Images of will proved in the 54 ‘peculiar’ courts of England’s Province (Archbishopric) of York have been made available online.

The index covers over 25,000 wills proved in the 54 peculiar courts of the Province of York in the 500 year period from 1383 to 1857. The originals of all the probate documents are held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

Purchasing and viewing original documents online

Most of the York Peculiars Probate documents have been digitized, and these images can be purchased with Pay per View credits and viewed directly from the index records.

The database records provide the following information:

Name: surname & forename
You can search on surname and on forename. There are often multiple variant spellings of surnames shown, eg PATTRICK(E)/PATTERICKE/PARTERICKE. You will be able to retrieve records regardless of which spelling you may be familiar with, particularly is you use the NameX option when searching.
This field (or the occupation field) often contains additional information, particularly names of children.

Occupation
Not always present, this is usually the occupation, eg “Butcher”, “Merchant”; sometimes a relationship is shown, eg “widow of John Turner, bookseller” – where other names are mentioned these have also been indexed. The occupation sometimes appears in the name field.

Place
This field usually contain the place where the testator lived, but often where they died, sometimes both.

Date
Usually, but not always present. Usually the date of probate or of the will. The full date is sometimes given, otherwise just the year. The year is given as Old Style and New Style for dates before 25 March.

Document type
Although the majority of the documents are wills, there are often other document types available.

Reference
This field – which is not always used – gives the number of the folio (sheet) within the volume containing the original. Note that if you are ordering hard copies from the Borthwick Institute via the British Origins database, the reference data is forwarded automatically to the Institute.

For more on the collection see About York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1857

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