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 Durham. For general information about English probate records click [[England Probate Records|here]].<br>
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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  ===
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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.  
  
== Description ==
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=== Before 1858 ===
  
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The term ''probate'' refers to a collection of documents, including [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]], [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]] (also called admons), [[I genealogical glossary terms|inventories]], and [[A genealogical glossary terms|act books]]. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.
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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:
  
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The '''Probates After 1857'''&nbsp;section below has a link to an article about probates after 1857.<br>
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==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
  
== Getting Started ==
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Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Durham. Search these indexes first:
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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]
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<br><br>Did you find a reference to a probate record?
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*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 4''' below.
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*If ''no'', go to '''Step 2''' below.
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==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died ====
  
Follow these steps to look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
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Determine ''when'' your ancestor died.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
  
#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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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:
#Go to the Court Jurisdictions section below and read about the first court to search.<br>
 
#If a will wasn't found, go to the Durham Probate Courts section and search the additional courts.<br><br>
 
  
== Court Jurisdictions by Parish<br> ==
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*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
  
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>
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The gazetteer will either tell you:
  
== Durham Probate Courts  ==
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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.
  
The following court had jurisdiction over county Durham before 1858.  
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If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.  
  
*[[Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)]]<br>
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Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
*[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
 
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]]
 
*[[Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York]]
 
  
In addition, the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.<br>
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==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish  ====
  
*Wealthy individuals<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.  
* Interregnum, 1649-1660, because the Prerogative Court was the only court.
 
*Property in more than one diocese in the Province of Canterbury.
 
*Property in both the Province of Canterbury and Province of York.
 
*People who died outside England, including British citizens and others who held property in England.
 
  
==== Appeals Courts  ====
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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>
  
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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==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
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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:
*[[High Court of Delegates]]
 
  
The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.
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*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
  
== Probate Indexes Online  ==
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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 2010.
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== Durham Probate Courts ==
*Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/wills.asp?WT.hp=Wills 1383-1858]
 
  
Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts of Durham  
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The following court had jurisdiction over county Durham before 1858.
  
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.
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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]]
  
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>
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== Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts of Durham  ==
  
== Estate Duty Records<br> ==
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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.
  
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.&nbsp; Estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to [[Estate Duty Records]].<br>
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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>  
  
== Probates After 1857  ==
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{{Place|Durham|Probate Records}}
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{{England Probate Records}}
  
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. For more information, go to [[Principal Probate Registry]].<br>
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{{Template:Pros-NEE}}
  
[[Category:Durham]]
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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.