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Tip of the day...Bibles and wills

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Jilliflower

Jilliflower Report 28 Oct 2009 09:25

Another good tip uncle Jonesey,
I am still crying over two family bibles:
My mother bought a huge Victorian Bible and to my horror the "family" page had been ripped out a) destroying all the info and
b) destroying the value of the Bible.
Also a great aunt in Canada had thrown out the family Bible "because it smelt!" and it has taken me hours to research the family when I could have had it on a plate!
As the good Book says "no rest for the wicked!"

SO you have now inspired me again to fill in the family details in MY Bible.
Thanks
Jill

SueMaid

SueMaid Report 28 Oct 2009 08:38

I am finding your "tip of the day" very informative. Thank you.

Sue

Jonesey

Jonesey Report 28 Oct 2009 08:30

Apart from census and birth, marriage and death certificates other records exist which can tell you a great deal about your ancestors.

The first of these is a Family bible. During the 1800’s and probably before, family bibles were treasured possessions and apart from getting the good word from them people used them as a place to record events (Births, Marriages ect) in their families lives. Those who were literate often wrote the details of the event on the flyleaf. Bibles were often passed down through the generations. Although in today’s secular society the tradition seems to have died out you may find that someone in your family still has great aunt Agatha’s bible which they either inherited or found when clearing out her house after she had passed away. It is certainly worth asking your relatives just in case.


The second important potential source of information is a will. It is estimated that two thirds of people leave a will. Contained within a will you can discover a great deal of information about children (Born on both sides of the blanket) and sometimes an insight into the kind of relationship that the deceased had with some of his relations. You may discover clues about ancestors that you did not know about or a lot more about those that you did.

Copies of wills are relatively easy and cheap to obtain. Where to look for them will depend on when and to some extent where your ancestor died. The most critical “When” is before or after 1858.

Before 12/1/1858 the wills of those living in the southern part of Britain were proven at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Copies are held at the National Archive and if you can find your ancestors will in the index you can download a copy to your computer for just £3.50.

After that date copies are held at the Court of Probate and copies of the calendars (Registers) can be viewed free in London and a copy of the will itself can be obtained by post for just £5.00. These links will explain more:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/familyhistory/wills/?WT.hp=Wills

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/1226.htm

Just a word however about what you will get. Earlier wills are likely to be handwritten in Old English Secretarial Script which is not very easy to read. The will may contain words and phrases with which you are unfamiliar but if you persevere I am sure that you will get the gist of things.

Good hunting.