Included in this record set are both transcripts and images of the original wills and probate documents. While the amount of available information varies, most transcripts include the following:
Year of will
Year of grant of probate, or year of letters of administration
Year of inventory
Piece description – Such as original wills, administrations, and inventories. This may contain volume information, such as vol. D or vol. 1.
Piece surname range – This may contain a single letter (e.g. A), a letter-to-letter range (e.g. I-L), a name to letter range (e.g. Dolphin-G), a letter to name range (e.g. A-Barnith), or a name range (e.g. Bull-Clarson).
Piece year range
Images of the original documents will often include more detailed, personal information about your ancestor, including estate information. Wills and letters of administration (where a will was not made) will often include references to entire family networks. These probate records may also include an inventory of the property of the deceased, which was compiled and usually valued by close family or friends. Inventories survive for almost all wills up to 1750, when they reduce steadily until, by 1800, there are very few. Probate courts between 1530 and 1782 would insist on such documentation in order to prove the will. However, after 1782, inventories were usually compiled only where there was a dispute.
Please note that some of the images are of poor quality and hard to decipher. Additionally, some transcripts will link to multiple images: use the previous and next buttons to see all the images associated with that transcript.
This record set is comprised of two collections:
Diocese of Lichfield & Coventry Probate Court Act Books 1532-1638
This covers the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, including Staffordshire, Derbyshire, the northern half of Shropshire, and north and east Warwickshire. These records include abbreviated notes of probate court business.
Calendar of wills and letters of administration (admons)
Index of wills
Diocese of Lichfield & Coventry original wills, inventories and letters of administration 1521-1858, which are taken from Consistory Court and Peculiar Courts records and include probate documents and inventories.
The Genealogical Society of Utah in the 1950s undertook a microfilming project covering the years 1521-1858 and has graciously allowed the inclusion of those films in this record set. In 1858, the civil courts inherited the documents. Images copyrighted to Staffordshire County Council.
Lydia Young, spinster, who died on 14 April 1848, appears twice in these records. Her first entry is her inclusion in a calendar of wills and admons. Her second entry includes her will and probate documents.
Lydia appointed her brothers Samuel Young and George Young as trustees of her will. She requested that her property, after all debts and funeral expenses have been paid, should be bestowed on her sister Elizabeth Wardle, wife of Hugh Wardle, for her use as long as she remains separated from her husband. At her sister’s death or if she returns to her husband, the whole of the property is to be divided amongst all: the children of her brother Samuel Young of Lynn House, George Young of Leek, and Elizabeth Wardle. Lydia specifies that no husband of her sister Elizabeth shall ever have benefits from 'this my presents'. She bequeaths to her sister all her household furniture, linen, glass, china, etc. to do with as she likes.