Thursday, 20 August 2015

FindmyPast has English and Welsh probate calendars 1858-1959

Thanks to David Underdown (@DavidUnderdown9) for the tip off via Twitter that FindmyPast ( has added the English and Welsh probate calendars from 1859-1958 to its site, in a database entitled Probate Calendars Of England & Wales 1858-1959. A searchable version is available at, whilst a browse only version is accessible at

Upon an initial play with the collection it's not perhaps quite as user friendly as its equivalent on Ancestry (which extends slightly further up to 1966), in that for surnames it asks for the first letter only. When I type in a search for a family member I know had an admon granted in 1922, David John McFarlane, by using M for the surname and David John for the forename, I get 21 hits that I have to check. A search using the full name McFarlane does not work (in the surname field). On Ancestry, when I type in David John McFarlane for the search terms, it pops up straight away.

The calendar records are also freely available on, with much more of them (essentially up to the present day), considerably more search fields available (e.g. date of death), and from where you can also order copies of the original wills and admons. But at least it is useful to see another presentation of the collection online.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit


  1. Chris – if you search for "Mcfarlane David John" using the full text search option, you get one hit, and its for 1922. This search option is really useful, as it means you can search for the names of those to whom probate was granted, not just the names of the deceased. You can also search for place names.


  2. I think my point is that the user expectation is to put the surname in the err... surname field! The search by a first letter option is spectacularly useless, imho.

  3. only lets us enter an exact date for deaths in or after 1996. For historical research (the second tab on the search page) there are no advanced options. But I spent a huge amount of time searching the hard-copy volumes before the Internet existed, so I'm not complaining - just making an observation. :-)