What are wills, and how can they be used for family and local history research? How can you interpret them and get as much insight from them as possible? They are key documents for exploring the lives of our ancestors, their circumstances, and the world they knew. This practical handbook is the essential guide to understanding them.
Wills expert Stuart Raymond traces the history and purpose of probate records and guides readers through the many pitfalls and possibilities these fascinating documents present. He describes the process of probate, gives a detailed account of the content of the various different types of record, and advises readers on how they can be used to throw light into the past. They offer factual evidence that no genealogist or local historian can afford to ignore.
In a series of concise, fact-filled chapters he explains how wills came into being, who made them and how they were made, how the probate system operates, how wills and inventories can be found, and how much can be learned from them. In addition to covering probate records in England and Wales, he includes the Channel Islands, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland.
This introduction is aimed primarily at family historians who are interested in the wills of particular individuals – who are seeking proof of descent – and local historians who are interested in the wealth of local historical information that can be gathered from them.
The book contains everything you will need to know about wills and inheritance records and although it does concentrate on the English system (radically different from the Scottish one) there are references to Scotland, Ireland,... [read full review]Journal of Glasgow and West Scotland Family History Society
Wills have received increasing attention in recent years as a resource for family historians, aided by online date such as the National Wills Index and Ancestry’s digitisation of the National Probate Calendar. However, there are... [read full review]Your Family Tree, April 2013
The author explains how wills were made and who made them, how the probate system operated and how wills and inventories can be found. In addition to recovering probate records in England and Wales, he... [read full review]West Surrey FHS Journal
In a series of concise, fact-filled chapters he explains how wills came into being, who made them and how they were made, how the probate system operated, how wills and inventories can be found, and... [read full review]Kent FHS Journal
The writing is clear and concise, with many examples of wills from many different parts of England and Wales.
This one is of the high standard we have come to expect from his hand.... [read full review]Federation of Family History Societies, Ann Gynes
Equally excellent is sometime FT contributor Stuart Raymond’s fact-packed guide to wills and other probate records. Learn about the history and purpose of wills, how to locate your ancestors’ wills, how to understand them and... [read full review]Family Tree, January 2013
This is a review of sorts - the problem being that the book I'm featuring is one that I haven't finished yet! However, I am so impressed with what I've trawled through already that I... [read full review]Chris Paton, British Genes Blog
Featuring chapters and heading with straightforward names such as “What can I find in a will?”, Stuart Raymond’s latest book proves to be both easy to navigate and comprehensive.
Whether it is information about... [read full review]Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, Christmas 2012
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About Stuart A. Raymond
Stuart Raymond is a genealogical bibliographer, publisher and bookseller, an experienced family historian, and an expert on the history of wills and other probate records. He is also a prolific author of genealogical handbooks, web directories and library guides.