Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire

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England Gotoarrow.png Berkshire Gotoarrow.png Berkshire Probate Records


Getting Started: Step by Step

1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to the "Probate Records Held in This Archive" (below) to determine what original probate records exist for this court. Also see "Probate Records of This Court in The Family History Library".
3. Contact or visit the  Berkshire County Record Office or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
4. Visit The Family History Library, or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes to probate records; then with the information obtained from the index[es] you can search more quickly the original wills and admons also on microfilm via any centers near you.

Indexes

Search indexes before searching the records.

Some indexes are included with the original records, as above. Copies of indexes for 1508-1857 are also available at the Society of Genealogists in London. 

Some indexes have been published and are available at the Family History Library.  These include:

Other indexes are included with the records on microfilm, as above.

Records

The original records are deposited at the Berkshire Record Office in Reading, Berkshire.  They include:

  • Original wills, 1525-1857
  • Register copy wills, 1508-1534, 1545-1619, 1699-1857
  • Administration bonds, 1527-1857
  • Administration act books, 1555-1572, 1605-1857
  • Inventories included with the original wills and administrations to the mid-18th century

You many contact the archive for assistance with their collection.

Many of the records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through family history centers.  These include:

Jurisdiction

This court had pre-1858 jurisdiction over the majority of the county of Berkshire.  Before 1836, the archdeaconry was in the Diocese of Salisbury.  It was transferred to the Diocese of Oxford in 1836 but there are only a few Berkshire wills in the Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeacon of Oxford for the period 1836-1857.[1]
  1. Camp, Anthony J. "Wills and Their Whereabouts." London: the author, 1974. (FHL book 942 S2wa, page 5.)