Ordering Wills or Probate Records Online
The HM Government’s Probate Office for England and Wales has now altered the procedure for ordering Wills or Probate records (1858 to the present day). You can only order the documents online. It will cost £10.
Go to their Find a Will search page and enter the persons surname and year of death. It is not possible to enter any other search parameters. A search will return pages of the National Probate Calendar in which that person’s surname appears for that year. It may cover several pages. Go through the pages until you find the entry you are looking for. From this take the relevant details required for the ordering form which appears on the right of the probate calendar pages. Then click ‘add to the basket’ and pay.
If you are a member of Ancestry.co.uk, they have a far better search engine for finding Wills up to 1966. A great help if you are unsure as to the year or place of death. Once you have found it on there, you can revert back to the Probate Office’s search engine.
For information on how to research Wills before 1858, see our Wills before 1858 page.
New: Trade Union Membership Registers
Newly published on Findmypast.co.uk is an archive of Trade Union Membership Registers. These are three million British trade union records from the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick. The collection includes images of the original record books from 9 unions.
The information on each record can vary depending on the type of record but there is the potential to discover: name, birth year, admission year, age at admission, trade, union name, union branch and county. Some may also provide marriage dates, payments received, date and reason for leaving (exclusion), and date of death if a serving member.
The Unions are:
Amalgamated Society of Carpenters & Joiners
Amalgamated Society of Carpenters, Cabinetmakers & Joiners
General Union of Carpenters & Joiners
Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers
Amalgamated Society of Lithographic Artists, Designers, Engravers & Process Workers
Amalgamated Society of Lithographic Printers
Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants
National Union of Railwaymen
United Society of Boilermakers & Iron Shipbuilders
Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912
Recently published on Ancestry are the Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912. In 1845, the Lunacy Act and County Asylum Act required counties to build asylums for the insane. The newly formed Lunacy Commission was established both oversee these public asylums and the still existing private asylums. These registers are those of the Lunacy Commission and form part of series MH 94 at the National Archives.
Most of the registers record the name and sex of the patient, the name of hospital, asylum or licensed house, and the date of admission and of discharge, or death of each patient. Unfortunately, in the earlier registers the location is often just shown as a county name. It is not until later that the names of individual asylums are given. Also in some of the registers only a surname of the patient is given.
If your ancestor disappeared in one of the census returns, then a search of these registers may be worthwhile as in the census returns inmates of an asylum were either not named or only their initials were supplied.
There are over 29,000 records if one searches for the keyword ‘Essex’.
More Wills at the Essex Record Office
The Essex Record Office (ERO) has just announced a recent new upload of 22,500 wills to their Essex Ancestors service. You can now view online Wills which were created before c.1720 and now held in the ERO. The remaining Wills from c.1720-1858 are to be uploaded in the near future. Essex Ancestors is a pay to view service, but reasonable day or week rates are available.
The Wills are from the following ecclesiastical courts:
- Archdeaconry of Colchester
- Archdeaconry of Essex
- Archdeaconry of Middlesex (Essex & Herts. Division)
- Bishop of London’s Commissary (Essex & Herts. Division)
- Peculiar of the Deanery of Bocking
- Peculiar of Good Easter
- Peculiar of the Liberty of the Sokens
- Peculiar of Writtle with Roxwell
For more information Wills and your Essex ancestors see our Wills before 1858 page.
Have you researched the Huguenots of Colchester?
Have you researched the Huguenots of Colchester? The Friends of Colchester Museums are hosting an event in September 2015 on the subject of the Huguenot migration to England during the 16th – 17th centuries and are looking for a speaker with local knowledge of the Huguenots in Colchester.
The event will commence with a speaker from the Huguenot Society who will talk of the background to the Huguenots in England generally. After this it is hoped another speaker can be found who can provide information on the Huguenots who came to live in Colchester.
Ideally they are looking for someone who has relevant knowledge of the Huguenots in Colchester (not the Flemish/Dutch of which there were many more). Perhaps someone who has discovered and researched their Huguenot ancestors in Colchester, or has discovered a Huguenot connection to North East Essex.
If you think you can help in anyway or you know of someone who may be able to help then contact History House and we will forward on the information.
Radio Times Archive
The BBC has launched their Genome Project. They’ve scanned the back catalogue of the Radio Times and particularly the listings information between 1923 and 2009. A good source of information if your ancestor or living relation was involved as an actor, presenter, etc. Or just go down memory lane: what was I watching in 1967?
For more background information on the Radio Times, see the BBC website on the history of the Radio Times.