Cofnodion Profiant Cymru/Welsh Probate Records
Probate records are one of the basic building-blocks of genealogical research. They can identify, or disprove, familial relationships. They can also give you a sense of the standard of living your ancestor experienced. Those searching for their roots in Wales have an exciting tool to help them with their research. Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/The National Library of Wales (LGC/NLW) has digitized and indexed the probate records of Wales and made them available online.
Probate records in Wales, like those in England, can be separated into two time period: pre- and post-1858. Until January 12, 1858, the task of proving wills and granting letters of administration was the province of the ecclesiastical courts.
The consistory courts of St. Asaph, Bangor, St. Davidsand Llandaff are on deposit at the library. Also there are the consistory court of the archdeaconry of Brecon, the peculiar of Hawarden, and the consistory court of Chester. All but fifteen border parishes in Wales can be found in the collection. Seventeen English parishes that feel under the jurisdiction of the Welsh courts can also be found here. The records of the fifteen border parishes can be found at the Herefordshire Record Office or the Lichfield Record Office in Staffordshire.
Estates of individuals who owned property in multiple jurisdictions were probated at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Those records are available on the National Archives website. The jurisdictions of ecclesiastical courts did always follow county boundaries. This can make it difficult to records of your ancestors. The LGC/NLW website has a finding aid to assist you to better understand these records and their organization.
Starting January 12, 1858, jurisdiction over probate matters was transferred to a new system of civil probate registries. The principle registry was located in London, with a network of local registries throughout England and Wales. The five registries with jurisdiction in Wales are St. Asaph, Bangor, Carmarthen, Llandaff, and Hereford. The collection covers records of the will copy books from 1858 through 1941, when wills were no longer copied. The LGC/NLW collections include records for all of Wales except for Montgomeryshire. Those were probated at Shrewsbury, and can be found at the Shropshire Record Office. There is a finding aid on the LGC/NLW website to help you understand this time period better.
The new index allows you to search across jurisdictions, making it easier to locate appropriate records. You can search a date range by entering start and end years. Remember to click save before you search! You can select a single diocese, or search on all dioceses. You can search on up to four field, including person’s name, parish, township, or occupation.
The results page shows a summary of the information in each record. This includes the name of the person, the record type, year, parish, and the collection it is found in. If you are actually in the library, you can request to see the original by clicking the Request button. Digital images can be viewed online. If you wish to obtain a digital copy to save on your computer, one can be purchased for £3.50. Check out the search and see how many ancestors you can find.