17 August 2016
Give your research a boost with must-search collections
If you’ve plundered the birth, marriage and death registers and exhausted the censuses, where else should you now look? Give your ancestral research a boost with Family Tree September and expert Chris Paton’s selection of useful records for the United Kingdom and Ireland that go way beyond the basic vital registers and censuses to add new details and depth to your family tree. Chris's selection of record collections can help take you to the next stage in your ancestral research – a step well worth taking...
We're giving you a taster of one of the records here, but check out the issue for 9 more must-search collections, from parish chest records to gazetteers and histories..
Wills & inventories
Many of our ancestors left wills prior to their death. The court process formalising the transfer of estates to beneficiaries was known as ‘probate’ in England, Wales and Ireland (‘confirmation’ in Scotland). Where no will was left, assets could still be passed on through the courts after the creation of an inventory and the appointment of an executor. Even if our ancestors died without a will, it is worth researching others from the town who left a will, as our ancestors may be named as beneficiaries, creditors, debtors, executors or perhaps witnesses.
For England and Wales from 1858 onwards check www.gov.uk/search-will-probate; earlier wills may be found probated through a range of church-based courts, with a useful guide available at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/wills-or-administrations-before-1858.
For Northern Ireland, the indexes for wills prior to 1964 are available on the PRONI website, while all Scottish-based confirmation documents prior to 1925 are digitised and available on ScotlandsPeople.
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