Ancestry adds probate records from Hampshire
Almost 100,000 pre-1858 Hampshire probate records are now exclusively available on Ancestry
Family history website Ancestry has added a new collection of 95,154 will and probate records that were created in Hampshire.
In December 2021, Ancestry and Hampshire County Council announced a partnership in which the company would digitise the county’s historic records. The collection is the first record set resulting from that relationship.
It contains probate records such as wills, inventories and administrations, and covers the years 1398–1858.
Until the introduction of a civil Court of Probate in 1858, wills in England and Wales were proved in the church courts, which were organised in a hierarchy. The most powerful were the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, covering the south of England and Wales, and the Prerogative Court of York, which covered the north of England.
Although the Prerogative Court of Canterbury’s records are available on The National Archives’ website, this is a rare digitisation of probate records from lower courts, in this case the church courts of the Winchester Diocese.
The collection includes the original documents, which are held at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies. One example is the will of botanist and physician John Goodyer, who died in 1664 in Buriton and left all of his botanical books to Magdalen College, Oxford.
Rosemary Collins is the features editor for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine