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Pro­bate sources are one of the most po­ten­tially use­ful ar­eas for re­searchers in­ter­ested in 17th cen­tury ances­try. And so web­sites pro­vid­ing ac­cess to pre-1858 wills high­lighted in is­sue 128 will also come in handy here. These in­clude wills proved in Welsh Ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal courts ( llgc.org.uk/en/dis­cover/ nlw-re­sources/wills). There’s also the North East In­her­i­tance Database ( fam­i­lyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei/data/in­tro.php) cov­er­ing wills and re­lated doc­u­ments un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Dio­cese of Durham (im­ages of the records are avail­able through fam­il­y­search.org). The Scot­land­sPeo­ple guide to tes­ta­ments is at: scot­land­speo­ple.gov.uk/record-guides/wills-and-tes­ta­ments.

The So­ci­ety of Ge­neal­o­gists (SoG) has a host of unique re­sources, find­ing aids and rare vol­umes not avail­able else­where, so it’s worth ex­plor­ing SoGCAT or the mem­bers’ Data On­line area. There’s a guide to 17th and 18th cen­tury sources by the SoG’s own Else Churchill avail­able via this moth­balled sec­tion of BBC His­tory: bit.ly/17th­cen­tu­rysources.

Genuki and Rootsweb have all sorts of ma­te­rial re­lat­ing to spe­cific sources and re­gions. One ex­am­ple is this ‘in­dex of terms used in 17th and 18th cen­tury wills, in­ven­to­ries and other doc­u­ments’ ( freep­ages.ge­neal­ogy.rootsweb.ances­try.com/ ~ford­ing­ton­dorset/ Files/Glossary.html). Al­though the glossary re­lates to the Dorchester area, much of the in­for­ma­tion will be use­ful to all pro­bate re­searchers. An­other is this list of po­ten­tial sources for re­search in Ire­land ( freep­ages.ge­neal­ogy.rootsweb. ances­try.com/~iris­hances­tors/Add17.html).

Corn­wall On­line Parish Clerks ( corn­wall-opc- database.org/ ex­tra-searches) has a search­able database of protes­ta­tion re­turns from the county. You will find this via the ‘Ex­tra searches’ tab. There’s an equiv­a­lent database for Sus­sex at sus­sex-opc.org.

Other sites in­clude Vic­to­ria County His­tory ( vic­to­ri­a­coun­ty­his­tory. ac.uk), Earls Colne: Records of an Eng­lish Vil­lage 1375-1854 ( linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/ earlscolne//in­dex.htm), the Cause Papers Database ( hri­on­line. ac.uk/causep­a­pers), where you can search cases heard in the church courts be­tween 1300 and 1858 and and Ances­try’s UK, Poll Books and Elec­toral Reg­is­ters database is drawn from var­i­ous doc­u­ments record­ing names of vot­ers in elec­tions back to 1538 ( search.ances­try.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid= 2410).

Fi­nally, if you stum­ble upon an un­fa­mil­iar source, try the GenGuide web­site. This page ( genguide.co.uk/source/re­cu­santrolls- catholics/3), for ex­am­ple, de­scribes re­cu­sant rolls – list­ing peo­ple, mainly Ro­man Catholics, who re­fused to con­form to the Angli­can doc­trine.

Scot­land­sPeo­ple fea­tures a use­ful guide to tes­ta­ments in the coun­try

Use the Cause Papers Database to find cases heard in the church courts

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