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British genealogy subscription site Ancestry.co.uk has added a database called the National
Probate Calendar, 1861-1941, which has 6 million names and other information from
wills and probate records created in England and Wales during those years. (This
database also is available on Canadian subscription site Ancestry.ca and on
In England, the Principal Probate Registry has been responsible for the probate process
since 1858. Cases were summarized in the registry’s National Probate Calendar.
“There’s an entry for the vast majority of people who died in that period,” says Ancestry.co.uk
spokesperson Russell James. The calendar may provide the deceased person’s full name,
date and place of death, executor of his or her will (often another family member)
and value of the estate.
You can use the information in the database to write
the Principal Probate Registry for copies of the deceased’s will and probate records.
Related resource from Family Tree Magazine:
websites for British Isles researchers (free article)
Roots Online Toolkit (free article)
Genealogy Guide Digital Download (from ShopFamilyTree.com)