The National Probate Calendar 1861-1941 has just been made available online.
The subscription website Ancestry.co.uk has added the Calendar, which contains summaries of the vast majority of probate cases in England and Wales between 1861 and 1941, and forms an index to wills and probate records for this period.
Ancestry says: “The records were created by the Probate Registry, which took control of proving wills and administrations in 1858. Before this, four different types of ecclesiastical (church) courts dealt with these cases.
“A Principal Probate Registry was established in London in January 1858, and several district probate registries were created around the country. From then on, the registries oversaw all grants of probate and letters of administration. This collection is the Calendar of these grants.
“The Calendar is separated into a different volume for each year. The entries in each volume are then alphabetised by surname. Information varies across different entries, but each typically includes:
- Probate date
- Full name of the deceased
- Death date
- Death place
- Registry where issued
“Our collection covers 80 years from 1861 to 1941. We currently do not have the books for the years 1858-1860, and there are some gaps for the years 1863, 1868, 1873, 1876, 1877, 1883, 1888, 1899-1903 and 1910-1911. However, we hope to add records for these years as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to order a copy of the will from us. If you wish to order a copy of a will or grant mentioned in this collection, you can do so for a fee from the Principal Probate Registry at First Avenue House or any district probate registry. You’ll need to provide the full name of the deceased, the date of the grant and the registry where it was issued. For more information, please visit the Probate Registry’s website.”