Difference between revisions of "Devon Probate Records"

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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Devon. Search these indexes first:  
 
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Devon. 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.&nbsp;<br>
 +
 
 +
*[http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/index.php Pre-1858 for CHARDSTOCK and UFFCULME parishes], and a few other wills from other parishes for the diocese of Salisbury that used to cover not only Wiltshire but also part of Berkshire, Dorset and Devon.
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*[http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/DevonWills/index.html Devon Names in the Calendars of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills 1383-1700]
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 +
<br>
 +
 
 +
The aim of the Devon Wills Project is to provide a consolidated index of Devon wills, administrations and inventories, covering (and distinguishing between) original documents, probate copies, transcripts and abstracts. The project involves systematically transcribing information obtained from various "sources", i.e. indexes, calendars, catalogues, etc. The period covered is up to 1857, and wills, etc., are taken as related to Devon if the testator is identified to be or can be assumed as being of Devon, even if the will was proved elsewhere. (The index covers only testators, not other named individuals, and is initially just provided separately for each source.)*[http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/DevonWillsProject/]
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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  ==
 +
 
 +
The majority of the local records in Devonshire courts were destroyed during World War II.&nbsp; However, the indexes do exist!
 +
 
 +
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, 1559-1799. And of Devon only, proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter, 1540-1799. [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=235196&disp=Calendars+of+wills+and+administrations+r%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
 +
 
 +
Calendars of wills and administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall&nbsp;: 1532-1800 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=251593&disp=Calendars+of+wills+and+administrations+r%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Index of testamentary material in records of the principal registry of Bishop of Exeter [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=251598&disp=Index+of+testamentary+material+in+record%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Transcript of Devonshire wills, 1600-1800 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=289964&disp=Transcript+of+Devonshire+wills%2C+1600%2%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Oswyn Murray collection of wills, abt. 1600-1800 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=351796&disp=Oswyn+Murray+collection+of+wills%2C+abt%%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Index to wills, copies and related papers [of the County of Devon], 1200-1900's [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=575287&disp=Index+to+wills%2C+copies+and+related+pap%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Devonshire wills... [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=264158&disp=Devonshire+wills%2E%2E%2E%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>A calendar of inquisitiones post mortem for Cornwall and Devon, from Henry III to Charles I (1216-1649) [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=246385&disp=A+calendar+of+inquisitiones+post+mortem+%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>An alphabetical register of divers persons, who by their last wills &amp; grants have given towards the relief of the poor of the county of Devon [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=278481&disp=An+alphabetical+register+of+divers+perso%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Abstracts of wills of the Drew Family, proved in the Court of the Archdeacon of Exeter and other courts, 1550-1891 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=279949&disp=Abstracts+of+wills+of+the+Drew+Family%2C%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Death duty registers, Exeter, 1796-1811 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=15644&disp=Death+duty+registers%2C+Exeter%2C+1796%2%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>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. [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=573927&disp=Wills+for+the+Diocese+of+Exeter+%28Count%20%20&columns=*,0,0]  
  
Did you find a reference to a probate record?  
+
Uffculme is a Peculiar Court and has indexes as follows: See Film 97429 18th court listed and 97430 17th court listed using following link. Wills, original and registered of the peculiar court of the Dean and parish of Sarum, Wiltshire, 1560-1857 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titlefilmnotes&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=300055&disp=Wills%2C+original+and+registered+of+the+++] Did you find a reference to a probate record?  
  
 
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.  
 
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.  
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<br>
 
<br>
 
== Probate Indexes Online  ==
 
 
Before looking for a will, you should search an index.&nbsp;<br>
 
 
*[http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/index.php Pre-1858 for CHARDSTOCK and UFFCULME parishes], and a few other wills from other parishes for the diocese of Salisbury that used to cover not only Wiltshire but also part of Berkshire, Dorset and Devon.
 
 
*[http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/DevonWills/index.html Devon Names in the Calendars of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills 1383-1700]
 
  
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
The aim of the Devon Wills Project is to provide a consolidated index of Devon wills, administrations and inventories, covering (and distinguishing between) original documents, probate copies, transcripts and abstracts. The project involves systematically transcribing information obtained from various "sources", i.e. indexes, calendars, catalogues, etc. The period covered is up to 1857, and wills, etc., are taken as related to Devon if the testator is identified to be or can be assumed as being of Devon, even if the will was proved elsewhere. (The index covers only testators, not other named individuals, and is initially just provided separately for each source.)*[http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/DevonWillsProject/]
 
 
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  ==
 
 
The majority of the local records in Devonshire courts were destroyed during World War II.&nbsp; However, the indexes do exist!
 
 
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, 1559-1799. And of Devon only, proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter, 1540-1799. [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=235196&disp=Calendars+of+wills+and+administrations+r%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
 
 
Calendars of wills and administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall&nbsp;: 1532-1800 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=251593&disp=Calendars+of+wills+and+administrations+r%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Index of testamentary material in records of the principal registry of Bishop of Exeter [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=251598&disp=Index+of+testamentary+material+in+record%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Transcript of Devonshire wills, 1600-1800 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=289964&disp=Transcript+of+Devonshire+wills%2C+1600%2%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Oswyn Murray collection of wills, abt. 1600-1800 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=351796&disp=Oswyn+Murray+collection+of+wills%2C+abt%%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Index to wills, copies and related papers [of the County of Devon], 1200-1900's [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=575287&disp=Index+to+wills%2C+copies+and+related+pap%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Devonshire wills... [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=264158&disp=Devonshire+wills%2E%2E%2E%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>A calendar of inquisitiones post mortem for Cornwall and Devon, from Henry III to Charles I (1216-1649) [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=246385&disp=A+calendar+of+inquisitiones+post+mortem+%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>An alphabetical register of divers persons, who by their last wills &amp; grants have given towards the relief of the poor of the county of Devon [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=278481&disp=An+alphabetical+register+of+divers+perso%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Abstracts of wills of the Drew Family, proved in the Court of the Archdeacon of Exeter and other courts, 1550-1891 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=279949&disp=Abstracts+of+wills+of+the+Drew+Family%2C%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>Death duty registers, Exeter, 1796-1811 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=15644&disp=Death+duty+registers%2C+Exeter%2C+1796%2%20%20&columns=*,0,0]<br>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. [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=573927&disp=Wills+for+the+Diocese+of+Exeter+%28Count%20%20&columns=*,0,0]
 
 
Uffculme is a Peculiar Court and has indexes as follows: See Film 97429 18th court listed and 97430 17th court listed using following link. Wills, original and registered of the peculiar court of the Dean and parish of Sarum, Wiltshire, 1560-1857 [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titlefilmnotes&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=300055&disp=Wills%2C+original+and+registered+of+the+++]
 
  
 
== Manuscript Records<br> ==
 
== Manuscript Records<br> ==

Revision as of 20:15, 2 June 2010

England Gotoarrow.png Devon Cornwall Probate Records


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 Devon. 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 Devon, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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

Probate Indexes Online

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


The aim of the Devon Wills Project is to provide a consolidated index of Devon wills, administrations and inventories, covering (and distinguishing between) original documents, probate copies, transcripts and abstracts. The project involves systematically transcribing information obtained from various "sources", i.e. indexes, calendars, catalogues, etc. The period covered is up to 1857, and wills, etc., are taken as related to Devon if the testator is identified to be or can be assumed as being of Devon, even if the will was proved elsewhere. (The index covers only testators, not other named individuals, and is initially just provided separately for each source.)*[1]

Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384 - 1858) [2]

Probate Indexes

The majority of the local records in Devonshire courts were destroyed during World War II.  However, the indexes do exist!

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. [3]

Calendars of wills and administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall : 1532-1800 [4]
Index of testamentary material in records of the principal registry of Bishop of Exeter [5]
Transcript of Devonshire wills, 1600-1800 [6]
Oswyn Murray collection of wills, abt. 1600-1800 [7]
Index to wills, copies and related papers [of the County of Devon], 1200-1900's [8]
Devonshire wills... [9]
A calendar of inquisitiones post mortem for Cornwall and Devon, from Henry III to Charles I (1216-1649) [10]
An alphabetical register of divers persons, who by their last wills & grants have given towards the relief of the poor of the county of Devon [11]
Abstracts of wills of the Drew Family, proved in the Court of the Archdeacon of Exeter and other courts, 1550-1891 [12]
Death duty registers, Exeter, 1796-1811 [13]
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. [14]

Uffculme is a Peculiar Court and has indexes as follows: See Film 97429 18th court listed and 97430 17th court listed using following link. Wills, original and registered of the peculiar court of the Dean and parish of Sarum, Wiltshire, 1560-1857 [15] 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.


   A  B  C  D-E  F-H  I-K  L-M  N-O  P-R  S  T-V  W-Z


Devonshire Probate Courts

Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury

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

  • Wealthier individuals
  • People who owned property in more than one county
  • Military and naval personnel
  • People who lived or owned property outside 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.



Manuscript Records

The Family History Library has 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, 1559-1799. And of Devon only, proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter, 1540-1799

Olive Moger Collection

A professional genealogist, she abstracted many probate records from most of the Devon courts prior to World War II. The Family History Library has Transcript of Devonshire wills, 1600-1800.

Oswyn Murray's collection

Includes abstracts of probate records from various courts about testators from Devon before the destruction in World War II. The Family History Library has Oswyn Murray collection of wills, abt. 1600-1800

Other collections in the Family History Library