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[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Yorkshire]]  
 
[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Yorkshire]]  
  
The following text has information about probate records in the county of Yorkshire. To read general information about  English probate records click [[England Probate Records|here]].
+
== Getting Started  ==
  
== Description  ==
+
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Probate records include [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]] and [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]]. This article is about probate records in Yorkshire. See [[England Probate Records]] for a general description of probate records in England.
  
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The term ''probate'' refers to a collection of documents, including [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]], [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]] (also called admons), [[I genealogical glossary terms|inventories]], and [[A genealogical glossary terms|act books]]. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.
+
=== 1858 to the Present  ===
  
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The '''Post-1857 Probates Records''' section below has a link to an article about probates after 1857.  
+
Beginning in 1858, the [[Principal Probate Registry|Principal Probate Registry]] had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.  
  
<br>
+
=== Before 1858  ===
 +
 
 +
Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Yorkshire, follow these steps:
 +
 
 +
==== Step 1. Search Indexes  ====
 +
 
 +
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Yorkshire. Search these indexes first:
 +
 
 +
*[http://www.uclan.ac.uk/ahss/education_social_sciences/history/probate_index.php Probate Index] related to documents covering Lancashire north of the Ribble, and parts of Cumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire, 1748-1858.
 +
*[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-ypec.htm York Peculiars Probate Index] covers over 25,000 wills proved in the fifty four peculiar courts of the Province of York in the five-hundred year period from 1383 to 1883.
 +
*[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/#ProbateRecords Colin Blanshard Withers] has produced a list of all known Indexes and Calendars relating to Yorkshire Probate. This is available in both Microsoft Word format (.doc) and plain text format (.txt) from his site.
 +
 
 +
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.&nbsp;If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.&nbsp;
 +
 
 +
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 [[P genealogical glossary terms|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:
 +
 
 +
*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
  
== Getting Started <br> ==
+
The gazetteer will either tell you:
  
To look for a probate record before 1858:<br>
+
*A place is a parish, or
 +
*What parish it is a part of, or
 +
*What place it is near.
  
#Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you do not know, use an approximate date and the place where they lived.
+
If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.  
#Go to the '''Court Jurisdictions by Parish''' section below.<br>
 
  
<br>
+
Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
  
== Court Jurisdictions by Parish<br> ==
+
==== Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish  ====
  
Before 1858, every town and parish in Yorkshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. When searching for the will of an ancestor, you must determine the courts that had jurisdiction over&nbsp;the town or parish where he/she lived. In the table below,&nbsp;click on a letter or series of letters that includes the place where your ancestor lived then follow the instructions on the next page.&nbsp; <br>
+
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 Yorkshire 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.  
  
{| style="width: 444px; height: 66px" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="444" border="1"
+
{| width="444" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1" style="width: 444px; height: 66px;"
 
|-
 
|-
 
| &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Yorkshire Probate Jurisdictions for Parishes Beginning with A|A]]  
 
| &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Yorkshire Probate Jurisdictions for Parishes Beginning with A|A]]  
Line 54: Line 78:
 
|}
 
|}
  
<br><br>
+
<br>  
 
 
== Yorkshire&nbsp;Probate Courts  ==
 
 
 
Yorkshire is the largest county in England and has more than 1,000 parishes. More than [[Yorkshire Probate Courts|'''''60 Courts''''']] had jurisdiction over Yorkshire before 1858 (click on the link to read about them).
 
 
 
In addition, the [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.<br>
 
 
 
*Wealthy individuals<br>
 
* Interregnum, 1649-1660, because the Prerogative Court was the only court.
 
*Property in more than one diocese in the Province of Canterbury.
 
*Property in both the Province of Canterbury and Province of York.
 
*People who died outside England, including British citizens and others who held property in England.
 
 
 
==== Appeals Courts  ====
 
  
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:
+
==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record  ====
  
*[[Court of Arches]]
+
Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:
*[[High Court of Delegates]]<br>
 
  
The [[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] also served as an appeals court.  
+
*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
 +
*Visit the [https://www.familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library] or a [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|family history center]] and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on the link for the&nbsp;courts below. <br>
  
 
<br>
 
<br>
  
== Probate Indexes<br> ==
+
== Yorkshire Probate Courts  ==
  
Before looking for a will, you should search a probate index. It will save time and give a reference to finding a copy of a will.<br>
+
Yorkshire is the largest county in England and has more than 1,000 parishes. More than [[Yorkshire Probate Courts|'''''60 Courts''''']] had jurisdiction over Yorkshire before 1858 (click on the link to read about them).  
 
 
==== Online Indexes  ====
 
 
 
*[http://www.uclan.ac.uk/ahss/education_social_sciences/history/probate_index.php Probate Index] related to documents covering Lancashire north of the Ribble, and parts of Cumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire, 1748-1858.
 
*[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-ypec.htm York Peculiars Probate Index] covers over 25,000 wills proved in the fifty four peculiar courts of the Province of York in the five-hundred year period from 1383 to 1883.  
 
*[http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/popup-aboutbo-yprex.htm Prerogative &amp; Exchequer Courts of York Probate Index 1842-1858]
 
*An index covering [http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Online_Probate_Indexes 1267 to 1500] includes 10,000 wills proved in the Prerogative &amp; Exchequer Courts of York.
 
*[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/#ProbateRecords Colin Blanshard Withers] has produced a list of all known Indexes and Calendars relating to Yorkshire Probate. This is available in both Microsoft Word format (.doc) and plain text format (.txt) from his site.
 
 
 
Indexes to the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of the Archbishop of York were published by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society covering the years .... Many of these volumes have been converted to digital books. The following table will help you find these resources online:
 
 
 
{| border="1" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="600"
 
|-
 
| '''Vol.'''
 
| '''Contents'''  
 
| '''BYU'''
 
| '''Google'''
 
| '''Genealogist'''
 
|-
 
| 6
 
| Wills 1389-1514; Probate and Administrations Act Book 1502-1514
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,105095 Link]  
 
| [http://books.google.com/books?id=fVwJAAAAIAAJ Link]*
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 11
 
| Wills 1514-1553; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1514-1553; Probate Acts 1514-1521; Act Book Deanery of Harthill 1558-1565
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,106493 Link]
 
| [http://books.google.com/books?id=01sJAAAAIAAJ Link]
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 14
 
| Wills 1554-1568; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1553-1568
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,107375 Link]
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 19
 
| Wills 1568-1585; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1568-1585
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,107588 Link]
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 22
 
| Wills 1585-1594; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1585-1594&nbsp;
 
|
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 24
 
| Wills 1594-1602; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1594-1602
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,107500 Link]
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 26
 
| Wills 1603-1611; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1603-1611
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,106400 Link]
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 28
 
| Wills 1612-1619; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1612-1619
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,106168 Link]
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 32
 
| Wills 1620-1627; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1620-1627
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,104806 Link]
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 35
 
| Wills 1627-1636; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1627-1652
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,104499 Link]
 
|
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 4
 
| Wills 1636-1652
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,104884 Link]
 
| [http://books.google.com/books?id=qlwJAAAAIAAJ Link]
 
| [http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/bookview/directory_index.php Link] ($)
 
|-
 
| 49
 
| Wills, Administrations, Probate Acts&nbsp;1660-1665
 
| [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval,110176 Link]
 
|
 
|
 
|}
 
 
 
<br>
 
 
 
*Google cataloguers mislabeled this volume ''Index to Wills in the York Registry: 1594 to 1602''.
 
 
 
==== Printed or Filmed Indexes  ====
 
 
 
Indexes are found in archives and in the Family History Library. To find the ones in the library,
 
 
 
#Go to the [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp catalog].
 
#Click Place Search.
 
#Type York and click Search.
 
#Scroll down and click the topic Probate Records--Indexes.
 
#Click on the title that includes the name of&nbsp; the court and the time period.
 
 
 
Many indexes are in the same catalog record as the original copies. They are not under the topic Probate-Indexes. If an index is not listed, go to the topic Probate Records.  
 
 
 
<br>
 
  
== Some Explanatory Notes on the Yorkshire Probate Courts  ==
+
==== Some Explanatory Notes on the Yorkshire Probate Courts  ====
  
 
When an estate was solely within the Diocese (excluding Peculiars) it was usual for the local Rural Dean, acting by commission from the Exchequer Court of York, to make the grant of probate or administration. The records were then returned to the Exchequer Court and filed; separate Act Books being kept for each deanery. When an estate was solely within the Diocese of Richmond (excluding Peculiars) the same procedure took place; the deans acting by commission from the Commissary of the Archdeaconry returned the Eastern Deanery records to Richmond and the Western Deanery records to Lancaster. There are, however, some Western Deanery grants at Richmond, as all grants passed by decree of the Court anywhere within the Archdeaconry were returned there.<ref>Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 152. Punctuation revised.</ref><br>
 
When an estate was solely within the Diocese (excluding Peculiars) it was usual for the local Rural Dean, acting by commission from the Exchequer Court of York, to make the grant of probate or administration. The records were then returned to the Exchequer Court and filed; separate Act Books being kept for each deanery. When an estate was solely within the Diocese of Richmond (excluding Peculiars) the same procedure took place; the deans acting by commission from the Commissary of the Archdeaconry returned the Eastern Deanery records to Richmond and the Western Deanery records to Lancaster. There are, however, some Western Deanery grants at Richmond, as all grants passed by decree of the Court anywhere within the Archdeaconry were returned there.<ref>Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 152. Punctuation revised.</ref><br>
Line 199: Line 100:
  
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
== 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 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]]. <br>
 
  
 
{{Reflist}}  
 
{{Reflist}}  
  
 
[[Category:Yorkshire]]
 
[[Category:Yorkshire]]

Revision as of 15:10, 7 May 2013

England Gotoarrow.png Yorkshire

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 Yorkshire. See England Probate Records for a general description of probate records in England.

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 Yorkshire, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

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

  • Probate Index related to documents covering Lancashire north of the Ribble, and parts of Cumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire, 1748-1858.
  • York Peculiars Probate Index covers over 25,000 wills proved in the fifty four peculiar courts of the Province of York in the five-hundred year period from 1383 to 1883.
  • Colin Blanshard Withers has produced a list of all known Indexes and Calendars relating to Yorkshire Probate. This is available in both Microsoft Word format (.doc) and plain text format (.txt) from his site.

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 Yorkshire 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    C        F  Ho-Hy    L    N  Sa-Sk  Wa-We
 Ba-Bl    D    G    I  Ma-Me  O-P  Sl-Sy  Wh-Wy
 Bo-By    E  Ha-Hi    K  Mi-My  Q-R  T-U    Y


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 the link for the courts below.


Yorkshire Probate Courts

Yorkshire is the largest county in England and has more than 1,000 parishes. More than 60 Courts had jurisdiction over Yorkshire before 1858 (click on the link to read about them).

Some Explanatory Notes on the Yorkshire Probate Courts

When an estate was solely within the Diocese (excluding Peculiars) it was usual for the local Rural Dean, acting by commission from the Exchequer Court of York, to make the grant of probate or administration. The records were then returned to the Exchequer Court and filed; separate Act Books being kept for each deanery. When an estate was solely within the Diocese of Richmond (excluding Peculiars) the same procedure took place; the deans acting by commission from the Commissary of the Archdeaconry returned the Eastern Deanery records to Richmond and the Western Deanery records to Lancaster. There are, however, some Western Deanery grants at Richmond, as all grants passed by decree of the Court anywhere within the Archdeaconry were returned there.[1]

It should be remembered that abstracts of the relevant parts of wills affecting real estate in Yorkshire are recorded from 1704 onwards at the Registry of Deeds for the appropriate Riding: at Wakefield for the West Riding, at Beverley for the East Riding, and at Northallerton for the North Riding.[2]



  1. Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 152. Punctuation revised.
  2. Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 153. Punctuation revised.