England, Cheshire Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: England, Cheshire probate records, 1492-1940 .
- 1 Collection Time Period
- 2 Record Content
- 3 How to Use the Records
- 4 Record History
- 5 Related Web Sites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
- 8 Sources of Information for This Collection:
Collection Time Period
The date ranges for available Cheshire probate records are from 1492 to 1940
Key genealogical facts found in most Cheshire probate records before 1858 are:
- Names of relatives receiving an inheritance
- Names of executor(s)
- Itemization of household goods and property
- Date will was written
- Date will was probated
- Amounts of money and goods
- Location where the deceased lived
- Listing of any debt or funeral expenses to be paid
- Property names
Key genealogical facts found in most Cheshire probate records after 1858 are:
- Name of individual
- Location where the deceased lived
- Names of beneficiaries (usually surviving spouse and children)
- Name of executor(s)
- Names of witnesses
- Date the will was probated
- Place where will was probated
- Relative or relatives present at the time of death
How to Use the Records
Use these records to find ancestors’ children and relatives in order to establish relationships that may be more difficult to prove in parish registers, especially before 1813. They are also good to confirm relationships in families where relationship is already established.
There are several different types of probate records, but wills are the most informative. Original wills were generally on loose pieces of paper, and copies of those were entered into books. Act books are brief paragraphs telling that the executor appeared in court and was approved to distribute the goods as set forth in the will. Administrations are documents created when a person died without leaving a will. Older wills from 1492 through to the late 17th or early 18th century will have varying degrees of legibility. There will also be some Latin in the wills in the middle of the 17th century.
Wills probated up to 1857 were handled and kept by the Consistory Court of the Diocese Chester; thereafter (1858-1940) they were handled by the District Probate Registry for Cheshire. Until 1837 a male as young as 14 and a girl as young as 12 could make a will; thereafter one had to be 21 to make a will. Wills for married women before 1882 are rare because they were not allowed to have property. Those who had land or money, such as merchants, shopkeepers, farmers, or laborers, created wills. About 10% of the heads of households were probated before 1857, but as many as 25% left a will or was mentioned in one. There are about 143,000 names indexed in Cheshire Probate Record indexes.
Why This Record Was Created
Probate records document the transfer of possessions after a person dies. Wills, in particular, were written to ensure that the property and personal estate of a deceased person would be distributed according to his or her wishes. The court would then call in the next of kin and assign them the duty of distributing the goods. The administrator is usually the only person mentioned besides the court officials.
The records are quite reliable because of their legal nature.
Related Web Sites
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Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection:
"England, Cheshire Probate Records, 1492-1940." images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org: accessed March 9, 2011. entry for John Barker, will probated 1872; citing Probate Records, Cheshire Record Office, Chester, Great Britain.
Sources of Information for This Collection:
“England, Cheshire probate records, 1492-1940,” images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org); 2009, from District Probate Registry. Cheshire Record Office, Chester (England). FHL microfilm, 457 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Church of England. Diocese of Chester. Consistory Court. Original wills, bonds, and inventories for Chester only,1492-1858
- Cheshire Record Office in Chester, England. Great Britain. District Probate Registry (Cheshire). Probate records, 1858-1941
- Cheshire Record Office in Chester, England.