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How to find non PCC wills via Family Search

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Not everyone realises that there are wills available via Family Search. Some are open and available to view online, other need to be accessed via a Family History Centre or Affiliate Library.

First step is to read Family Search's guide to Probate records in England here:
England Probate Records Guide

Finding wills by County

Using the above guide go to the section 'Determining the Court' and follow the instructions to search the Family Search Catalogue

County name

  • Northern England
  • Cheshire and Merseyside

For Cheshire first go to the Cheshire Probate Records page and read the page carefully following the instructions. You will eventually end up at a page like this https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/821001?availability=Family%20History%20Library dependant on which court and year you need. All the will images here are unlocked, lucky you. If you've followed the instructions and used the index you should find the will you want relatively easily.

  • County Durham & Tyne & Wear

For County Durham first go to the Durham Probate Records page Read the page carefully following the instructions on how to find wills. Let's look for one for a Timothy Bulmer, .
First go to Durham Probate Records page From there you go to the North East Inheritance Database using the simple search type in Bulmer. You will get these results Results Tick the box or boxes next to the records you want to view, in this case any for Timothy Bulmer and click view records. That will take you to these results: Results Then all you need to do is click on the link in brackets of any results you want to view and you are directed here Will of Timothy Bulmer, esquire

  • Cumbria, Cumberland & Westmorland
  • Lancashire
  • Northumberland
  • Yorkshire
  • East Midlands
  • Derbyshire
  • Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Rutland

  • West Midlands
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire
  • Staffordshire
  • Warwickshire
  • Worcestershire
  • East England
  • Bedfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Huntingdonshire
  • Essex
  • Greater London & Middlesex
  • Hertfordshire
  • Norfolk
  • Suffolk
  • South East England
  • Berkshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Hampshire & Isle of Wight
  • Kent
  • Oxfordshire
  • Surrey

There are extracts of Surrey wills available on Find My Past if you have a subscription

  • Sussex
Sussex wills available on Family Search are spread across at least three jurisdictions, Lewes, South Malling and Chichester.
This page provides information on Finding Sussex Wills - Lewes
  • South West England
  • Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire wills are available on Ancestry is you have a subscription

  • Somerset
  • Wiltshire

It is always worthwile checking the County Archives and the National Archives sites as sometimes you find short extracts of wills which can be very helpful. Ancestry and Find My Past also have wills on their site if you have a subscription you can access them. There are also sites such as Surrey Plus Wills Index https://sites.rootsweb.com/~engsurry/wills/index.shtml

Transcriptions of Oxfordshire wills : http://www.dustydocs.com/linkSpecial/30/112694/transcribed-wills.html

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This would be so good to get finished if you have time. And add Ancestry to it too.
posted by Susie (Potter) Officer