''[[England]] [[ Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[ Cheshire]] ''
== Getting Started ==
''Probate'' is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Probate records include [[W genealogical glossary terms|wills]] and [[A genealogical glossary terms|administrations]]. This article is about probate records in Cheshire.
For a general description of England probate records , click [[England Probate Records|here]].
=== 1858 to the Present ===
Beginning in 1858, the [[Principal Probate Registry|Principal Probate Registry]] had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.
=== Before 1858 ===
1. First search each index (see listed below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the index entry such as the year (or date of the will or admon), the page or folio number and town or parish listed:
a comprehensive and county-wide [http:// www. cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/ council_services/ record_office/catalogues_and_indexes/wills.aspx '''Wills index'''] compiled by the Cheshire Record Office. This index covers the years 1492-1940 and contains 130,000 entries. It covers probate documents proved at Chester mainly for the County of Cheshire. *The following Website specifically covers the parishes of Disley, Lyme Handley; Taxal & Whaley in Cheshire: [http://www.disley.net '''http://www.disley.net'''] *A new and comprehensive [http:// search.labs.familysearch.org /recordsearch/start. html#p=collectionDetails;c=1589492 '''Probate Index for Cheshire'''] is now available at Labs.FamilySearch
*The original will indexes for the [[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] for 1545-1858 are available in print by both the Lancashire & Cheshire Record Society and the Chetham Society. These two large publication series cover both Cheshire and Lancashire counties. They are available at many major archives in the United Kingdom such as at the British Library, and Guildhall Library, London, and other like institutions. The Family History Library likewise has most of these printed indexes in book form and/or on microfilm (see below).
*Original handwritten indexes and calendars to the Probate Acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons)
exist from 1492-1857 , were created as the probate records were filed , and found with the records (see below). * Will (and admon) Calendars are a kind of index ( arranged by the first letter of each surname) to the probate records and admons (administrations).
2. Click on the court name (Court of the Bishop of Chester [Episcopal Consistory] below) to learn more about the records.
3. Accessibility to the records:
*Contact or visit the [http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure_and_culture/record_office.aspx Cheshire Record Office], ''OR'' you may use their [http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure,_culture_and_tourism/record_office/research_service.aspx research service] to obtain a copy of a record. *The [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp Family History Library ] has microfilm copies of original Cheshire probate records, indexes and calendars for 1492-1858. *You can visit the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp Family History Library], or one of its 4,500 satellite [ http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp family history centers] worldwide, and obtain a copy of the probate record from microfilm. To determine film numbers go to the [ http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp Family History Library Catalog], and click "Place", and then type 'Cheshire' and click on Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes'. In particular, see: [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=821001 &disp= Original+wills%2C+bonds%2C+and+inventori%20%20&columns=*,0,0 Original wills, bonds, and inventories for Chester only, 1492-1858 ]
From an index, did you find a reference to a probate record?
*If ''yes'', go to '''Step 3''' above. *If ''no'', go to '''Step
==== Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died ====
Determine ''when'' your ancestor died. If you
aren't sure, use an approximate date. Determine ''where'' your ancestor died. It is easier to find a probate record if you know whether the place where your ancestor lived or died is a [[P genealogical glossary terms|parish]]. To learn whether it is a parish, look it up in a gazetteer. Here is a link to the 1872 ''Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales'' online:
*[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp Vision of Britain]
The gazetteer will either tell you:
If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
Once you have identified the parish, go to '''Step 3'''.
==== Step 3. Cheshire's court jurisdiction ====
The whole palatine County of Chester or Cheshire , after 1540 was in the boundaries and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of t he Diocese of Chester. ==
Before 1858, all of Cheshire was under the primary probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Cheshire. Secondary courts are also listed in the table below. When looking for the will of an ancestor in Cheshire, search the courts in the order given. Search indexes first.
*[[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] *[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]]
*[[Court of the Chancery of the Archbishop of York]][[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]]
==== Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record ====
*Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
*Visit the [
http://www.familysearch.org/ eng/library/FHL/frameset_library.asp Family History Library] or a [ http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp family history center] and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below. <br>
== Cheshire Probate Courts ==
Here is a list of the pre-1858 ecclesiastical courts that had
some probate jurisdiction over Cheshire. The whole of Cheshire was under the jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory). Click on a court name to learn more about records.
*[[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]]
*[[Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York]]
*[[Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York]]
*[[Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York]][[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury|<br>]]*[[Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury]] == Some Explanatory Notes on the Cheshire Courts ==
1. Cheshire had no peculiar court jurisdictions in the county. There are several higher probate court jurisdictions which hold concurrent jurisdiction over Chesire. To identify and learn about these courts and their records, click on the "Cheshire Probate Courts" links above.
2. The [[Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)]] was sub-divided into basically two courts--a higher or what is termed, a "Supra" court and, a lower or "Infra" court. A majority of Cheshire wills and admons were probated in the "Infra" court.