Did your ancestor die at sea or abroad in the 18th century?
If so then he may be mentioned in the latest set of records to be added to the Society of Genealogists Members’ Area http://sog.frontisgroup.com/bin/aps_person_search.php
When a person died without making a will, a relative or creditor could apply for letters of Administration (or Admon). They become known as the Administrator or Administratrix of the estate, the latter often being the widow of the deceased.
Admons include the name, address and occupation of the deceased and administrator, along with the date and place of death and the relationship between them. The identity of beneficiaries is not noted, nor any details of how the estate is distributed.
Letters of administration could be granted in other cases, such as where a will is made but no executors are mentioned. Alternatively a testator might appoint executors who died before the testator or who “renounced” or refused to act in such capacity. In such cases the court granted letters of administration with “Will attached” or “Will annexed”.
The records that have been added to the Members Area are the Admons granted by The Prerogative Court of Canterbury for the period 1750-1800. They are particularly useful to family historians as the court had jurisdiction over the estates of those who died at sea or abroad.
Indeed a third of all the records relate to these 2 categories, reflecting the large number of sailors and soldiers killed in battle during this period (which included the Seven Years War with France (1754-1763), the American War of Independence (1775-1783) and the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802).
The serviceman’s dependents would have been entitled to pay or prize money owed to the deceased, and thus an admon may survive for a person who would not otherwise have appeared in probate records.
The Society is grateful to Anthony Camp and the team of dedicated volunteers (listed on the Members Area) who have made this valuable index available to researchers. The original documents can be consulted at the National Archives at Kew.
Non-members can carry out a free surname search on these records by going to http://sog.frontisgroup.com/bin/aps_person_search.php but to view any records found you will need to join the Society.
© 2010, Society of Genealogists. All rights reserved.
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