Huntingdonshire Probate Records
The following article is about probate records in the county of Huntingdonshire. For an explanation of probate records in England, click here.
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.
To look for a probate record before 1858:
- Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
- Go to Court Jurisdictions section below.
- Click a letter or span of letters for your place. This opens a jurisdictions table.
- Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.
Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
Most of Huntingdonshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts. However, the following smaller courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.
- Court of the Bishop of Lincoln (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Bishop of Ely (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of Brampton
- Court of the Peculiar of Buckden
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Leighton Bromswold
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Stow Longa
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.
Some Explanatory Notes on the Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
Before the Reformation the diocese of Lincoln included the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. After the Reformation, the archdeaconry remained until the period 1837-1845. 
Before 1858 all of Huntingdonshire, with just a few exceptions, was under the primary probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. The exceptions were a few places and parishes considered peculiars and their courts will be found in the jurisdiction lists through the links below.
Note: List here any that are combined indexes for several of the courts. If an index covers only one of the courts, the index should be listed on that court's page.
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. Between 1813-1858 estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.
Post-1857 Probate Records
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. The system consists of 11 district registry offices and 18 sub-district registries, located throughout England and Wales, and the principal registry office located in London. The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service. To learn more, go to the HMCS website.
A country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills. The indexes for 1858-1957 and the records for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. Films can be viewed in the library or in a family history center.
- Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: by author, 1974; page 66.