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Wills & Probate

© 2014 Sherwo0d One Name Group

Many lower value wills are usually deposited in Diocesan Record Offices where they may be indexed locally – there is no National Index as yet. We hold a small collection of Wills & Administrations for a number of counties, but would welcome any that you may have copied or abstracted, including those from Overseas. Please e-mail through the webmaster address on the contacts page.


From 1858 there is a National Probate Calendar for England & Wales which gives details such as date of death, addresses & value of Estate. Only a small proportion of those who died were wealthy enough to leave a Will until after 1900, when the proportion rises.


In 2010 Ancestry.co.uk put an index to these Calendars from 1861 to 1941 online, linked to page images. They can be searched at:

http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/ db.aspx? dbid=1904


In 2014 a new free on-line ‘Find a Will’ service was made available from GOV.UK at: https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills


In 2015 Ancestry.co.uk put the Scotland, National Probate Index

(Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories), 1876-1936 on line.

This collection includes an index and images to the annually published Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories filed in Scotland for the years 1876–1936. In Scotland, probate records are called confirmations and they include a testament and an inventory of the estate. The testament is the court record ordering distribution of the deceased’s estate. Some included wills (testament testamentar) and some did not (testament dative), the latter being more common.

Not everyone filed testaments, as many chose to skirt the courts and just settle the moveable property within the family. The wealthy were more likely to have filed, simply because they had more property to distribute. There are fifteen Sherwoods on this index.


In England and Wales before 1858, Wills were proved in various levels of Church Courts, with the two highest being the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) and the Prerogative Court of York (PCY) – these may be searched on The National Archives web site.


As a service to members of the group, Phil placed an Excel file index to over a thousand Sherwoods & variants in the Member's Area.