Principal Probate Registry

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England Gotoarrow.png England Probate Records

Beginning in 1858, the civil 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.

Finding the Records

The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS).

To learn more, go to:

The Family History Library has filmed copies of the wills for 1858-1925. The films can be viewed at the library or through family history centers.  Search the Family History Library Catalog to find the film numbers.

  1. Choose 'Place Search.'
  2. Type in 'England' and click 'Search.'
  3. Click on the link for 'England' to bring up a list of topics.
  4. Scroll down the list and click on the topic 'Probate Records.'
  5. From the list of titles, choose one of the following:


A country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills.  The index gives:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date of death
  • Address of last residence
  • Name of the executor/executrix
  • Amount of the estate
  • Name of the office where the will was proved

Here is a link to the calendars or indexes in the Family History Library Catalog:

Calendar of the grants of probate and letters of administration made in the Principal Registry : and in the several district registries of Her Majesty's Court of Probate