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London and Middlesex Probate Records

General information on probate is given in the national GENUKI page, including the locations of copies of the national indexes to all wills proved in the civl probate courts from 12 January 1858. Prior to that date probate was administered by the Church, and in order to find the records it is necessary to identify which of the hierarchy of church courts had jurisdiction over the place(s) where the deceased person's property lay. If there was property worth more than 5 in more than one jurisdiction, then the probate should have been granted in a superior court. It is also possible that a higher court was used simply for reasons of prestige or convenience.

"The city of London and the county of Middlesex were in the province of Canterbury and the diocese of London. The various jurisdictions are probably more complicated than anywhere else in the country and the searcher is advised to examine all major courts, split though they are between several record offices. P.C.C. was greatly used." (J Gibson & E Churchill, Probate jurisdictions: where to look for wills, 5th edition, FFHS, 2002, p.36.)

For details of which jurisdiction(s) a parish lay in see the above book or the Phillimore Atlas and index of parish registers. We are gradually adding details of jurisdictions to our parish pages as well. The process of proving a will generated several different types of records retained by the court, though not all of them survive. These include:

Where people died intestate (without a will), administrations of their goods could be granted to their heirs or creditors. These were granted by the same courts, but produced less in the way of useful documents for the genealogist. The principal record is:

Both court processes would in principle produce other documents, though these survive less frequently:

For London and Middlesex the relevant record offices and the court records they hold are:

There is also a London Probate Index 1750-1858, "its 70,000 entries cover wills and administrations for all London and Middlesex probate courts (except the PCC)", available on FindMyPast.

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[Created 28 Sep 2007 by Andrew Millard. Last updated 21 Dec 2013 by Andrew Millard.]

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