Staffordshire Probate Records

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England Gotoarrow.png Staffordshire Gotoarrow.png Staffordshire_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 Staffordshire. 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 Staffordshire, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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

There is a brand new index for 1650-1700 for Staffordshire at this link Will and administsrations

A general will index for the Diocese of Lichfield exists online, a scanned edition of P.W. Phillimore's publicationby the British Record Society in 1892,Calendars of wills administrations in the Consistory court of the bishop of LichfieldThis single index consolidates most Staffordshire wills of the various probate court jurisdictions from 1514-1652 for the Diocese of Lichfield and to 1790 for Staffordshire smaller peculiar courts. 

Printed Indexes

See the above online indexes available at Google.books which is copy of a printed will index for Staffordshire.

The Smethwick Local history Society has published the Probate inventories of Smethwick residents, 1647-1747 : in the Lichfield Joint Record Office.

Probate Calendars

Registered wills and original wills, administrations and inventories, 1494-1860, and, act books, 1532-1638 for Diocese of Lichfield Episcopal Consistory Court. [1] These are calendars.  They cover most of the county of Stafford.


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 Staffordshire 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-G H-L M-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.

Staffordshire Probate Courts

The following probate courts had some jurisdiction over the county of Staffordshire prior to 1858; note that most of Staffordshire was covered by its largest court jurisdiction, called--the Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory), but the county also had numerous concurrent smaller jurisdictions called "peculiars" courts as well (see the "Staffordshire Court Jurisdictions By Parish" section below to determine the correct court jurisdiction for the parish in which you may be searching for a will):


Some Explanatory Notes on the Courts in Staffordshire

Records and indexes for each court are also available in the collection of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Search the Family History Library Catalog for the title of the court or the court as an author.