This week's Findmypast Friday marks the release of fascinating Probate Calendars containing more than 100 years of English and Welsh wills. Additional birth, marriage and death records have also been added to our collection of Hertfordshire parish records.
Probate Calendars of England & Wales 1858-1959
Containing over 500,000 records, the Probate Calendars of England & Wales 1858-1959 record the details of wills lodged with the National Probate Registry. Until 1858, matters of probate were dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts of the Church of England. After 1858 the civil government took over the settlement of all estates and all wills were now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. There were 11 district registry offices with 18 sub-district registries located around England and Wales, with the principal office located in First Avenue House, London. The calendars will reveal if your ancestor left a will or was mentioned in one. They may also reveal the size of the estate in question and list the will's executors or administrators. The executors/administrator may have been a bank, solicitor, beneficiary or a family member, providing you with links to other branches of your family tree and new avenues to explore. Once you've found your ancestor in the index you can use the information listed to request a copy of the will from the National Probate Registry.
Each record contains an image of the page containing the entry. The amount of information can vary. Records can include the deceased's name, date of death, their address at death, occupation, marital status, the name of their spouse, the size of their estate, the names of any beneficiaries and their occupations.
Probate Calendars of England & Wales 1858-1959 Browse
You can also browse the probate calendars of England and Wales to find details of wills lodged with the National Probate Registry between 1858 and 1959. The browse is useful if you are unsure of the spelling of your ancestor's name as you can look through page by page to find possible options.
You can search by year, give the first letter of your ancestor's last name and navigate through the books by clicking on the white arrows to the left and right of the screen.
Over 5,000 records from the parishes of Ashwell and Baldock have been added to our collection of Hertfordshire parish baptisms. Baptisms are not exclusive to infants and, although they most usually are new-borns, the names of those found within the baptism records could be of young children or even adults. Baptism records are not the same as birth records and therefor some members of the parish may not be recorded because they were not baptised or not baptised in the parish church. Hertfordshire Baptisms now contains over 826,000 records.
Each record includes a digitised image of the original record book and a transcript for the individual entry. Transcripts list the individual's year and place of Baptism, the names of their parents, and their father's occupation. Images may include additional notes although the amount of additional information documented was up to the wishes of either the parish clerk or reverend.
Nearly 2,000 records from the parishes of Hatfield, Northhaw and Royston have been added to our collection of Hertfordshire parish marriages. Each record includes a digitised image of the original record book and a transcript for the individual entry.
Transcripts will list the name of bride and groom, the date of their marriage, their respective ages, and the names of their fathers while images can include considerably more detail. Images may reveal the marital status, occupations, their fathers' occupations, their residence at time of marriage, the names of any witnesses and the officiating Minister. You may even be able to see your ancestors' signatures.
Nearly 5,000 records, also from the parishes of Ashwell and Baldock, have been added to our collection of Hertfordshire parish burials. Dating as far back as the 1400s, the records will reveal your ancestors burial date, age at death and burial place. The Church of England began keeping registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in 1538. Of the 132 ancient parishes in Hertfordshire, however, only 16 have registers surviving from this date. The majority of the others date from the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign in 1558.
Each record includes a digitised image of the original record book and a transcript for the individual entry. Images may reveal additional details such as your ancestor's residence, grave location, notes on the circumstances surrounding their deaths and the name of the Minister who conducted their funeral.
Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Fridays page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.