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Details of wills drawn up during the 20th century can now be explored on the web thanks to an update to a major online set of records
Family historians searching for more information about the lives of generations of their ancestors can now explore a collection of probate data on the web.
The set of records, available at www.ancestry.co.uk, spans the years from 1942 to 1966 and forms part of the site's England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858 – 1966. All of the entries can be searched by details including name, date and location of death, and keyword, and the documents also include information about how much money was bequeathed, who administered the estate and the names of the recipients.
The online dataset also features details of the final wishes of some notable historical figures, including Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill and author Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell. Yet it is the opportunity to discover more about the lives - and deaths - of millions of less well-known people across the course of more than a century that promises to prove the biggest draw for family historians.
“These new records give fascinating insight into the final estates of some of Britain’s most recognisable faces and reveal that money and fame did not always go hand in hand,” says Ancestry.co.uk's UK content manager, Miriam Silverman. “They also provide a rich source of information for anybody interested in uncovering the finer details of their ancestor’s finances and exactly what, if anything, they decided to leave and to whom.”