Probate in England

Since finding dad’s father and researching his ancestors, I have found a couple of fairly recent probate records on Ancestry.

In 1950, dad’s grandmother passed away. Her name was Florence Emily Georgina Bray and this was her second marriage. In her first marriage with William Elvis Allen, who died in 1902, she had 3 children Frank, Ethel and William junior (dad’s father). Ethel died young, Frank never married and William was somewhere in Australia. In her second marriage to Frederick Edward Bray, who died in 1940, she had another 3 children Albert, Kathleen and Charles.

In her probate, she left everything to her daughter Kathleen.

But when her eldest son Frank (dad’s uncle) died in 1978, his probate was different. Both his parents were dead, his only sister was dead and his only brother William was dead, even though he might not have known that. William was a bigamist and when Frank came to Australia in 1930 it is not known if he found his brother who by then was in Tasmania under a different name.

Frank could have left his money to his half sister Kathleen and half brother Albert who were both still living. Instead this is what I have found on Ancestry.

Does this mean his money has gone to the UK Government coffers? I haven’t found any will just this probate notice under the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administration) 1858-1995.

Day 1 RootsTech 2022

Any links will take you directly to a recommended website.

My playlist is ready and I have now started checking out some sessions, series and keynotes. Some are of interest to me personally and others might be helpful information for those people I help at the local library doing their family history.

UK Ancestors on a budget by Karen Evans

Three sessions – first one about census

  • Irish census 1901 and 1911 can be found at the National Archives of Ireland.
  • English and Welsh returns for 1841-1911 found at Family Search. Scroll down the page to specify which collection you want to check by typing in England census then choose from the options.
  • England, Wales and Scotland records transcribed by volunteers at FreeCen. Note not all places have been transcribed.

Second session – BMD

Civil registration was different for each country.

  • England 1837 but compulsory only from 1875
  • Ireland from 1864 but non Catholic marriages from 1845
  • Scotland from 1855

Places to find civil and church records:

  • ScotlandsPeople – search for free but pay for documents at reasonable price – incudes both civil and church records
  • IrishGenealogy – has both civil records and church records
  • General Register Office – has index for BMD and you can order certificates here more cheaply than from a large database like Ancestry
  • FreeBMD – shows indexes for BMD – all volunteers
  • UKBMD – again a volunteer based group which shows parishes or counties looking at BMD in their area specifically. Also includes lists of counties with Online Parish Clerk websites (OPC). Also has one place studies and census info – so great site for lots of free information and indexes to use.
  • National Library Ireland – Catholic parish registers
  • Family search – lots of registers for particular counties and parishes. Find them through Records and narrow further with Collections
  • FreeReg – similar to FreeBMD and FreeCen – run by volunteers

Third session – hidden treasures

After having looked at the censuses and BMDs, where else can you look for information while on a budget?

  • Find a grave – often includes images, basic info on the person being searched and maybe family info as well
  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) – for those who have died in war – variety of ways to search
  • County councils – some councils have their own archives of things like dog licences, canal boats, gaols
  • GENUKI – great site, breaks down to country then county and parish and what records are available at each level
  • Cyndi’s list – world wide links to thousands of websites
  • Also check out specials and free trials of the big databases. Often family history societies and local libraries have more resources as well.
  • Help online from rootschat, facebook groups and other social media.

Latest DNA Painter releases by Jonny Perl

I love using some of the tools on DNA Painter especially What are the odds (WATO) and the shared cM page. But I have also tried to paint chromosome maps but have found it very tedious adding in one person at a time. But there are now ways to import more than one persons DNA chromosome segments which I might have to start using.

I also learnt about using phased kits at GEDmatch to import just my mum’s data or just my dad’s data. This makes it easier to work out if segments are maternal or paternal on the chromosome map when importing from GEDmatch cluster groups. (Tier 1)

Another new tool was looking at adding dimensions such as birth/death year on your family tree instead of just names. Also colour coding on family trees as well as on WATO.

Main stage events

Many of these sessions are very early in the morning in Australia so I will have to watch them at another time once the recordings are up on the website. But I did listen to Maysoon Zayid and Matthew Modine talking about their family history and how memories make connections through oral history as well as movies and photos.

I did look at some other sessions but will not be writing about them all.

I am disappointed though that I only have 13 relatives at RootsTech – maybe my relatives are not into family history as much as I am.

Readers: What were your takeaways from day 1 at RootsTech?

Researching English ancestors

Another great chat about researching English ancestors at #ANZAncestryTime

  1. What record sets have you found helpful for researching English ancestors?
  2. Have you visited any English record offices or repositories or used their online catalogues? Was this helpful?
  3. What websites, societies, books or course have you found useful for researching English ancestors?
  4. Has your research revealed why your ancestors or relatives left England?
fotobias / Pixabay

There were many record sets and websites mentioned:

GENUKI, FreeBMD. FreeCen, OPC (online parish clerks), The Genealogist, Family Search, National Archives,

Carmel mentioned the AJCP which gives links to record offices etc throughout England.

AncestryChat: Another awesome resource is: I often use this to find which parishes existed in a civil registration district.

Helen: I love that Cornwall OPC! It’s the best! It’s great to be able to douse the noise of the bigger search engines and easier to see patterns

Michelle: All the FreeBMD etc already mentioned. I use the GRO index a lot to find children born and died between censuses or to find maiden names. FS have a lot of Northumberland Parish Registers – some indexed, others you need to browse.

The Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is excellent, with a good online catalogue. But also, lots of local family history societies have research centres too, worth checking out.

Absolutely! #OnePlaceStudy websites haven’t helped me with my own ancestors, but from feedback I’ve received I know my own OPS site has helped others with theirs!

SOPs: FreeBMD; local BMD sites for Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire; GRO birth/death indexes; Lancashire OPC site; GENUKI; Find A Grave / Billion Graves; Google + Google Books/Images; Internet Archive; Hathi Trust; plus the big genie/newspaper/map websites.

Sharn: My Phillimore’s Atlas and Index of Parishes is an all time go to book. I always have it handy

ANZ: It’s been a research bible for years hasn’t it? Do you find yourself defaulting to a book rather than search online?

SOPs: For English ancestors and people in my #OneNameStudy and #OnePlaceStudy, primarily BMD indexes/records, parish registers, censuses, wills, military records, newspapers, county archive catalogues, MI records.

Jane: I use the Lancashire Online Parish Clerks quite a lot …

Maggie: I’ve done the Higher Cert through @TheIHGS which gave me a wonderful grounding for researching my English ancestors, plus some @PharosTutors courses. Useful books: Herber’s Ancestral Trails, plus all the Gibson guides.

Sandra: I did a pharos’ course once a very long time ago – but not sure how useful it was at the time, maybe might be better to do one now that I have more experience. I don’t have that many books on English research – google does it for me if I don’t know something

Pauline: Books: The National Archives (Colwell), Hertfordshire Muster Rolls, Hertfordshire Icknield Way, Tracing your family history in Herts (HALS), Hertfordshire Brewers, Tracing your northern Ancestors, Behind the Plough (Agar). journals and local history books

Hilary: Check out the local societies use GENUKI or Family Search Wiki many have websites or Facebook groups local knowledge is worth its weight

Tara: Any local FHS I’ve contacted has been helpful. I’ve an old copy of Ancestral Trails, which I found useful in the beginning (many sources mentioned are now online). But I’ve also got texts on Equity Courts and Title Deeds – more specialist/rarely used, even now

Sharn: Using Essex Archives online I took a branch of family back to the early 1500’s a few years ago! They were ahead of their time

Fran: Cousin and I found loads of interesting rental archives, real estate and rent records there. The turn around to get documents was fast too.

Sandra: I think they are the only ones that have the full parish registers on line (not just an index)

Shauna: always look for the family history society website for your county or research – they can be so helpful and often resources are online too

kropekk_pl / Pixabay

Visiting offices etc

SOPs: I have visited TNA plus county archives for Northamptonshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire, all of which were very helpful. Online catalogues with good descriptions have also helped enormously, Shropshire Archives’ in particular for me.

Fran: Walking in the footsteps of your ancestors is so important!!!

Pauleen: We all need time, more time…and more money for travel and accommodation!

Chronomarchie / Pixabay

Reasons for leaving??

Helen: I wondered about the climate thing when I was in Cornwall June 2017. Stood in front of my ancestors’ house on Marine Terrace, the Prom, Penzance – why would they ever leave somewhere so beautiful, overlooking Mount’s Bay. Winter was the answer!

Jenny: my Rich branch came from Bristol in 1858 chasing gold, Cordeaux from Yorkshire was in Commissariat in 1817, his future wife came from London with her brother in 1815 who was the 1st non convict govt appointed solicitor

SOPs: In the main it seems people in my family tree, one-name study or #OnePlaceStudy who left England did so for better employment/farming opportunities, or sometimes to make a fresh start after bankruptcy proceedings.

Margaret: My guess it was to have a better life – and they certainly did. Left Kent in 1839 and ended up owning a large house and lots of land in the Hutt. Difficult times at first as the first settlers, but they succeeded

Sharn: My two times great grandmother left England after her husband died. I don’t know what brought her here with her 10 year old son in 1860

Tara: One of my more colourful ancestors entered ministry, then joined up (WW1) and then was sent to minister in Kentucky, where he discovered jazz 🙂

Sharn: I had English ancestors who migrated to NZ as Albertlanders in 1862. Albertland was a non-conformist settlement

Jane: One or two transportees and others presumably looking for a better life. One family went to Australia because they already had relatives there and ended up looking for gold in Bendigo

Pauleen: It seems my Kent family may have left due to bankruptcy with their pub ownership plus opportunities for the family.

Jennifer: This is the big question I’d like answered. My 2 x great grandfather supposedly jumped ship in SA. He left a wife in England and married here so there’s questions around that.

Shauna: no nothing specific but I can see those from Cornwall would be looking for employment, better climate while those from the Black Country of the English midlands would want to get away from the smoke and grime

Sharn: I have been researching English ancestors who established patterns of county hopping to marry. I’ve found patterns of generations of this so now know to look over the border for missing persons

Blog posts:

Pauleen about her first migrants, Enclosure recordtithe records and maps

Readers: What English records have you found useful when researching English ancestors?