Abstracts of Herefordshire Probate Records
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- Name of Testator
- Parish, or Place of Residence (if available)
- Date of Probate (or of writing the Will if you don't have a date of Probate)
- Where Probate was granted (the Court at which the Will was proved)
- Occupation (or status - eg yeoman, widow)
- A list of Beneficiaries, with relationships to the deceased (if stated)
- Names of any Witnesses, Trustees, Sponsors, Overseers, &c.
- Any other information you feel is of interest.
Leslie Mahler, who emailed me its very first entry, in the hope that it would be useful to someone. One of its purposes could be to assist in locating those hard-to-find female lines. Perhaps a father's Will may be the ONLY indication of parentage for a married daughter, when a baptism, or even her marriage, goes unrecorded. Or else you may be interested simply in extending your Family History, in the broadest sense, in learning which families were related, or how far some people travelled. An example of the former is the Will of William BROOMHEAD, dated 1813 in which he names his married daughter Sarah, wife of William WILD. I had been unable to trace any recorded baptism for Sarah, so if it weren't for her father's Will, I would never have known her parents. An example of the latter is in Jacob BAGSHAW's Will, dated 1785. He was a bachelor, but his Will names a lot of relatives, some of whom moved to London. If you were researching BAGSHAW from the London end, the Will may provide the very information you are looking for - telling you where the family you are researching came from! The format I've adopted for the Wills collection as a whole, is :- SURNAME, forename - residence and occupation, date the Will was WRITTEN (when known) followed by date of DEATH, again if known. Following this is a list of benefactors, and those mentioned in the Will, with Witnesses, Appraisers of Inventory, &c. The date of PROBATE comes at the end. In probably 99% of cases in our collection, the Will has been written just a short while before death and probate. There is one case however, where it was 20+ years before, and plenty of examples where the Will has been made and a benefactor, or executor has died before the Will has been proved. So whilst on the fact of it a date of when a Will was written would appear to be meaningless, it could help pinpoint dates between which other events could have taken place.
Our Virtual “Bouquets”
What our contributors have said about this project,
and other useful snippets.
"Look forward to seeing your Herefordshire Wills page grow."
[JW, 24 January 2001]
"Your list is one of the best tools around for HEF research
pre-1700. Keep it alive!"
[DM, UK, September 2002]
"Well done, Rosemary, did you work all night?? ...
Thank you so much for your help."
[BAC, UK, September 2002]
"Thank you for providing this service."
[M&AV, New Zealand, May 2003]
"Many thanks for recently inserting the Will I forwarded of ...
I have already received an enquiry thru it."
[CL, Australia, August 2003]
"Would it be ok to forward these to you as attachments in plain text,
following the format which you use on your wonderful site, or would Word for
Windows be acceptable?"
[MM, UK, October 2003]
To which Rosemary replied that a plain text attachment will do nicely, and is in fact the form she prefers! :)
"Having just discovered your wonderful Herefordshire wills site, I am sending
the abstract of this will which was a little gold mine for me. Maybe it
will shed a ray of light for someone else..."
[MR, Australia, February 2004]
"Its good to see that so many others have contributed.
If nothing else, the records I've submitted will show some interesting
[LM, USA, March 2004]
"...congrats on a great job you are doing and Merry Xmas!"
[CL, Australia, December 2004]
"I found your website by chance but think it a very good idea and likely to
be very useful. Here is a contribution."
[CC, UK, April 2005]
"You probably know that only an estimated 20% of the population left wills."
[LW, USA, September 2005]
"Congratulations on your wonderful site!"
[RW, UK, April 2006]
"This isn't a will, but I've sent it anyway because I don't know if you also
have admins on your site or not ... I hope this is helpful to you."
[SL, Australia, July 2006]
To which Rosemary replied that she was very grateful for the details, and yes, we do also collect Administrations, as they can be a rich source for indentifying relatives. :)
"You and GENUKI were mentioned as being wonderfully useful this
morning at our Wills Group (Drs JC & SP of the Victoria
County History Project) so I thought I'd write and tell you!"
[PW, UK, March 2007]
"‘Ghostly father” ...means 'spiritual father',
that is, the parish priest - the man to whom the testator would have
gone for confession and absolution."
[MF, UK, May 2007]
"When I visit GENUKI Herefordshire, I can always count on seeing
updates...I only wish more of the folks involved could be as dedicated as you.
I sure do *appreciate*...!"
'Teena', USA, July 2007]
"Your website produces enquiries addressed to me from time to
time so people clearly find it useful."
[MF, UK, May 2009]
"... keep up the great work. It is greatly appreciated !!"
[CL, Australia, October 2009]