Northumberland Probate Records

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England Gotoarrow.png Northumberland Gotoarrow.png Northumberland_Probate_Records

For an explanation of probate records in England, click here.

Getting Started

Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until 1858. Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from the 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:

  1. Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
  2. Go to the Court Jurisdictions section below.
  3. Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.
  4. Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.

Northumberland Probate Courts

The following ecclesiastical courts had some probate jurisdiction over the towns and parishes of Northumberland before 1858: 

In addition, 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.

Appeals Courts

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.

Court Jurisdictions

Before 1858, every town and parish in Northumberland was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. When looking for the will of an ancestor, search the courts in the order given. Search indexes first. For indexes, click on the court name links above.

To see a list of Northumberland places and the pre-1858 ecclesiastical courts that jurisdiction over them, click on a letter link:

  A,  B-C,  D-J,  K-R,  S-Z

Probate Indexes Online

Before looking for a will, you should search an index.

Durham and Northumberland probate records, 1527-1857
Planned completion date: summer 2009.

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. Estate duty indexes may help you 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.  For more information, go to Principal Probate Registry.