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[[England]] > [[Cornwall]]  
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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Cornwall]]''
  
For an explanation of probate records in England, click [[England Probate Records|here]].
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== Getting Started  ==
  
== Cornwall Probate Courts  ==
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''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 Cornwall. See [[England Probate Records]] for a general description of probate records in England.
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=== 1858 to the Present  ===
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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.
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=== Before 1858  ===
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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 Cornwall, follow these steps:
 +
 
 +
==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Cornwall. Search these indexes first:
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Before looking for a will, you should search an index. <br>
 +
 
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*[http://www.origins.net/help/aboutNWI-procoll.aspx Cornwall Archdeaconry Wills and Administrations 1569-1799]. Part of the National Wills Index.
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*[http://www.origins.net/help/aboutNWI-procoll.aspx Wills and Administrations Exeter Principal Registry 1559-1799]. Part of the National Wills Index. Part of Cornwall fell under this jurisdiction.
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*[http://www.origins.net/help/aboutNWI-procoll.aspx Exeter Consistory Wills and Administrations 1532-1800]. Part of the National Wills Index. Part of Cornwall fell under this jurisdiction.
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*[http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sterth/wills_by_name_ac.htm Cornish Will Abstracts 1690 - 1859, for St. Erth and other places.]
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*[http://webs.lanset.com/azazella/cornish_database.html Cornish Genealogy Database, for surnames from the parishes in the south-west of Cornwall – the Penwith district and peninsula with its government seat in Penzance, and the Kerrier district and Lizard peninsula with its government seat in Camborne.]
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*[http://members.iimetro.com.au/%7erosewarne/probate1.PDF Cornish Probate Records, selected surnames, A – M]
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*[http://members.iimetro.com.au/%7erosewarne/probate2.PDF Cornish Probate Records, selected surnames, N – Z]
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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)] These include many Cornwall people.
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Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall&nbsp;
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Original wills, administrations and inventories for the Consistorial Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall, {{FHL|329778|title-id|disp=1579-1859}}
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Calendar of wills, administrations and accounts relating to the counties of Cornwall and Devon in the Connotorial Archidiaconal Court of Cornwall&nbsp;: (with which are included the records of the Royal Peculiar of St Burian) now preserved in the district probate registry at Bodwin Contents: {{FHL|241992|title-id|disp=v. 56. 1569-1699 -- v. 59. 1700-1799.}} <br>Cornish probate records at Cornwall Record Office, {{FHL|303843|title-id|disp=1800-1857}}.<br> Index to Cornish probate records, {{FHL|351093|title-id|disp=1600-1649}}.
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Unproved Archdeaconry Court Wills are listed in {{FHL|556166|title-id|disp=this book}}.
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{{FHL|556166|title-id|disp=Index}} to Cornish estate duty and Deanery of St. Buryan wills The Royal Peculiar of the Deanery of St. Buryan included the parishes of St. Buryan, St. Levan and Sennen. See above v. 56 amd v.59
  
The following probate courts had some jurisdiction over the county of Cornwall prior to 1858:
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"The present {{FHL|303843|title-id|disp=list}} is an amalgamation of the main series of Archdeaconry of Cornwall wills and bonds with those of the Royal Peculiar of St. Buryan and the Estate Duty Office wills (the latter from 1812 to 1857)."
  
*[[Prerogative Court of Canterbury|Prerogative Court of Canterbury]]
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Calendars of wills and administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall&nbsp;: proved in the Court of the principal registry of the Bishop of Exeter, {{FHL|235196|title-id|disp=1559-1799.}} And of Devon only, proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter, {{FHL|251593|title-id|disp=1559-1799.}}
*[[Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall|Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall]]
 
*[[Episcopal Consistory Court of Exeter|Episcopal Consistory Court of Exeter]]
 
*[[Court of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral|Court of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral]]
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of St. Buryan|Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of St. Buryan]]
 
  
<br>
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Transcript of Devonshire wills, {{FHL|289964|title-id|disp=1600-1800}}. This court also covered some Cornwall parishes and these abstracts may include wills of Cornwall residents. br&gt;Index to wills, copies and related papers [of the County of Devon], {{FHL|575287|title-id|disp=1200-1900's }}. It may include persons from Cornwall.
  
=== Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury ===
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Cornish wills in Prerogative Court of Canterbury Contents: {{FHL|282741|title-id|disp=v. 1. 1383-1558, A-J -- v. 2. K-Z -- v. 3. 1558-1583.}}
  
In addition, the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] had jurisdiction over the whole of England. Wealthier individuals, people who owned property in more than one county or lower court's jurisdiction, people who died overseas but owned property in Britain, and Naval personnel often had their estates proven through the Archbishop's court.
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Indexes Archdeaconry of Cornwall {{FHL|15644|title-id|disp=1796-1811 Death Duty Registers.}}<br>{{FHL|556166|title-id|disp=Index}} to Cornish estate duty and Deanery of St. Buryan wills. <br> {{FHL|573927|title-id|disp=Wills for the Diocese of Exeter (County of Devon), 1812-1857}} The copies were made for the Legacy Duty Department of the Stamp Duty Office, and from 1848 on to its successor, The Estate Duty Office of the Inland Revenue Office. They consist of wills proved in the Principal Registry and Consistory Court of the Bishop of Exeter, and in the various Archdeaconry Courts.  
  
=== Appeals Courts  ===
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Estate duty wills, Cornwall, {{FHL|1132062|title-id|disp=1811-1857.}}
  
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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<br>Did you find a reference to a probate record?
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
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*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
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*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.
  
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Cornwall Probate Courts ==
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==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died ====
  
== Court Jurisdictions  ==
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Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
  
Before 1858, every town and parish in Cornwall was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.&nbsp; When looking for the will of an ancestor who lived or owned property in Cornwall, search the courts in the order given.&nbsp; Search indexes first.&nbsp; To find indexes, click on the name of a court.
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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:
  
Here is a list of the Cornwall parishes beginning with letters A&nbsp;and the pre-1858 courts that had jurisdiction over them.&nbsp; For other parishes, click on the link for the first letter of the parish name:&nbsp; [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions Parishes B|B]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions 'C' Parishes|C]],&nbsp;[[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes D-K|D-K]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, 'L' Parishes|L]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes M-O|M-O]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes P-R|P-R]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, 'S' Parishes|S]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes T-Z|T-Z]].&nbsp;
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*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
  
{| cellspacing="0" cellpadding="5" width="95%" align="center" border="1"
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The gazetteer will either tell you:  
|-
 
! style="background: #ffdead" width="15%" | PARISH
 
! style="background: #ffdead" width="40%" | PRIMARY COURT
 
! style="background: #ffdead" width="40%" | SECONDARY COURTS - IN SEARCH ORDER
 
|-
 
| Advent
 
| [[Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall]]
 
| 2 - [[Court of the Bishop of Exeter]] (Episcopal Consistory)
 
3 - [[Episcopal Principal Registry of Exeter]]
 
  
|-
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*A place is a parish, or
| Altarnon
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*What parish it is a part of, or
| [[Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall]]
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*What place it is near.
| 2 - [[Court of the Bishop of Exeter]] (Episcopal Consistory)
 
3 - [[Episcopal Principal Registry of Exeter]]
 
  
|-
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If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
| Antony
 
| [[Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall]]
 
| 2 - [[Court of the Bishop of Exeter]] (Episcopal Consistory)
 
3 - [[Episcopal Principal Registry of Exeter]]
 
  
|}
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Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
  
<br>
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==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish  ====
  
== Probate Indexes Online <br> ==
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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 Cornwall fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Click on the&nbsp;link&nbsp;for the letter the parish begins with [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions Parishes B|B]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions 'C' Parishes|C]],&nbsp;[[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes D-K|D-K]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, 'L' Parishes|L]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes M-O|M-O]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes P-R|P-R]], [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, 'S' Parishes|S]], or [[Cornwall Probate Jurisdictions, Parishes T-Z|T-Z]].&nbsp;
  
Before looking for a will, you should search an index. <br>
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<br>1. In the first column, find the place where your ancestor lived.<br>2. In the second column, click on the court name to learn where to find the records and indexes.<br>3. If the record isn't found in the primary court, search the records for the secondary courts in the order listed.<br>4. The last court to search is the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]].
  
[http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sterth/wills_by_name_ac.htm http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sterth/wills_by_name_ac.htm]
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If no will is found, your ancestor may not have left one.<br><br>
  
Cornish Will Abstracts 1690 - 1859<br>
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==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
  
[http://webs.lanset.com/azazella/cornish_database.html http://webs.lanset.com/azazella/cornish_database.html]
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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:  
  
CORNISH GENEALOGY DATABASE<br>[http://members.iimetro.com.au/%7erosewarne/probate1.PDF http://members.iimetro.com.au/%7erosewarne/probate1.PDF]
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*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
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*Visit the[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>
  
Cornish Probate Records (A – M)<br>[http://members.iimetro.com.au/%7erosewarne/probate2.PDF http://members.iimetro.com.au/%7erosewarne/probate2.PDF]
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<br>
  
Cornish Probate Records (N – Z)<br>
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== Cornwall Probate Courts  ==
  
== Post-1857 Probate Records  ==
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The following probate courts had some jurisdiction over the county of Cornwall prior to 1858:
  
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.&nbsp; The system consists of 11 district registry offices and&nbsp;18 sub-district registries, located throughout England and Wales, and&nbsp;the principal registry&nbsp;office located in London.&nbsp; The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service.&nbsp; To learn more, go to the [http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/civil/probate/index.htm HMCS website].
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*[[Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall |Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall]]
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*[[Episcopal Consistory Court of Exeter|Episcopal Consistory Court of Exeter]]
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*[[Court of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral|Court of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral]]
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*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of St. Buryan|Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of St. Buryan]]
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*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]  
  
A&nbsp;country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills.&nbsp; The [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=208102&disp=Calendar+of+the+grants+of+probate+and+le%20%20&columns=*,0,0 indexes] for 1858-1957 and the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=authordetails&authorno=301365&name=Great+Britain%2E+Principal+Probate+Registry&columns=*,0,0 records] for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library.<br>
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{{Place|Cornwall|Probate Records}}
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{{England Probate Records}}
  
[[Category:England|England]]
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[[Category:Cornwall]]

Revision as of 15:10, 7 May 2013

England Gotoarrow.png Cornwall

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 Cornwall. 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 Cornwall, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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

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

Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall 

Original wills, administrations and inventories for the Consistorial Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall, 1579-1859

Calendar of wills, administrations and accounts relating to the counties of Cornwall and Devon in the Connotorial Archidiaconal Court of Cornwall : (with which are included the records of the Royal Peculiar of St Burian) now preserved in the district probate registry at Bodwin Contents: v. 56. 1569-1699 -- v. 59. 1700-1799.
Cornish probate records at Cornwall Record Office, 1800-1857.
Index to Cornish probate records, 1600-1649.

Unproved Archdeaconry Court Wills are listed in this book.

Index to Cornish estate duty and Deanery of St. Buryan wills The Royal Peculiar of the Deanery of St. Buryan included the parishes of St. Buryan, St. Levan and Sennen. See above v. 56 amd v.59

"The present list is an amalgamation of the main series of Archdeaconry of Cornwall wills and bonds with those of the Royal Peculiar of St. Buryan and the Estate Duty Office wills (the latter from 1812 to 1857)."

Calendars of wills and administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall : proved in the Court of the principal registry of the Bishop of Exeter, 1559-1799. And of Devon only, proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter, 1559-1799.

Transcript of Devonshire wills, 1600-1800. This court also covered some Cornwall parishes and these abstracts may include wills of Cornwall residents. br>Index to wills, copies and related papers [of the County of Devon], 1200-1900's. It may include persons from Cornwall.

Cornish wills in Prerogative Court of Canterbury Contents: v. 1. 1383-1558, A-J -- v. 2. K-Z -- v. 3. 1558-1583.

Indexes Archdeaconry of Cornwall 1796-1811 Death Duty Registers.
Index to Cornish estate duty and Deanery of St. Buryan wills.
Wills for the Diocese of Exeter (County of Devon), 1812-1857 The copies were made for the Legacy Duty Department of the Stamp Duty Office, and from 1848 on to its successor, The Estate Duty Office of the Inland Revenue Office. They consist of wills proved in the Principal Registry and Consistory Court of the Bishop of Exeter, and in the various Archdeaconry Courts.

Estate duty wills, Cornwall, 1811-1857.


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 Cornwall fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Click on the link for the letter the parish begins with B, CD-K, L, M-O, P-R, S, or T-Z


1. In the first column, find the place where your ancestor lived.
2. In the second column, click on the court name to learn where to find the records and indexes.
3. If the record isn't found in the primary court, search the records for the secondary courts in the order listed.
4. The last court to search is the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

If no will is found, your ancestor may not have left one.

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 theFamily History Library or afamily history center and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below.


Cornwall Probate Courts

The following probate courts had some jurisdiction over the county of Cornwall prior to 1858: