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Scottish: Wills and Testaments
Register (Fees/Dates)
Other Info
Wills are one of the most valuable sources genealogists because they usually mention several family members, even from collateral branches of the family. They are often the easiest means of extending a family tree before the introduction of Statutory Registration in Scotland.

This course will examine Scottish Confirmations and Inventories (the equivalent of English Wills and Admons) in detail. It will cover the legislation defining what could be willed at various periods and the courts which had jurisdiction.

Course Content

Module 1

  • Glossary

    What are Wills and Testaments?
  • What do they contain?
  • Will a testament tell me if my ancestor owned land and buildings?
  • Who left testaments?
  • Are wills and testaments difficult to read?

    Health Warning

    Historical Background
  • The Pre-Reformation Courts
  • The Reformation
  • The Commissary Courts

    Module 2

    Legislating Relating to Testaments and Moveables

    Wills and Testaments
  • Tutors, Pupils and Curators

    Heritable & Moveable Property

    Legislation Affecting Wills
  • Medieval Roots
  • Post-Reformation Legislation

    Legal Rights
  • Illegitimacy
  • Jus Mariti
  • Legal Rights

    19th and 20th Century Legislation

    Who Could Inherit?
  • Intestate Succession to Heritable Property
  • Intestate Succession to Moveable Property

    Module 3

    The Courts & How to Find the Records

    The Courts
  • Commissary Courts
  • Commissary Court Records
  • Sheriff Courts
  • Historical Background
  • Commissary Business
  • Sheriff Court Records

    How To Find The Records
  • Wills and Confirmations Before 1823
  • Example

    Indexes 1801-1823
    Testaments 1823-1875
    Testaments 1876-1901
    20th Century Testaments

    Module 4

    Procedures for Confirming a Testament

    Procedures for Confirming a Testament
  • Inventory
  • Procedure for Confirmation of an Executor
  • Who could act as an Executor?
  • The Oath
  • Caution
  • Eiks to Confirmations

    Module 5

    Tyoes of Testaments & Contents of Testaments

    Types of Testaments
  • Nomination of Executors
  • Last Will and Testament
  • General Disposition and Settlement
  • Trust Disposition and Settlement
  • Codicil

    Elements of a Testament
  • Introductory Clause
  • Inventory
  • Debts Due and Owing
  • Oath
  • Will
  • Confirmation

    Module 6

    Additional Sources

    English Wills
  • English Wills Before 1858
  • English Wills After 1858

    Death Duties
  • Taxes Payable by Beneficiaries of the Estate
  • Taxes Payable by the Executors of an Estate

    Great Western Railway Shareholders Index

    Soldiersí and Airmenís Wills
  • Searching and Viewing the Wills

    Unclaimed Estates (Money Left In Chancery)
    Help With Handwriting

    Help With Unfamiliar Terms
  • Help With Legal Terms
  • Help With the Scots Language
  • Help With Latin

    Why Canít I Find a Will or Testament for My Ancestor?

    Bibliography & Further Reading


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