News from the National Library of Wales – 190,000 Welsh Wills Online
The National Library of Wales has good news for family historians, social historians … and the inquisitive! Over 190,000 Welsh wills (some 800,000 pages) have been digitised and are now available on the Library’s website or direct on our online catalogue and are free to view.
Wills which were proved in the Welsh ecclesiastical courts before the introduction of Civil Probate on 11 January 1858 have long been deposited at The National Library of Wales. An online index and an opportunity to view digital images of these wills within the Library building has been available for sometime, however, remote users are now also be able to view the digital images.
Amongst the collection is the will of Twm Siôn Cati alias Thomas Johnes, Fountaine Gate, Caron (SD1609-20), this year being the 400th anniversary of his death. The will of Howell Harris, the famous Welsh religious reformer can also be seen (BR1773-51).
As well as being a fabulous source of information the National Library’s online wills offer the ability to view all 193,000 wills free of charge, a service few other similar institutions are able to offer. Whilst most institutions charge readers to view their documents, the Library only charges for providing copies of them.
In addition to the images of the Welsh wills anyone can request a printed copy of any will by completing the online enquiry form quoting the reference number of the will e.g. BR1773-51.
The covering dates of the surviving probate records are available for the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions:
Bangor: 1635 – 1858
Brecon: 1543 – 1858
Chester (Welsh wills): 1557 – 1858
Hawarden: 1554 – 1858
Llandaf: 1568 – 1857
St Asaph: 1565 – 1857
St David’s: 1556 – 1858
At the moment no digital images are available for Hawarden, Brecon or St Asaph pre 1660.
The Society of Genealogists Library has long held printed indexs to the Welsh wills proved in many of the Welsh Courts and the indexes are listed on the SoG website website and library catalogue.
This online resource from the National Library of Wales will suplement the references in these indexs.
A link to the National Library of Wales website http://cat.llgc.org.uk/cgi-bin/gw/chameleon?skin=profeb&lng=en