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Finding a Will

Discussion in 'Wills and probate' started by Carla, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Carla

    Carla LostCousins Star

    This forum heading caught my eye so off i wandered (like you do) to see how easy it is to find the will of one of my ancestors!! It was actually pretty simple....once i found someone who had a will. I typed 'Wills' into Google and up popped various suggestions and links. I did try the National Archives web site but the easiest one to use was at Ancestry where i typed in the name

    Henry Luter

    and got this :)

    Name: Henry Luter
    Probate Date: 11 Feb 1910
    Death Date: 17 Jan 1901
    Death Place: Wiltshire, England
    London, England

    When i viewed the original image i found out Henry had left the princely sum of £39 to his widow. i then spent a very fine 10 minutes trying to find out how much £39 in 1901 was worth today, ha ha. How easy it is to get side tracked!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2015
    • Misleading Misleading x 1
  2. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    The Bank of England Calculator is quite useful for this it gives you UK inflation from 1750 onwards and converts to today's money. Enter the amount, enter the year and you see how much it's worth.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2015
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  3. Katie Bee

    Katie Bee LostCousins Member

    I have just found out that my great grandfather who was fined £2 in 1884 for poaching rabbits would have had to pay £210 today.
    The calculator is book marked, thanks.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2015
  4. GrahamSimons

    GrahamSimons Member

    There is a really helpful podcast on the National Archives website about probate records for family history.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  5. pjd

    pjd LostCousins Star

    There is an app for iphones called Old Money - a currency converter published by the National Archives. I tried the example above ie £2 in 1884 & the answer was £96.62 so be wary of putting too much store by the figures!
  6. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    The Bank of England calculator also has tables you can use to check the figures and prove their website is right. The fact that the iPhone App you mention is buggy and doesn't work properly doesn't invalidate the figures.
  7. pjd

    pjd LostCousins Star

    Yes I agree the Bank of England figures are more reliable, was just letting folk know about another source
  8. AndyMick

    AndyMick LostCousins Star

    I seem to recall that The National Archives have such calculators - but the conversion value varies depending on what you use to compare values.
  9. SuzanneD

    SuzanneD LostCousins Star

    That's right - the result depends if you compare wages (how much did a labourer get paid in a week then compared to now?) or prices (how much did a pint of milk cost then and now?). Those two things don't have exactly the same inflation rate over time and so you can legitimately get different answers.

    I tend to use the wages-based comparison for comparing larger sums of money (such as wills) and price-based comparisons for smaller things like court fines.
    • Good tip Good tip x 2
  10. sheelak

    sheelak LostCousins Member

    I followed the link in the first item in this thread from Carla (www. ancestry.co.uk/wills) but only got a message that this web page was no longer available. I therefore went into Ancestry and found it very difficult to find my way to wills and probate. Then having tried several surnames in my family tree I did manage to find one although, unfortunately, not on the same immediate branch as me. Do others find that very few ancestors wrote wills? I have a fair smattering of ag labs and paupers but I also have shoemakers, blacksmiths, butchers and masons so I would have thought that more than one of them would have made a will. Actually, this one was letters of administration so no will. By the way, this ancestor died in 1839 but the grant was dated 1871 to a daughter.
  11. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I've corrected the link in Carla's post which had become out of date (this is one of the reasons why the URL should normally be hidden behind the name of the website - moderators can update the links without an visible change in the post.)
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 2
  12. Carla

    Carla LostCousins Star

    Sorry Peter.....:oops:...I am getting better at this!! :D
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  13. Britjan

    Britjan LostCousins Star

    I was surprised to find recently that a distant family branch on a Mundia tree was developed solely on the basis of wills/probate. There were perfectly good census and even free bmd entries to record so I found it odd as the family had pretty much stayed put. To me finding and checking probate is most useful when a probable distant "relative" has moved since the last census or dies in an unexpected location. Certainly it's a great cradle to grave resource for my more immediate family tree and I am interested in other forum member's experiences.
  14. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    I haven't made much use of wills/probate but have had some happy findings on free-to-view view wills where the testator has listed his children. In a couple of cases this has confirmed my tentative identification of a possible child (e.g christened in 'wrong' church) or provided a married name for a daughter.
  15. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    I find the Probate records a very good source of info.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Fern49

    Fern49 LostCousins Star

    I am reluctant to access the Wills where available, those that are under 100 years old, I feel as though I am 'spying'. Anyone else feel like this?.
  17. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    I know what you mean, but it is out there and available, and we are a curious lot;)
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    Wills are very useful for finding out family members in pre-1837 days. Right now I have a rather curious one, where the lady in question, my 5xgreat-grandmother, stresses more than once that her only grandchildren are William, Thomas and Susan, children of her daughter Mary, and Thomas, son of her daughter Elizabeth. However, in fact, Elizabeth's son Thomas had 5 siblings, and there was another daughter Frances who had 7 children. Was there a big family row so they all got disowned, or did they all die before her? So far I haven't been able to find the children's deaths, but what a tragedy if all of Frances's 7 really did die before their grandmother. I still have a lot of searching to do.
  19. JudyW

    JudyW New Member

    • Thanks! Thanks! x 3
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  20. dirk112

    dirk112 LostCousins Member

    I've used the Probate Calendars to help tie up a multitude of loose ends.

    I've confirmed deaths, marriages and children as well as finding out where they were living when they died. Very occasionally, I even had a look at what they were worth!

    But on a serious note, I discovered a will for my 2 x Gt Grandfather in 1869 which not only showed where the 'Family Fortune' had come from, but explained why I couldn't find his wife and daughter in 1871 and how the family ended up as they did in the late 1800's early 1900's. A well spent £6 from the Probate Office.

    Always say 'You never know'
    • Agree Agree x 2

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