Difference between revisions of "Durham Probate Records"

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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[County Durham|Durham]]''  
 
''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[County Durham|Durham]]''  
  
The following article is about probate records in the county of Cumberland. To read general information about English probate records click [[England Probate Records|here]].  
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== Getting Started  ==
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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 Durham. See [[England Probate Records]] for a general description of probate records in England.  
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=== 1858 to the Present  ===
  
== Getting Started  ==
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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.
  
''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 to 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.
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=== Before 1858 ===
  
To look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
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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 Durham, follow these steps:  
  
#Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived. <br>
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==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
#Go to [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Durham_Probate_Records#Court_Jurisdictions Court Jurisdictions] section below.<br>
 
#Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.<br>
 
#Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.<br>
 
  
== Durham Probate Courts  ==
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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Durham. Search these indexes first:
  
The following single probate court had jurisdiction over County Durham before 1858:  
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*[http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei/ Durham and Northumberland probate records, 1527-1857]. The planned completion date is 2010. Index is wonderful!
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*Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/wills.asp?WT.hp=Wills 1383-1858]
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*[http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=1928667&disp=Sunderland+wills+and+inventories+1601%2D Sunderland Wills and Invetories Transcribed 1601-1650 with&nbsp;90 probate records]
  
*[[Court of the Bishop of Durham]] (Episcopal Consistory)<br>
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<br><br>Did you find a reference to a probate record?
  
If a will is not found in this court, search these additional courts.<br>
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*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.
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*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.
  
*[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
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==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died  ====
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]]
 
*[[Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York]]
 
  
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, and Naval personnel often had their estates proven through the Archbishop's court. Search the records of this court after all of the others have been searched.<br>
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Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
  
==== Appeals Courts  ====
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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:
  
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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*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
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The gazetteer will either tell you:
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
 
*[[Prerogative Court of Canterbury]]
 
  
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts of Durham  ==
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*A place is a parish, or
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*What parish it is a part of, or
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*What place it is near.
  
== Durham Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions<br> ==
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If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
  
Before 1858, every town and parish in Kent was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. To find the will of your ancestor who lived or owned property in Kent, see a list of Kent parishes with the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over each. To see a list of parishes in the county click [[Durhamshire Parishes|here]]. <br><br>If you do not know where in Durham your ancestor lived or owned property, search the indexes for the court. If not found, search the index to the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]. Be aware that not every person left a will.<br>
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Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.  
  
== Court Jurisdictions ==
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==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish ====
  
The whole of the county of Durham was under the primary jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Durham also known as the Episcopal Consistory Court of Durham (see above). This court should be searched first when looking for the probate of a deceased person who lived or owned property in County Durham. <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 Durham 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.  
  
The other courts listed above had secondary jurisdiction over County Durham.&nbsp; If you do not find a probate listed in the indexes to the Court of the Bishop of Durham, then you should try the secondary courts.&nbsp;
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<br>The whole of the county of Durham was under the primary jurisdiction of the [[Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)|Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)]]. This court should be searched first when looking for the probate of a deceased person who lived or owned property in Durham. Additional courts listed below also had jurisdiction over Durham. If you do not find a probate in the Court of the Bishop of Durham, search those additional courts.<br>
  
The last courts to search would be the&nbsp;appeals courts (see the main [[England Probate Records|England Probate Records]] page for an explanation of the appeals courts).
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==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
  
&nbsp;
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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:
  
== Probate Indexes Online  ==
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*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
  
Before looking for a will, you should search an index.  
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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>
  
*[http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei/ Durham and Northumberland probate records, 1527-1857]. The planned completion date is summer 2009.
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== Durham Probate Courts  ==
  
&nbsp;
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The following court had jurisdiction over county Durham before 1858.
  
== Estate Duty Records<br> ==
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*[[Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)]]<br>
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*[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
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*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]]
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*[[Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York]]
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*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
  
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 1813-1858 estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to [[Estate Duty Records]].<br>
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== Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts of Durham  ==
  
== Post-1857 Probate Records  ==
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The earliest original wills for Durham date from 1540, but there are some registered copy wills for 1526-1534. There are earlier records filed with the superior courts, some dating back to 1311, in the bishop's general serices of act books. There are gaps in the records for early periods; others in poor condition.
  
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. 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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Inventories were prevalent from the earliest period through th efirst quarter of the 18th century. They may be filed with the administration bonds as well as with the original wills. Registered copies are usually indexed and arranged chronologically. Page numbers appear in the upper right corner and testators' names are frequently written in the margins. There may be an inventory written at the end of the copy will and almost always there will be a probate act in Latin indicating when the will was proven.<br>
  
A 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 records for the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=517092&disp=Record+copy+wills%2C+1858%2D1925%20%20&columns=*,0,0 Principal Registry] and the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=517092&disp=Record+copy+wills%2C+1858%2D1925%20%20&columns=*,0,0 District Registries] for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. <br>
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{{Place|Durham|Probate Records}}
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{{England Probate Records}}
  
<br>
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{{Template:Pros-NEE}}
  
Category: [[England]]
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[[Category:Durham|Probate]]

Revision as of 15:10, 7 May 2013

England Gotoarrow.png Durham

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 Durham. 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 Durham, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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



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 Durham 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.


The whole of the county of Durham was under the primary jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory). This court should be searched first when looking for the probate of a deceased person who lived or owned property in Durham. Additional courts listed below also had jurisdiction over Durham. If you do not find a probate in the Court of the Bishop of Durham, search those additional courts.

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.

Durham Probate Courts

The following court had jurisdiction over county Durham before 1858.

Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts of Durham

The earliest original wills for Durham date from 1540, but there are some registered copy wills for 1526-1534. There are earlier records filed with the superior courts, some dating back to 1311, in the bishop's general serices of act books. There are gaps in the records for early periods; others in poor condition.

Inventories were prevalent from the earliest period through th efirst quarter of the 18th century. They may be filed with the administration bonds as well as with the original wills. Registered copies are usually indexed and arranged chronologically. Page numbers appear in the upper right corner and testators' names are frequently written in the margins. There may be an inventory written at the end of the copy will and almost always there will be a probate act in Latin indicating when the will was proven.