Wills Archives


NEW ON-LINE DATABASE OF KENT WILLS

 NEW ON LINE DATABASE OF KENT WILLS

The Society of Genealogists has received news of a new on-line wills database published by the Kent Archaeological Society

When antiquarian and historian Leland Lewis Duncan of the Kent Archaeological Society died in 1923 his lifetime’s work, including handwritten lists and transcriptions of Wills of Kent residents and landowners who lived in medieval and Tudor times, was deposited in the society’s library at Maidstone Museum.

For 80 years local and family historians could inspect this invaluable resource only by visiting the library. Now, a team of volunteers ‑ Margaret Broomfield, Dawn Weeks, Zena Bamping and Pat Tritton – is completing the task of transcribing Duncan’s records for the society’s website, from which they can be downloaded free of charge.

Duncan’s records were written in 61 exercise books and bound quarto books, most of which survive. Their 2,188 entries were originally indexed by parish by the Vicar of East Peckham in 1934.

The records are now on a database which has two indexes. One enables the surnames of testators to found and is convenient for family historians. The other, for the benefit of local historians, lists the areas, parishes or dioceses in which the testators lived or owned land.

The areas include boroughs which were once part of Kent but are now within Greater London.

Links alongside the entries allow any of the Wills that have been transcribed to be viewed ‘with one click’.

To access the Wills visit the Research section at www.kentarchaeology.org.uk

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News from the London Probate Office and updates to post 1858 wills online

I couldn’t attend the recent meeting of the users of the London Probate Registry at First Avenue House as I was teaching at the Society, so I am grateful to SoG Trustee Di Bouglas  for her report of the meeting. It can be read in full on her blog. It’s well worth reading this and her previous post on proposed developments to put the English and Welsh probate calendars online and to digitise SOME of the documents themselves.

 

Though not fully searchable across all years it seems the eventual online indexes will be free and ultimately up to date.  Finally there is the prospect of an online order facility. It’s clear the service is affected by having the Calendars finally and fully  searchable from 1858-1941 on Ancestry.co.uk. With no replacement for the current director of the London search room being appointed in the near future, no matter how the service tries to scotch rumours of its closure I find it difficult to believe the Probate Registry at First Avenue House will maintain a public search room for the foreseeable future

 

Else Churchill

Genealogist

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