Obtaining records of the deceased in Liverpool

Transcript indexes available at both Lancashire Record Office and Cheshire and Chester archives for the years 1831-1858 although not all of the wills listed in the indexes still survive.

Wills for Cheshire are at Cheshire and Chester Archives, Duke Street, Chester CH1 1RL. There is an index for 1492-1940 at www.cheshire.gov.uk/recordoffice/wills/home.htm

If the deceased’s property was in more than one  diocese, the will would be proved in the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of York. These records are at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 50D. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury took precedence if property was held in both provinces.

During the commonwealth period, 1653-1660, a court of civil commission had sole jurisdiction over probate Liverpool as well as the whole of England and Wales.

Its records are filed with those of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury at The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, TW9 4DU, where there are also other series of records such as Legacy Duty registers from 1796. Printed indexes to probate granted at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 1853 to 1857 are held here on open shelves.

A Principal Probate Registry was set up in London from 12 January 1858 along with forty District Probate Registries, including one at Liverpool.

Printed indexes for England and Wales record key details of all wills proved and letters of administration granted. Copies from 1858 to the 1950’s are held here on open shelves. Later copies are with the Liverpool Probate Registry at Queen Elizabeth II Law Court, Derby Square, Liverpool, L2.

As for pre-1541 wills, the Lancashire south of the River Ribble including Liverpool was in the Diocese of Lichfield. Any few surviving wills are at the Lichfield Record Office,
Lichfield Library, The Friary, Lichfield WS13 6QG. From 1541 until 1880 Liverpool was in the Diocese of Chester.

Wills for the Archdeaconry of Chester in Lancashire, which was the area south of the River Ribble including Liverpool, are held at the Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston PR1 2RE.

Registered copies of wills for the Liverpool Registry are at Lancashire Record Office for 1858-1940, although some of the registers were damaged during the Second World War and are too fragile to consult. Copies of wills for England and Wales can be obtained for a fee by writing to the Postal Searches and Copies Department, York Probate Sub-Registry, 1st Floor, Castle Chambers, Clifford Street, York. YO1 9RG with full details of the name and address of the deceased or by contacting your local Probate Registry. A search will be made for four years forward from the date of death.

For more information about Probate in Liverpool please contact the Fridaysmove Liverpool Probate Team.

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