The Origins Network has added the Oxfordshire Wills Index to its National Wills Index website.
At the National Wills Index site, you can now search the Oxfordshire Wills Index 1547-1857. This database indexes all the surviving probate records of the Bishop and Archdeacon of Oxford for the period 1733 to 1857, and of the Oxfordshire Peculiars for 1547-1856.
All the records in the index are held in the Oxfordshire Record Office, and are currently being digitised. The images will be available on the National Wills Index site in early 2011, but in the meantime, you can order physical copies online through Origins.net.
According the British Wills Index website, “The Oxfordshire Wills Index database was previously published in printed format as the British Record Society (BRS) vol.109, edited by D.M. Barratt, Joan Howard-Drake and Mark Priddey.
“It is in part a continuation of the index to similar Oxford consistory and archdeaconry probate records for the period 1516 to 1732 (published as BRS vols 93 & 94, and which will be included within the National Wills Index within the next few months), but also includes all surviving probate records, which extend from 1547 to 1856, of the Oxfordshire peculiar courts except that of the Chancellor of Oxford University. The index to the latter court will be included in the National Wills Index shortly.
“The bishop of Oxford’s probate jurisdiction was extended to Berkshire in 1836 when that archdeaconry was transferred from Salisbury to Oxford diocese, and similarly to Buckinghamshire in 1845 when that archdeaconry was transferred from Lincoln diocese.
“Most residents in those areas continued to prove their wills in their respective archdeaconry courts, but this index includes among the Oxford consistory records listed here just a few Berkshire wills and grants of administration from 1836 onwards and a very few for Buckinghamshire from 1845.
“This database together with the two previously published BRS volumes include all the surviving Oxfordshire wills proved and administrations granted in local courts up to 1857 except those for most resident members of Oxford University and other ‘privileged persons’ employed by or otherwise connected with the University.
“These persons were, like the residents of the peculiars, exempt from the bishop’s jurisdiction and proved their wills in the court of the Chancellor of the University. An index of most of these University probate records was published by John Griffiths in 1862, and will be added to the present online index in a few weeks. Now, therefore, online or printed means of reference are now available for all the surviving probate records of all the Oxfordshire local ecclesiastical courts.”