Nottinghamshire Probate Records
- 1 Getting Started
- 2 Nottinghamshire Probate Courts
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 Nottinghamshire. 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, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Nottinghamshire, follow these steps:
Step 1. Search Indexes
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Nottinghamshire. Search these indexes first:
- http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml -- compiled by the Sussex Family History Group which has transcribed the names of 12,300 individuals found in Sussex wills, including testators, executors, beneficiaries or witnesses. The information recorded includes name, date and place.
- The Sussex Record Society has published four volumes of indexes to Sussex wills, and these can be viewed on their website. They are arranged by parish then by surname.
- Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858).
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 Nottinghamshire 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-D E-H K-N O-S T-Z.
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.
- Visit the Family History Library or a family history center and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below.
Nottinghamshire Probate Courts
Here is a list of the ecclesiastical courts that had some pre-1858 probate jurisdiction over Nottinghamshire. Click on a court name to learn more.
- Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York
- Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebendal of Apesthorpe
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebendal of Bole
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York
- Court of the Manor of Edwinstowe
- Court of the Manor of Gringley-on-the-Hill or Bawtry
- Court of the Peculiar of Kinoulton
- Court of the Manor of Mansfield
- Court of the Manor of Rufford Abbey
- Court of the Manor of St John of Jerusalem or Shelford St Johns
- Court of the Manor of Skegby and Teversal
- Court of the Peculiar of Southwell
- Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury
Some Explanatory Notes on the Nottinghamshire Probate Courts
Nottinghamshire was an Archdeaconry in the Diocese of York until transferred to the Diocese of Lincoln in 1837. The original wills, bonds, and inventories of the Archdeaconry were transferred from York to Nottingham in 1972, but the registered copies of Nottinghamshire wills are still at York, as are the Nottinghamshire rural deanery probate act books and those Nottinghamshire wills proved in the Prerogative Court of York, the Chancery Court of York and the Court of the Dean and Chapter of York. There are no probate records for Nottinghamshire at Lincoln. Some stray wills, inventories, etc. c. 1607-1819, are amongst the Southwell Peculiar records.
- Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 101.