How to Use Wills and Probate Records in Your Genealogy Research
When it comes to researching & verifying family trees and the distribution of estates, one of the most useful sources of information is probate documents. Wills and probate records not only determine how an estate was to be distributed according to a testator’s wishes but also provide information on who they were, their descendants and what they owned. Throughout the ages, wills have been made for all classes of people, and accessing them can reveal a great amount of genealogical information.
Therefore, here is our guide on using wills and probate records to research a family tree.
What information can I find using probate records?
When looking through probate records, you can often find the following information:
- Information on the testator including their full name, where they lived and their occupation.
- The date the will was drawn up and signed.
- Details of the testator’s family, including in-laws and grandchildren.
- Any property owned or leased by the testator.
- The date the will was proved. If probate was granted sometime after the testator’s death, the date and circumstances of their death might be included.
Where to find probate records
When it comes to registered wills and probate documents in England and Wales, you can find the original records in several places. Firstly, the Principal Registry of the Family Division (PPR) holds original will documents. However, all documents must be requested online as they no longer maintain a public search area. Secondly, you can find wills from before 1858 in the National Archives (TNA) or in local church records. Check the TNA Discovery website to find the locations for these local records.
Contact us today!
Here at Anglia Research, we are happy to help family members or Personal Representatives with any queries about probate genealogy research and processes. Contact us today for your free consultation.
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