Did your ancestors own property in Wales? These abstracts of wills, inventories and probate records can reveal a wealth of vital information about the lives they lived, their death, and the inheritance of their estate by family and friends.
These records are abstracts of over 300 years of original probate documents created by the Anglican Church in the administration of a deceased estate and contain a varying amount of information, including:
Reference and type of original document
Date of Will being written
Date of Codicil/Inventory
Date of Probate/Grant
Occupation of the deceased
Residence of the deceased (parish and county)
Burial Place of the deceased
Name of executor, witnesses and beneficiaries (often family members like Spouse, children, siblings)
Occupations and residences of beneficiaries
Many of the indexes will abbreviate names, places or general terms. A glossary of abbreviations is available under Useful Links and Resources.
Probate is the legal right to deal with a deceased person’s estates; such as property, money and possessions. The index will explain what type of record is available. You will find ‘will’ if the individual created a will with his or her wishes for the estate. If a will was not created, you will find ‘administration’. A probate record was not created for every person who died, those with smaller estates often didn’t make one – the property was often divided up by agreement of the family.
Married women were unable to retain ownership and control their property until 1882. They could only create a will with their husband’s permission.
These Welsh probate abstracts can use the patronymic naming system. This system started in Wales in the 15th century through to the mid-18th century. It is the practice of using the father’s first name as the child’s surname. Usually, ‘ab’ or ‘ap’ is added between the child’s first name and the father’s first name. For example, William Ap David is William son of David.
The patronymic naming system can affect your genealogical research. We would recommend searching by your relative’s first name and birth year without the family’s surname. Then narrow your search from those results.
If you are having trouble finding your ancestor’s name try different spellings. Some of the indexes have abbreviated first names.
Read the Glossary of Probate Terms in the Useful Links and Resources for more spelling options.
Before 12 January 1858 wills were administered by the Church, and a complicated court system. The consistory court that dealt with the probate process may not be the parish that your ancestors lived in, try looking in the closest court location to your ancestors’ home, or the Anglican diocese that you know your family lived in.