Posted by on 30 June 2011 in General, Record Collections

Wills

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.

Find out more about our London wills and probate records

5 Comments

Louise 

I can’t access either the new London Wills and Probate records or the new London Nonconformist register. Are these links broken or is it just me?!

30 June 2011 at 10:10 pm
Teresa Moy 

No its not just you Louise,I am also having a few problems,I think there might be maintenance going on.

30 June 2011 at 10:28 pm
Louise 

Ahh, broken search functionality. Thanks for your reply Teresa, nice to know I’m not the only one tearing out my hair and bursting blood vessels ;-)

30 June 2011 at 10:36 pm
Chris Paton 

Beautifully digitised collection, but it would help to know exactly what the source for the wills was, not just LMA, but which courts etc? At present, there’s a brief explanation about London wills from an American genealogy book and a note which says it does not include PCC wills. Knowing what is there though would help us to understand just how complete the collection is.

Chris

1 July 2011 at 11:12 am
Bob Douglas 

Hi

I agree we need to know which courts and jurisdictions are covered

YOu are also not labelling this well
THere are many many Surrey wills in this, not just from south of the River but e.g. Godalming

It would be helpful if more fields could be corrected beyong the name

12 July 2011 at 9:26 am