Find out if your British ancestor left a will in more than 28,000 records of wills proven before the York Peculiar Courts. Look through wills and other probate documents that were proved in the 54 Peculiar Courts of the province of York during the 500 years between 1383 and 1883. Find out about your ancestors' estates, inventories of their possessions, even tuition agreements for their children.
Each record contains a transcript of the original document and many also contain an image of the original. The information contained can vary considerably but you can find out the following about your ancestor:
Name of testator
Name of executor
Name of beneficiaries
Inventory of household items and clothes
Tuition agreements for any children
Names of other family members and close friends
Information about debts or special circumstances
Copies of wills not available online may be obtained, for a fee, from the Borthwick Institute for Archives.
There are 28,716 records concerning wills proved in the 54 Peculiar courts in the province of York during the 500 year period between 1383 and 1883. Peculiar courts are Church of England ecclesiastical courts. All wills had to be proved before an ecclesiastical court before this function was taken over by the civil courts in 1858.
The original documents are held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives and copies may be obtained from there. While the overwhelming majority of the documents relate to persons with property in Yorkshire, testators were associated with other places in Britain also, and some died overseas (eg East Indies, Gibraltar), or at sea. The references to place primarily relate to property held there, but also to the place where the person died, or where they may have lived.
Before 1752, New Year in England started on 25 March. When the New Year changed to 1 January, it became necessary to distinguish between the two calendars so the terms Old Style and New Style came into use when quoting dates.
So, 15 February 1715 (Old Style) would be quoted as 15 February 1716 (New Style). When the day fell after 24 March, the year was the same.
In this record set, dates before 25 March express the year in both Old and New Style, eg. 23 January 1741/2 (where 1741 is Old Style and 1742 is New Style).