Difference between revisions of "Berkshire Probate Records"

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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Berkshire. Search these indexes first:  
 
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Berkshire. Search these indexes first:  
  
*[http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml] -- compiled by the Sussex Family History Group which has transcribed the names of 12,300 individuals found in Sussex wills, including testators, executors, beneficiaries or witnesses. The information recorded includes name, date and place.  
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== Probate Indexes Online  ==
*The [http://sussexrecordsociety.org/home2.asp?an=&ap= Sussex Record Society] has published four volumes of indexes to Sussex wills, and these can be viewed on their [http://sussexrecordsociety.org/bwills1.asp?an=&ap= website]. They are arranged by parish then by surname. 
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*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/wills.asp?WT.hp=Wills Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858)].
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Before looking for a will, you should search an index.
 +
 
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*[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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 +
<br>
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*[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>
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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)]. [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1]
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== Probate Indexes  ==
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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. [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 A.D. 1480-1710]
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Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks, [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 1508 to 1652]
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Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Court Index of Wills and administrations, [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=278280&disp=Wills+and+administrations%2C+1508%2D1857%20%20&columns=*,0,01508-1857] Wills, [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=200522&disp=Wills%20%20&columns=*,0,0 1525-1857] Archdeacon of Berkshire
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 +
Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the court of the Archdeacon of Berks, [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 1508 to 1652]
 +
 
 +
Index of the probate records of the Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire&nbsp;: [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 volume 2, 1653-1710]  
 +
 
 +
Registers of grants of admonitions, [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 1547-1857] Some of these films include indexes
 +
 
 +
Will index 1508-1653 for the parishes of Appleford and Sutton in Berkshire FHL Film [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=593525&disp=Parish+register+transcripts%20%20&columns=*,0,0 1278815 Item 5]
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Will index 1508-1652 for the parish of Drayton in Berkshire FHL Film [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=593677&disp=Parish+register+transcripts%20%20&columns=*,0,0 1278815 Item 8]
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[http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=291460&disp=Wills+and+administrations%20%20&columns=*,0,0 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?  
 
Did you find a reference to a probate record?  
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The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.  
 
The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.  
 
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
== Probate Indexes Online  ==
 
 
Before looking for a will, you should search an 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! Please use it!
 
 
<br>
 
 
*[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>
 
 
*[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]
 
 
== Probate Indexes  ==
 
 
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. [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 A.D. 1480-1710]
 
 
Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks, [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 1508 to 1652]
 
 
Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Court Index of Wills and administrations, [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=278280&disp=Wills+and+administrations%2C+1508%2D1857%20%20&columns=*,0,01508-1857] Wills, [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=200522&disp=Wills%20%20&columns=*,0,0 1525-1857] Archdeacon of Berkshire
 
 
Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the court of the Archdeacon of Berks, [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 1508 to 1652]
 
 
Index of the probate records of the Court of the Archdeacon of Berkshire&nbsp;: [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 volume 2, 1653-1710]
 
 
Registers of grants of admonitions, [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 1547-1857] Some of these films include indexes
 
 
Will index 1508-1653 for the parishes of Appleford and Sutton in Berkshire FHL Film [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=593525&disp=Parish+register+transcripts%20%20&columns=*,0,0 1278815 Item 5]
 
 
Will index 1508-1652 for the parish of Drayton in Berkshire FHL Film [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=593677&disp=Parish+register+transcripts%20%20&columns=*,0,0 1278815 Item 8]
 
 
[http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=291460&disp=Wills+and+administrations%20%20&columns=*,0,0 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.
 
  
 
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Berkshire Probate Courts  ==
 
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Berkshire Probate Courts  ==
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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."  
 
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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<br>{{Place|Berkshire}}  
{{Place|Berkshire}}  
 
  
 
[[Category:Berkshire]]
 
[[Category:Berkshire]]

Revision as of 18:53, 7 June 2010

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. For a general description of England probate records, click here.

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

Probate Indexes Online

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


  • Hungerford and  Wantage.  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.

Probate Indexes

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 ... : 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

Archdeaconry of Berkshire. Court Index of Wills and administrations, [2] Wills, 1525-1857 Archdeacon of Berkshire

Index to wills proved and administrations granted in the court of the Archdeacon of Berks, 1508 to 1652

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 Sussex 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.

Click here to see an alphabetical list of Berkshire parishes that were the exceptions, and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.


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.

In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.

  • Wealthy individuals
  • Interregnum, 1649-1660, because the Prerogative Court was the only court.
  • Property in more than one diocese in the Province of Canterbury.
  • Property in both the Province of Canterbury and Province of York.
  • People who died outside England, including British citizens and others who held property in England.

Appeals Courts

Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:

The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury also served as an appeals court.

Some Explanatory Notes on the Berkshire Probate Courts

From the website of the Oxfordshire Record Office:  "Negotiations are at an advanced stage with the Genealogical Society of Utah to digitize all the Oxfordshire Probate Records, 1516-1857.  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.  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."