The big news to hit the genealogy world recently is that Ancestry.co.uk have added over 1 million English and Welsh wills from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC).
Not everyone left a will, but those that did can be a goldmine of information, so it’s ALWAYS worth checking just in case there is one for your family ancestors.
The wills proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury represent the largest collection of pre-1858 wills for England and Wales and span five centuries.
Ancestry’s collection over 1 million wills which contains images as well as being indexes comes from the registers of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). The PCC, for the most part, handled probates from southern England and Wales, for individuals who owned property in both the Province of York and the Province of Canterbury, or those who died outside of England and Wales. Most of the wills in this collection will be for members of the middle and upper classes.
A will provides you with the name, date, and place for the testator, which is always important information. But they can also be a source for family relationships, providing names of spouses and children and sometimes even parents. They may also give some clues about the relationship between the testator and an heir in the instructions given or items bequeathed. You may learn something about an ancestor’s occupation, property, residence, and standard of living as well. And you should always make a note of the executor and witnesses to the will as well, as they might be family members or neighbors.
These records are available now to view on Ancestry.co.uk, so if you have an Ancestry UK subscription, or a Ancestry World subscription you’ll be able to view them.
Alternatively these records are available to search, and download for small fee from The National Archives.