Derbyshire Probate Records
- 1 Getting Started
- 2 Derbyshire Probate Courts
- 3 Estate Duty Records
- 4 Probates After 1857
Probate is the legal process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. This article is about probate records in Derbyshire. 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, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Derbyshire, follow these steps:
Step 1. Search indexes
Before looking for a will, you should search an index. Here is a list of some indexes. Others will be listed in each court's article.
- 1516-1652 - A scanned edition of W.P.W. Phillimore's 1892 publication by the British Record Society, Calendars of Wills & Administrations in the Consistory court of the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1516-1652, is available on Google Books. The publication also includes indexes to probate records of the peculiar courts for Derbyshire, 1753-1790.
- Abstracts of Derbyshire Probate Records:
- Derbyshire wills for the period 1858-1928 (from the Derbyshire Record Office):
- Derbyshire WILLS, 1525-1928 (browse 35,066 Wills and 5,093 different surnames; pertaining to much more than just people from the parish of Wirksworth).
- Derbyshire Administrations 1858-1873
- PENTRICH WILLS & PROBATE INDEX (from the Pentrich Historical Society; also includes entries for people in parishes adjacent to Pentrich).
- An index for 1650-1730 for Derbyshire including almost 19000 probate documents can be found at Will and administrations This index covers most of the county for the Consistory Court of Lichfield.
- Index to Lichfield Wills to 1546 by Dave Postles
Early Derbyshire wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury have been thoroughly abstracted and indexed:
- Derbyshire Wills Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury [1393-1601], 2 vols. FHL Books 942.51 H25de v. 26 and 942.51 H25de v. 31
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 the parish where your ancestor lived or died. To learn whether the place you have is a parish, look it up in a gazetteer. Here are links to a gazetteer online:
- Vision of Britain
Once you identified a 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. Every town and parish in Derbyshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and one or more secondary courts. Most of the county of Derbyshire was under the primary jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory) and the secondary jurisdiction of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
However there were exceptions. Click here for an alphabetical list of the parishes of Derbyshire that were exceptions. If you do not find your place in the list of exceptions, then search the records of the above courts by clicking on the name of the court either in the paragraph above or the section below where the court is mentioned. Follow the steps given on the page for the court to find a will that was probated in that court.
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. See Ordering Wills from the Derbyshire Record Office
- Visit the 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.
Derbyshire Probate Courts
Here is a list of the courts that had probate jurisdiction over Derbyshire before 1858. For more information, click on a court name.
- Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield
- Court of the Peculiar of Burton upon Trent
- Court of the Peculiar of Hartington
- Court of the Peculiar of the Manor of Dale Abbey
- Court of the Peculiar of Peak Forest
- Court of the Peculiar of Sawley
- Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury
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. Estate duty indexes may help you locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.
Probates After 1857