FT Academy October 2023: the answers


26 September 2023
Find the answers below to the challenges, that Family Tree Academy Tutor David Annal set in the October 2023 issue of Family Tree.


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Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the famous British engineer, died on 15 September 1859. Can you find out when his will was proved?

The will of Isambard Kingdom Brunel was proved on 10 October 1859 at the Principal Registry in London.


The actress, Sarah Siddons (née Kemble), died in London on 8 June 1831. Where and when was her will proved?

The will of Sarah Siddons, widow of Westbourn Green, Paddington was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 8 August 1831.


Elizabeth Ashby died on 9 August 1810 and was buried at Barwell, Leicestershire five days later, leaving an extensive will. Where and when was her husband’s will proved?

Elizabeth’s will tells us that she was the ‘Widow and Relict of The Reverend Samuel Ashby Clerk deceased heretofore Rector of Barwell’. There’s no sign of a will for Samuel in the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury but a search of the Leicestershire wills database turns up the will of Samuel Ashby “of Barwell in the County of Leicester Clerk” which was proved on 6 November 1778 by “Eliz: Ashby Widow the sole Executrix” in the Archdeaconry Court of Leicester. 

Thinking Outside The Box

How might the Inland Revenue’s Death Duty registers help with your search for your ancestors’ wills?

Between 1796 and 1903 the Inland Revenue (formerly the Stamp Office) maintained a series of registers to record the payments of various duties (namely, Legacy Duty, Succession Duty and Estate Duty). Amongst the details recorded in the registers are the date of probate and the name of the court in which the will was proved. 

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