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Help & ResourcesHelp with collectionsNational Wills Index collectionsAbout York Peculiars Probate IndexAbout York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1857
This collection makes available, exclusively on the National Wills Index, a comprehensive index to over 25,000 wills and other probate documents proved in 54 Peculiar Courts of the Province of York in the five-hundred year period between 1383 and 1857.
For many of the people referred to, multiple documents are available, for example multiple wills, will plus codicils, inventories of the testator's property are particularly common and there are also many tuition agreements concerning children. The different documents are listed in the index.
Wills are one of the most important sources for the family historian, and the originals of all the wills indexed here are held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives. Copies of the majority of these wills can be purchased and viewed online, via the indexes. Copies of documents not currently available online can be purchased for email delivery from the Borthwick Institute.
Purchasing and viewing original documents onlineMost of the York Peculiars Probate records held at Borthwick Institute for Archives have been digitised, and these images can be purchased with Pay per View credits and viewed directly from the index records.
Images are be displayed using Origins. net Java ImageViewer. Please ensure you have the latest version of Java installed, and are accessing the images on a compatible device - PC or Mac. See Help Viewing Images on Origins.net
Where documents have not yet been digitised, you can order copies online, which will provided as digitised images, sent by email.
The index records for the York Peculiars show which documents are currently available online; York Peculiar Courts shows for which ones the document images are available online.
The index recordsThe index records provide the following information:
ABBOT, James, butcher,,Haxby,1753,W. Inv. B,,StrensallThis refers to a will proved in the Prebendal Court of Strensall in 1753. The documents include the will, and inventory of the testator's property, and a bond (required from the executor to ensure that the duties were carried out properly.
Index record: example 2.
Carnabie,Isabell and Agnes ? Daus of John C",late par of St John ,,Sep 17 1593,Tui,f.5,HexamshireThis entry refers to a tuition agreement, relating to the guardianship of the daughters, Isabell and Agnes, of John Carnabie of the parish of St John in Hexhamshire (now in Northumberland). The daughters must therefore have been under 12 years of age. (The index also contains records referring to a later tuition agreement concerning the same girls, plus one of the same year relating to what is probably another sister, Anne.)
PlacesWhile the overwhelming majority of the documents relate to persons with property in Yorkshire, though testators were associated with other places in Britain also, and some died overseas (eg East Indies, Gibraltar), or at sea. The references to place primarily relate to property held there, but also to the place where the person died, or where they may have lived.
See Parishes, Townships and Peculiar Jurisdictions.
Language of the documentsThe first will in English at the Borthwick Institute is dated 1443. By the early 1500s most wills were in English, and by 1558 it is almost certain that a will will be in English. Until 1732 the Act Books entries (which contain a brief outline of the grant of probate) were written in Latin, and Latin continued until then to be used for legal parts of documents even if the bulk of the document was written in English.
Other "York Series" Probate IndexesAll the indexes to probate documents held at the Borthwick Institute are available on the National Wills Index.
The York Series of Probate Indexes are presented in association with the Borthwick Institute for Archives