Court of the Archdeaconry of Essex

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Return to the Essex Probate Records page.

Step By Step [edit | edit source]

1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will or administration (admon), writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to "Records" (below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit the Essex County Record Office or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
4. Visit The Family History Library or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes to probate records; then with the information obtained from the index[es] you can search more quickly the original wills and admons also on microfilm via any centers near you.

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There are no indexes on microfilm for the years 1718-1858 for the Archdeaconry Court of Essex. See the above general countywide index online (see "online Indexes) or available through the Family History Library's (see "Printed Indexes) many family history centers worldwide for an index to this court.
To view a list of parishes and their respective probate court jurisdiction, see the "Essex Parishes Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" on the main page for Essex Probate Records.
The Archdeaconry Court of Essex probate records are well-covered with the following indexes:

Online Indexes
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A general will index for Essex County is available online. This single index consolidates just about all Essex county wills of the various probate court jurisdictions into one database.

  • 1505-1916 - Essex Wills Beneficiaries Index, 1505-1916, online at findmypast. Includes Bishop of London's Commissary Court (Essex & Hertfordshire), Archdeaconry Court of Colchester, Archdeaconry Court of Essex, Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex (Essex & Hertfordshire), Peculiar Court of Deanery of Bocking, Peculiar Court of Good Easter, Peculiar Court of the Sokens, Peculiar Court of Writtle with Roxwell.

Printed and Published Indexes
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The Essex County Record Office compiled and published a complete surname index covering wills and administrations from eight Essex County probate courts including this court.

  • Emmison, F. G., ed.  [Index to] Wills at Chelmsford

The following indexes are handwritten:

Calendars to the Probate Acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons) exist from 1400-1858. Calendars are a kind of index to the day to day probate court procedures in which wills and admons (administrations) were processed.

In addition to the calendars, a majority of the original (unregistered) wills and the registered wills are alphabetically arranged at the Record Office and are likewise organized on the microfilmed probates for this court at the Family History Library. Visit the Essex County Archives or the

FamilySearch Catalog's "Place Search" and type in "Essex", [England]; then click on "Probate Records - Indexes" to determine availability of probate indexes.

The following indexes are microfilmed at the Family History Library:

The majority of the original (unregistered) and registered Essex wills are alphabetically arranged at the Record Office and are likewise organized on the microfilmed probates for this court at the Family History Library. Visit the Essex County  Archives. Original (Unregistered) Wills and Registered Wills as well as extant indexes for this court are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library and may be circulated to any one of its satellite Family History Centers (see Court of the Archdeaconry of Essex). View FamilySearch Catalog page online under "Essex - Probate Records", [England] to determine availability of records.

Also the following Calendars (first-letter-of-surname index) of Wills and Administration Acts are divided into four calendar books, all alpha-arranged:

In addition to the general index above, most of the filmed wills and other probate records also contain separate indexes.

Records [edit | edit source]

Archive Location[edit | edit source]

Probate records of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Essex were once held in the Chelmsford Cathedral Registry. After the setup of civil courts by act of Parliament in 1858, they were removed to Somerset House, London in 1858. In 1958, almost all of Essex wills were transferred back to Chelmsford to the County Hall, where they reside today.

These records date from 1400 to 1858 and cover 140 parishes in Essex. You can view each parish name and determine the probate jurisdiction for each one by clicking [here].

Essex Record Office
Archives & Museums
Wharf Road
Chelmsford CM12 6YT
Telephone (01245) 244644

Website: Essex County Record Office

Archive Records[edit | edit source]

Add information about the manuscript, printed and digital records in this location.

Registered Wills 1420-1858 (indexes precede wills)
Original Wills
Original Wills (unindexed) 1400-1637
Act Books (Indexes mostly at end of each Act Book for the preceding entries. Act Books are often in Latin and in chronological order 1558-1858)

Family History Library Records[edit | edit source]

Calendars of Wills & Administrations (admons) 1400-1858
Registered Wills 1420-1858 (indexes precede wills)
Original Wills (unindexed) 1400-1637
Act Books 1720-1857
Volumes (wills) 1558-1720

For determining the Family History Library's microfilmed collection of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Essex so that you can view these records at any of its 4,500 family history centers worldwide, see the FamilySearch Catalog entry for this court.