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Help - Wills

Wills can be incredibly useful if proving family links and sometimes in establishing an earlier generation of a family.

Only a minority of people left a Will (also known as 'Probate'). Where a person died leaving property or other form of estate and had not prepared a will, an Administration (often abbreviated to 'Admon') may have been prepared.

If your ancestor died after 1858 their will or administration will be recorded in the National Probate Index (available on ancestry website, searchable by name).

If your ancestor died before 1858, lived in Brentford and you think they left a will, then the courts to try are

  • Court of the Archdeaconry of Middlesex (which covered Brentford, Isleworth, Hanwell, Hounslow, Twickenham, Uxbridge and Heston and other nearby parishes) (findmypast includes surname index covering initials A-F for the period 1750-1785, with a few later to 1810; records are held at the London Metropolitan Archives)
  • Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of London (Essex and Hertfordshire Division) (findmypast includes surname index covering initials A-F for the period 1750-1858; records held at the Guildhall Library)
  • Court of the Bishop of London (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Consistory Court of London: which had jurisdiction over the City of London and county of Middlesex (see Web Links for a link allowing you to download a list of wills proved at this court up to 1858 (free); alternatively findmypast includes surname index covering initials A-F for the period 1750-1858; records are held at the London Metropolitan Archives)
  • Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury (this site includes a list of Brentford testators, 1800-1858 (free); records are held at The National Archives)

findmypast website also includes Death Duty Registers 1796-1903, which may help by providing the name of the court your ancestor's will was proved at - in effect it acts as a centralised index.

An entry should appear in the Death Duty Register if your ancestor left a will or administration which was subject to payment of a death duty, example of entry for John DALE, 1809.

Published November 2010