=}} Wills, {{FHL|200522|title-id|disp=1525-1857}} Archdeacon of Berkshire
  
Most of Berkshire was under the jurisdiction of the [[Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire]].&nbsp; The majority of&nbsp;probate searches&nbsp;will be in the records of this court and its superior courts, which were the [[Court of the Bishop of Salisbury (Episcopal Consistory)]] until 1836 and the combined [[Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Oxford]] from that time on.&nbsp; The courts should be searched in that order.
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Index of the probate records of the Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire&nbsp;: {{FHL|341898|title-id|disp=volume 2, 1653-1710}}
  
However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 probate jurisdiction within&nbsp;the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.
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Registers of grants of admonitions, {{FHL|708256|title-id|disp=1547-1857}} Some of these films include indexes  
  
*[[Court of the Bishop of Bristol (Episcopal Consistory)]]
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Will index 1508-1653 for the parishes of Appleford and Sutton in Berkshire FHL Film {{FHL|593525|title-id|disp=1278815 Item 5}}
*[[Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)]]
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Banbury]]
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Faringdon]]
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Langford]]
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Salisbury]] (Sarum)
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Windsor]]
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Canons of Windsor in Wantage]]
 
  
In addition, the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.<br>
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Will index 1508-1652 for the parish of Drayton in Berkshire FHL Film {{FHL|593677|title-id|disp=1278815 Item 8}}
  
*Wealthy individuals<br>
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{{FHL|291460|title-id|disp=Peculiar Court (Faringdon, Berkshire)}} The jurisdiction of this court included the parish of Faringdon which included Little Coxwell, Littleworth, Thrupp, Kindell Weare, Wadley, Port, Puckety, Westbrooke and Little Wickensham. This court is a Salisbury Prebend.
*People who owned property in more than one county<br>
 
*Military and naval personnel<br>
 
*People who lived or owned property outside England<br>
 
  
=== Appeals Courts  ===
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Did you find a reference to a probate record?
  
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:
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*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.
 +
*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
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==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
 
  
The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.  
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Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
  
<br>
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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 [[P genealogical glossary terms|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:
  
== Probate Indexes Online  ==
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*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
  
Before looking for a will, you should search an index.
+
The gazetteer will either tell you:
  
*[http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/index.php Berkshire wills in Wiltshire] This index is in Wiltshire, but has over 11,000 probate records in this online court index! Please use it!
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*A place is a parish, or
 +
*What parish it is a part of, or
 +
*What place it is near.
  
<br>
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If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
  
*[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/BRKwills/ Hungerford and&nbsp; Wantage].&nbsp; This is a collection of about 1000 abstracts of probate documents relating to people residing in the neighbourhood of the towns of Hungerford and Wantage in Berkshire. Since Hungerford is on the County boundary there is some spread into Wiltshire and to a lesser extent into Hampshire and Oxfordshire.<br>
+
Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.  
  
*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1 Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858)]. [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1]
+
==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish  ====
  
== Probate Indexes  ==
+
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 Berkshire fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Most of the places in Berkshire were under the jurisdiction of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Click [[Berkshire Probate Jurisdictions|here]] to see an alphabetical list of Berkshire parishes&nbsp;that were the exceptions, and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.
  
Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire (Episcopal Consistory Court) An index to the surnames, other than those of testators ... occurring in the registered wills of the Archdeaconry of Berks ...&nbsp;: registers A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I &amp; 19 and parts of register J (pp. 1-578) &amp; register M (pp. 1-245), ca. A.D. 1480-1710 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=392490&disp=An+index+to+the+surnames%2C+other+than+t%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks, 1508 to 1652 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=208103&disp=Index+to+wills+proved+and+administration%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Court Index of Wills and administrations, 1508-1857 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=278280&disp=Wills+and+administrations%2C+1508%2D1857%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Wills, 1525-1857 Archdeacon of Berkshire [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=200522&disp=Wills%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the court of the Archdeacon of Berks, 1508 to 1652 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=208328&disp=Index+to+wills+proved+and+administration%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Index of the probate records of the Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire&nbsp;: volume 2, 1653-1710 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=341898&disp=Index+of+the+probate+records+of+the+Cour%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Registers of grants of admonitions, 1547-1857 Some of these films include indexes [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=708256&disp=Registers+of+grants+of+admonitions%2C+15%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Will index 1508-1653 for the parishes of Appleford and Sutton in Berkshire<br>FHL Film 1278815 Item 5 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=593525&disp=Parish+register+transcripts%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Will index 1508-1652 for the parish of Drayton in Berkshire FHL Film 1278815 Item 8 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=593677&disp=Parish+register+transcripts%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Peculiar Court (Faringdon, Berkshire) The jurisdiction of this court included the parish of Faringdon which included Little Coxwell, Littleworth, Thrupp, Kindell Weare, Wadley, Port, Puckety, Westbrooke and Little Wickensham. This court is a Salisbury Prebend. [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=291460&disp=Wills+and+administrations%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
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==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
  
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Berkshire Probate Courts  ==
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Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:
  
From the website of the Oxfordshire Record Office:&nbsp; "Negotiations are at an advanced stage with the Genealogical Society of Utah to digitize all the Oxfordshire Probate Records, 1516-1857.&nbsp; It is hoped that this will be a joint project with Berkshire Record Office and the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies to digitize all the wills of the three counties. &nbsp;If successful, the project will involve images of all the wills, inventories, and related documents being placed on a commercial provider’s site, with indexes available through the Record Office sites, and accessed on a pay-per-view basis. Digitization is expected to take place in 2010."
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*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection. *Visit the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp][https://www.familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library] or a [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|family history center]] and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below. <br>
  
<br>
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<br><br>
  
== Estate Duty Records<br> ==
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== Berkshire Probate Courts  ==
  
Starting in 1796, a tax or death duty was payable on estates over a certain value. Estate duty abstracts may add considerable information not found elsewhere. Estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to [[Estate Duty Records]].<br>
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Most of Berkshire was under the jurisdiction of the [[Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire]].&nbsp; The majority of&nbsp;probate searches&nbsp;will be in the records of this court and its superior courts, which were the [[Court of the Bishop of Salisbury (Episcopal Consistory)]] until 1836 and the combined [[Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Oxford]] from that time on.&nbsp; The courts should be searched in that order.  
  
== Probates After 1857  ==
+
However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 probate jurisdiction within&nbsp;the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.
  
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the&nbsp;settlement of estates and all&nbsp;wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. For more information, go to [[Principal Probate Registry]].<br>
+
*[[Court of the Bishop of Bristol (Episcopal Consistory)]]
 +
*[[Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Banbury]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Faringdon]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of Langford]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Salisbury]] (Sarum)
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Windsor]]
 +
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Canons of Windsor in Wantage]]
 +
*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
  
{{Place|Berkshire}}  
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{{Place|Berkshire|Probate}}
 +
{{England Probate Records}}
  
[[Category:Berkshire]]
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[[Category:Berkshire | Probate ]]

Revision as of 15:10, 7 May 2013

England Gotoarrow.png Berkshire

Getting Started

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 Berkshire. 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.

Before 1858

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

Step 1. Search Indexes

Here are some indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Berkshire. Search these indexes first:

Before looking for a will, you should search an index.

Berkshire Archdeaconry Probate Records 1480-1652 Contents: v. 15. Part 1, Index to personal names -- v. 16. Part 2, Index to place names -- v. 17. Part 3, Index to occupations.

Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire An index to the surnames, other than those of testators ... occurring in the registered wills of the Archdeaconry of Berks ... : registers A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I & 19 and parts of register J (pp. 1-578) & register M (pp. 1-245), ca. A.D. 1480-1710

Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks, 1508 to 1652 The link takes you to a book version of the index.  The book has been microfilmed several times but the copy on the Family History Library microfilm number 88088 has additional comments in it.

Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Court Index of Wills and administrations, [1] Wills, 1525-1857 Archdeacon of Berkshire

Index of the probate records of the Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire : volume 2, 1653-1710

Registers of grants of admonitions, 1547-1857 Some of these films include indexes

Will index 1508-1653 for the parishes of Appleford and Sutton in Berkshire FHL Film 1278815 Item 5

Will index 1508-1652 for the parish of Drayton in Berkshire FHL Film 1278815 Item 8

Peculiar Court (Faringdon, Berkshire) The jurisdiction of this court included the parish of Faringdon which included Little Coxwell, Littleworth, Thrupp, Kindell Weare, Wadley, Port, Puckety, Westbrooke and Little Wickensham. This court is a Salisbury Prebend.

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 Berkshire fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Most of the places in Berkshire were under the jurisdiction of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Click here to see an alphabetical list of Berkshire parishes that were the exceptions, and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.

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 the [2]Family 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.



Berkshire Probate Courts

Most of Berkshire was under the jurisdiction of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire.  The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts, which were the Court of the Bishop of Salisbury (Episcopal Consistory) until 1836 and the combined Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Oxford from that time on.  The courts should be searched in that order.

However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 probate jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.