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Additional Devon Wills 1164-1992 - FREE online
The updated index now includes over 300,000 Devon probate records from over 60 sources, and is freely available to search online.
Search the collection for FREE
This index has been created as a combined project by Origins.net and the Devon Wills Project to compile a consolidated index of pre-1858 Devon wills, administrations, inventories, etc. Many Devon probate records were destroyed by enemy action, when the Probate Registry was destroyed in the bombing during the Exeter Blitz in 1942. Thus the aim of this index is to create a finding-aid to enable the researcher to determine what probate materials were originally recorded and most importantly what documents have survived and where they can be located.
York Peculiars original probate documents available online
Obtaining copies of the original probate documents for York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1857 has now been made easier and cheaper.
Search York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1883
Most of the York Peculiars Probate records held at The Borthwick Institute for Archives have been digitised, and National Wills Index subscribers can now purchase the original documents images using Pay per View credits and view these images directly from the index records.
Search York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1883
This collection makes available, exclusively on the National Wills Index, a comprehensive index to over 25,000 wills and other probate documents proved in the 54 Peculiar Courts of the Province of York between 1383 and 1857.

The index notes which documents are currently available online for this ongoing digitalization project. Where documents have not yet been digitised, copies can be ordered online, which will then be emailed as digitised images.

The York Peculiars Probate index usually provides the following information:
  • Testator's last name and first name
  • Occupation
  • Places associated with person
  • Date
  • Document type
  • Court concerned
  • Borthwick Institute reference
England and Wales 1901 Census comes to Origins.net

Origins.net now includes a full index to and digitised images of the original 1901 Census records for all counties in England and Wales. The 1901 Census includes the personal details of 32,461,105 individuals and provides a snapshot in time for all households including any servants, lodgers, or visitors. For each person present in each household on the night of 31 March/1 April 1901 details are given of their names, ages, address, occupations, relationship to head of household and place of birth.
Search England and Wales 1901 Census
Census records can be used not only to further your search for ancestors, but also to broaden your knowledge of the wider family or your community, supplementing information found in other sources. Geographic mobility can be easily tracked through the given birthplaces, and social mobility through addresses and occupations and open up other avenues for research.

The census records are searchable by name, age, parish and county.
Search England and Wales 1901 Census on British Origins Census searches available via Origins.net The 1891 and 1881 Censuses will be added to Origins.net during early 2014.
London Poor Law Abstracts 1581–1899 on British Origins

Genealogical Abstracts from the City of London Parochial Poor Law Records.
These poor law records were originally deposited in the Guildhall Library, London, but are now deposited at London Metropolitan Archives. Volumes I - VII.

Poor Law records are a major source for those interested in both local and family history and touched almost every aspect of the lives of those who had fallen on hard times or whose predicaments drew them to the attention of the parish officers.

The parish officer / overseer of the poor was expected when necessary, to feed, clothe, house and find work for his poor inhabitants. He apprenticed pauper children and diligently pursued the fathers of illegitimate children born in the parish. But ultimately he protected his parish from the claims of paupers who were not his responsibility.

Thus these records can allow you to prove relationships between both members of the same family and between families and places. A large number of families lived a hand to mouth existence, illness or death of the main wage earner or a bad harvest or other disaster could cause a family to become dependent upon poor relief. Poor Law records can provide the means to help you to follow these 'pauper' ancestors through their trials and tribulations.

These poor law abstracts (summaries) contain a complete summary of the details contained within each entry and includes all details including names and places plus incidental information such as relationships and occupations where found in the original documents.
Devon Wills Project 1312-1891 on the National Wills Index

This index has been created as a combined project by Origins.net and the Devon Wills Project (DWP). DWP is a collaborative project involving the Devon Family History Society, the Devon Record Office, GENUKI/Devon, and the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office to compile a consolidated index of pre-1858 Devon wills, administrations, inventories, etc.

The majority of wills and administrations of Devon people were proved or granted in either in Devon itself or in London. The originals of those wills proved in London (very nearly all at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, "PCC") have survived. However many probate records for the county of Devon and Diocese of Exeter including the Exeter Principal Registry were destroyed by enemy action in 1942, when the Probate Registry was destroyed in the bombing during the Exeter Blitz of WWII. Thus the overall aim of this index is to create a finding-aid to enable the researcher to determine what probate materials were originally recorded and most importantly what documents have survived (original document, copy or abstract) and where they can be located.

Sources currently online
The current index includes over 132,540 records of probate documents compiled form the following sources:
  • Index of the Wills and Administrations relating to the County of Devon proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, 1563-1858
  • Calendar of Wills and Administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall, proved in the court of the Principal Registry of the Bishop of Exeter, 1559-1799, and of Devon only, proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter, 1540-1799. British Record Society Vol 35 (1908)
  • Calendar of Wills and Administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall, proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Exeter, 1532-1800. British Record Society Vol 46 (1914)
More details on current sources and upcoming sources
Chichester Consistory Wills 1482-1800 on the National Wills Index

This is an index to wills proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Chichester 1482-1800. The jurisdiction of the Consistory Court extended over the whole of the Archdeaconry of Chichester, comprising the Deaneries of Arundel, Boxgrove, Midhurst, and Storrington, and thus covered the western part of the County of Sussex.

The index to over 22,100 wills recorded in the Consistory Court of Chichester 1482-1800 is now available to search on the National Wills Index. This index - originally published in 1915 as British Record Society Volume 49 - includes names of testator / testatrix, place, often occupation and document reference, which will help you locate the original document at West Sussex Record Office.
Lichfield Consistory Court Wills 1650-1700 on the National Wills Index

Between 1541 and 1836 the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry was extensive, covering the entire counties of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, north Shropshire and north Warwickshire. The bishop of Lichfield and Coventry had jurisdiction over probate in this area, which was exercised through the Lichfield Consistory Court.

The index to over 28,000 wills and testamentary documents recorded in the Lichfield Consistory Court 1650-1700 is now available to search on the National Wills Index. This index - British Record Society Volume 125 - includes names of testator / testatrix, occupation and place of abode, which will help you to locate the original document at Lichfield Record Office.
Pettigrew & Oulton Directories available online

Irish Directories collection now includes Pettigrew and Oulton's Dublin Almanack and General Register of Ireland 1835-37, 1839, 1841, 1843-45, available under the Dublin Directories search.

Pettigrew and Oulton's Dublin Almanack and General Register of Ireland includes street lists supplemented by alphabetical lists of individuals, making it possible to track an individual around the city, an important feature, since changes of address were much more frequent in the nineteenth century, when the common practice was to rent rather than purchase.

Pettigrew and Oulton records officers of virtually every Dublin institution, club and society, as well as clergy of all denominations. Coverage extended outside Dublin, noting names of many officials, administrators and clergy in large towns. This is particularly useful for areas which were not served by a local directory, or for which none has survived.

Just as importantly these directories contain a tremendous amount of information on day-to-day activities and services, giving an insight into life in Ireland in past times.
South London Burials 1545-1905 added to Greater London Burials

Well over half a million burials are indexed in Greater London Burials, which include the City of London, Middlesex and South London (metropolitan Surrey) parishes. The indexes are covered by two searches: Middlesex & City of London Burials Index 1560-1909 and newly added, South London Burials Index 1545-1905.

South London Burials Index lists over 389,000 burials for the period 1545-1905, with a handful (18) up to 1957 and 1 for 1980.

The index contains Surname, Forename, Relationship, Abode, Occupation, Age, Died, Where Buried, Maiden Name, Notes.

Of the total 389,530 records, 231,765 have an abode mentioned. Of these, 6,915 refer to counties other than Surrey, 5,863 refer to places in Middlesex or City of London, and 626 mention places in Kent, but these are mainly places in South London, just over the border from Surrey, e.g. Blackheath, Deptford, Greenwich.
Thom's Irish Directories up to 1900 available online

Irish directories currently available are Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory 1845-1900.

Irish directories are an excellent source, often supplying information not readily available elsewhere. These directories are often the only source that actually states someone’s exact occupation. A will may describe them as a 'merchant' whereas the directory will identify them as an 'ironmonger', 'grocer' or 'wine merchant' etc. Precise address and parish of residence are also commonly given. The only people generally excluded from these directories are the poorest members of society small tenant farmers, landless labourers and servants.

This collection will grow into more than 400 Irish directories making it the largest online collection of Irish directories. Sign up to our newsletter to keep updated

Chester Wills Collection 1519-1940 - Original Documents Available Online

The Chester Wills Collection comprises the Chester Wills Index and the Cheshire Wills Images.
  • Chester Wills Index includes indexes to all wills proved at Chester up to 1858 and indexes to wills of Cheshire people from 1858-1940. These are held at Cheshire Record Office.
    Plus, as jurisdiction covered south Lancashire, the index also includes Lancashire wills proved at Chester. These are held at Lancashire Record Office.
  • Cheshire Wills Images conists of digitised images of the probate documents held at Cheshire Record Office.
The present index is the most comprehensive available for Cheshire probate records.

All Chester probate records held at Cheshire Record Office have been digitised, and these images can be purchased and viewed directly from the index records.

The digitised documents include administrations, administration bonds, inventories, tuitions and other documents. The online index generally states which of the main types of documents are present (wills & codicils, administrations, inventories), although there can be other types of unspecified documents also present (e.g. accounts, tuitions, depositions, correspondence, etc).
Oxfordshire Wills - Images Available Online

This dataset indexes all the surviving probate records of the bishop and archdeacon of Oxford, covering the period 1516 to 1857, and of the Oxfordshire Peculiars, covering the period 1547-1856.

All the records indexed here are now housed in Oxfordshire Record Office. Digitisation of these documents has now been completed, and these digitised images are available to purchase and view online.
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