Sunday, 27 October 2013

London probate service moves

The Principal Probate Registry searchroom in London has moved from First Avenue House, to the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. Audrey Collins has blogged an update on this at - it seems that the search room terminals will not be up and running for a couple of weeks, but postal enquiries will not be affected.

I first heard of this a couple of days ago from the LinkedIn based UK Professional Researchers in Genealogy, Family & Local History LinkedIn group, thanks to a post from Diana Bouglas (of Geoff Swinfield Genealogical Services). I've not ever visited the service in London, and in the conversation Diana mentioned two computer services available at the facility - Willfinder and Probateman. Querying whether these were names for some kind of genealogical superheroes (!), I asked Diana to clarify what they both did exactly. I was informed that Willfinder has incomplete coverage back to about 1920 (apparently it's about 80% complete, at an optimistic guess), whereas Probateman covers every grant issued from 1996. Diana also mentioned that there is currently no other way of finding post-1996 grants outside the Leeds postal service. useful to know if I ever manage to get along to the unit! Incidentally this is for England and Wales only (Scottish wills are at the NRS in Edinburgh, and Northern Irish at PRONI)

(With thanks to both Audrey and Diana)


My latest book, Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records, is now available from (print) and (ebook), whilst Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet is available at My next Pharos Scottish course, Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs, starts Nov 13th - see

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