We have more new records to tell you about today – London Wills and Probate, 1525-1858.
Wills are among the most personal of all the millions of records on our site. They’re often written in your ancestors’ own hand, and they reveal truly intimate details of their lives. You’ll discover things like how much money they had, which of their possessions they most treasured and even which of their relatives they preferred.
But our new collection is about more than just wills. It also includes thousands of inventories detailing all your forebears’ belongings, and letters of administration showing who was appointed to distribute them.
These London records pre-date our National Probate Calendar, and go right back to the very year when Henry VIII first started pursuing Anne Boleyn. In these early wills, it’s interesting to look for any response to the religious turmoil the King created – does the language change, or can you notice a decline in the number of Catholic mementoes being passed on?
Obviously if you have London roots, this collection is an ideal opportunity to piece together your ancestors’ lives, and discover new family members to explore. However, it’s worth searching even if you’re not aware of any direct links to the capital.
Before 1858, the place where a will was proved depended not on where someone lived, but on where they owned property. As you can imagine, plenty of people lived outside London but had second houses, business premises or simply land in the city. You may well find these people’s probate records in our new collection.