Lincolnshire Probate Records

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England Gotoarrow.png Lincolnshire Gotoarrow.png Lincolnshire 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 Sussex. 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 Sussex, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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

Search the Lincoln Consistory Court Wills Index, 1701-1800. The site contains lists in PDF format in alphabetical order by name. Calendars of Lincoln Wills 1320-1600 is a digitized book.

[1] [2] [3] Transcriptions of Lincoln probate records 1271-1526 with transcripts of probate to 1532.

Family History Library has these indexes available [4] [5] [6].

  • Index to records of Lincoln Peculiar Courts, including Caistor, Louth, Heydour, Corringham, Bishop Norton, Kirton in Lindsey, Gretton, Empingham, Biggleswade and Sleaford.
  • The Lincolnshire Wills Beneficiary Index covers the period approximately from 1383 to1900. It was compiled by Pam Baker from information submitted by members of the Lincolnshire Family History Society. It's an index to the names of people who appear in a will made by someone else. The Family History Library has a copy of this index on fiche numbers 6393728-6393730 and 6393718-6393720.

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  G   H   I-K   L-M    N-P    Q-R   Sa-So   Sp-Sw   T-Z.

Lincolnshire Probate Courts

The following ecclesiastical courts had some probate jurisdiction over the county of Lincoln prior to 1858. Click on a court name to learn more about its records, indexes and finding a probate for your ancestor. To determine which court, go to the Court Jurisdictions by Parish section above.

Some Explanatory Notes on the Lincolnshire Probate Courts

Before the Reformation the diocese of Lincoln comprised:

  • Archdeaconries of Lincoln and Stow in the county of Lincoln
  • Archdeaconry of Leicester
  • Archdeaconry of Northampton (including the counties of Northampton and Rutland)
  • Archdeaconry of Oxford
  • Archdeaconry of Bedford
  • Archdeaconry of Buckingham
  • Huntingdon (including the counties of Huntingdon and the county of Hertford except for the peculiar of St. Albans).

After the Reformation, the archdeaonries of Bedford, Buckingham and Huntingdon remained until the period 1837-1845 when they were transferred to other dioceses. Since court records of the Bishop's Commissaries for the various Archdeaconries tended to be kept with the records of these archdeacons there is only a relatively small number of wills at Loncoln relating to the counties other than Lincolnshire.

For most of the wills proved in all the courts down to 1532, printed abstracts will be found in C.W. Foster's Lincoln Wills published by the Lincoln Record Society volumes 5 (1271-1526) and 10 (1505-1530). There are further abstracts of selected items in Lincolnshire Wills: First Series A.D 1500-1600 (published in 1888) and Lincolnshire Wills: Second Series A.D. 1600-1617 (published in 1891) by Canon A.R. Maddison.[1] The Family History Library has a copy of these volumes (FHL 942.53 P2ma; film 990132 Items 3-4).

  1. Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 66.