Difference between revisions of "Cornwall Probate Records"

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== Getting Started  ==
 
== Getting Started  ==
  
Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his/her heirs. 
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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. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until 1858. Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The Post-1857 Probate Records section below contains links to additional information about the records of this court.
  
In order to find a probate record for your ancestor, you must answer two questions:  
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To look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
  
#When did your ancestor die?
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#Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived. <br>
#Where did your ancestor live or own property?
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#Go to [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/County_Probate_Records#Court_Jurisdictions Court Jurisdictions] section below.<br>
 
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#Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.<br>  
A key date is 1858, when probate&nbsp;authority&nbsp;was&nbsp;taken&nbsp;from the ecclesiatical courts of the Church of England and given to&nbsp;the civil government.&nbsp;
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#Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.<br>
 
 
*If your ancestor died before 1858, his/her probate would have been proven by an ecclesiatical court and it is important to know where he/she lived, as that will determine which courts had jurisdiction.&nbsp;
 
*If you know where your ancestor lived before 1858, you should go to the '''Court Jurisdictions'''&nbsp;section below&nbsp;to determine what courts had jurisdiction over your ancestor's place of residence.&nbsp;
 
*Beginning in 1858, probate authority was&nbsp;vested in&nbsp;the '''Principal Probate Registry''' system.&nbsp; For more information, scroll to the '''Post-1857 Probate Records''' section at the bottom of the page.
 
 
 
Once you have answered the two questions and determined the courts, look for indexes.&nbsp; Indexes will be found on the individual court pages (when you click on a court name) or in the '''Probate Indexes''' section below.<br><br>
 
  
 
== Cornwall Probate Courts  ==
 
== Cornwall Probate Courts  ==

Revision as of 16:22, 23 October 2009

England Gotoarrow.png Cornwall


For an explanation of probate records in England, click here.

Getting Started

Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until 1858. Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The Post-1857 Probate Records section below contains links to additional information about the records of this court.

To look for a probate record before 1858:

  1. Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
  2. Go to Court Jurisdictions section below.
  3. Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.
  4. Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.

Cornwall Probate Courts

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


Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury

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.

Appeals Courts

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

Some Explanatory Notes on the Cornwall Probate Courts

Court Jurisdictions

Before 1858, every town and parish in Cornwall was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts.  When looking for the will of an ancestor who lived or owned property in Cornwall, search the courts in the order given.  Search indexes first.  To find indexes, click on the name of a court.


Here is a list of the Cornwall parishes beginning with letters A and the pre-1858 courts that had jurisdiction over them.  For other parishes, click on the link for the first letter of the parish name:

B, CD-K, L, M-O, P-R, S, 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.

PARISH PRIMARY COURT 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

Altarnon 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

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


Probate Indexes Online

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

  • 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.)

[1] Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384 - 1858) These include many Cornwall people.

Probate Indexes

Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall 

Original wills, administrations and inventories for the Consistorial Court of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall, 1579-1859 [2]

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: Contents: v. 56. 1569-1699 -- v. 59. 1700-1799. [3]
Cornish probate records at Cornwall Record Office, 1800-1857
[4]
Index to Cornish probate records, 1600-1649 [5]

Unproved Archdeaconry Court Wills are listed in this book [6]

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. [7] 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)." [8]

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, 1540-1799. [9] [10]

Transcript of Devonshire wills, 1600-1800. This court also covered some Cornwall parishes and these abstracts may include wills of Cornwall residents. [11]
Index to wills, copies and related papers [of the County of Devon], 1200-1900's It may include persons from Cornwall [12]

Cornish wills in Prerogative Court of Canterbury Contents: v. 1. 1383-1558, A-J -- v. 2. K-Z -- v. 3. 1558-1583. [13]

Indexes Archdeaconry of Cornwall 1796-1811 Death Duty Registers [14]
Index to Cornish estate duty and Deanery of St. Buryan wills [15]
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. [16]

Estate duty wills, Cornwall, 1811-1857 [17]

Estate Duty Records

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. Between 1796-1858 estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.


Post-1857 Probate Records

Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system.  The system consists of 11 district registry offices and 18 sub-district registries, located throughout England and Wales, and the principal registry office located in London.  The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service.  To learn more, go to the HMCS website.

A country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills.  The indexes for 1858-1957 and the records for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library.