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            Courses            
English: Probate Records
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This course will examine in some detail many aspects related to the subject of probate. The most important probate documents are wills, inventories, administrations, guardianships, and Death Duty Registers.

Wills are one of the most valuable sources available for the genealogist because they usually mention several family members, even from two or three generations. They are often the best or only means of verifying a family tree compiled from civil registration, census or parish registers. This course also offers suggestions and tips when visiting the FamilySearch Center or other sites holding documents, how to fill out forms requesting information, and how to interpret the documentation you receive.


Course Content

Module 1
Preface
Introduction
• Terminology & Abbreviations Found in Probate Materials
• The Social Hierarchy
 

Module 2
Wills
• History Affecting Probate
 
Making a Will
• Inheritance of Real Estate
• Inheritance of Personal Estate
 
Who Could Make a Will?
• Wills of Unmarried Persons
• Wills of Childless Couples
• Widows' Wills
• Wills of Relatives
• Wills of Contemporaries
• 20th Century Families
 
How & When Was a Will Made?
• Noncupative Wills
• Revocation by Marriage
 
Contents of a Will
• The Preamble
• The Text & Any Codicils
• Charitable Bequests
• Family Bequests
• Bequests to Other Relatives, Servants & Friends
• Types of Legacies
• Remainder Clause
• Executors, Trustees & Overseers
• Attestation & Witnessing
• Codicils
• Evidence from Witnesses
 
Probate Act or Grant of Probate
• After the Probate
• Encumbered Estates
• Lapsed Legacies
 
Reading Wills
• Script
• Language of Wills
• Valuations of Estates
 
Recording the Contents of a Will
• Transcribing & Abstracting
• What to Include in a Full Abstract
• Relationships
• Daughters' Marriages
• Ages
 
Longest & Shortest Wills
 
Expect Surprises!
• Illegitimate Children
• Children by Previous Spouses
• Omission of a Family Member
• Relatives in Far Places
 
Other Laws Affecting Wills
 

Module 3
Administrations
• When is an Administration Needed?
• Who Can Be an Administrator?
• Procedure for Administration
• Intestacy Rules
• What Records Were Kept?
• Information in an Administration
• Probate & Administration + Will
 

Module 4
Probate Materials
Websites
 
Other Probate Materials
• Appeals or Assignations
• Bonds
• Cause Papers
• Caveats
• Depositions
• Diaries, Journals & Minute Books
• Exhibits
• Guardianships
• Inventories
• Limited or Special Grants
• Monitions & Commissions
 
Non-Deposited Probate Records
 
Probate Accounts
• Receipts for Legacies
• Renunciations
• Testamentary Suits
• Disputes over the Validity of a Will
• Disputes Over the Content of a Will
 

Module 5
Finding Probates
Websites
 
What You Need to Start a Search For a Specific Will
• To Find the Parents of an Ancestor
• Affluent But No Will or Admon?
• Indexes of Testators
• Wills Beneficiaries Indexes
 
Finding Probates from 1858
• The Indexes
 
Obtaining the Administration Grant
• Obtaining the Will & Probate Grant
• How to Find Films of Wills for England 1858-1925
 
Obtaining Other Probate Documents
 
Finding Probates Before 1858
• Understanding the System
• The Peculiars
• Wills Dealt with by Local Clergy
• The Commonwealth & Interregnum
 
How to Find the Right 'Chain' of Courts
• Quick Methods
 
Kinds of Church Court Records
 
Lower Courts (Peculiar, Dean, Archdeacon, & Bishop)
• Indexes & Where to Find Them
• Strategy
• Obtaining Copies From the Archive or CRO
• Obtaining Copies From a Film
 
Prerogative Court of York (PCY)
• Using the Borthwick Institute
• Using a Family History Center
• PCY Court of Chancery Will Disputes
 
Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC)
• Indexes to PCC Wills
• Indexes to PCC Admons
• Indexes to PCC Inventories
• PCC Probate Documents
• PCC Registered Copy Wills
• PCC Probate Act Books
• PCC Limited or Special Grants of Probate
• PCC Original Wills
• PCC Administrations
• PCC Special or Limited Administration Grants
• PCC Inventories
• PCC Will Disputes Court of Delegates
• PCC Will Disputes Court of Arches
• PCC Bonds
• PCC Probate Classes
 
Other Will Collections
• Bank of England Will Extracts 1717-1845
• The National Archives Miscellaneous Wills
• Courts of Orphans
 
Other Sources
Reasons for Not Finding a Will
 

Module 6
Death Duty Records
Websites
Genealogical Value of Death Duties
 
Death Duty Records
• Finding Death Duty Indexes
• Using the Death Duty Indexes
• Finding Death Duty Abstracts
• Using Death Duty Abstracts
• Using Death Duty Admon Abstracts
• Under Name of Administrator
• Under Degree of Kindred of Administrator
• Under Persons Beneficially Entitled
• Under Property and Share
• Using Death Duty Will Abstracts
• Post 1858 Death Duty Registers
 
Isle of Man & Channel Islands Probate
• Channel Island Probate
 
Conclusion
 
References & Appendix
• Useful Addresses
• Further Reading
• Books
• Websites
 
Handy Transcription Forms
• Searching for a Modern Will 1858 to Present
• Searching for a Pre-1858 Will or Admon
• Search in Death Duty Indexes
• Abstract of Will or Admon
• Death Duty Admon Abstract Form
• Death Duty Will Abstraction Form
 
 

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