Wiltshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire Wills, Beneficiaries and Obituaries - Newspapers, Obituaries, etc.


  • Given an approximate date of death look in newspapers

  • Look for

    • notices of a death

    • obituaries

    • reports of inquests, wills, burials, etc.

    • interesting death stories

  • Our examples used the British Newspaper Archive  but newspaper archives are also available in some local studies libraries and at the British Library at St Pancras (from March 2014).



An obituary may include information about:

  • a person’s age

  • when they died

  • their address

  • their occupation

  • Relationships

  • plus wonderful stories about their life!



  • Inquests are held when there is a sudden or unexplained death.

  • The purpose of the inquest is to identify the deceased, the place of death, time of death and how the deceased came by their death

  • Unfortunately few Inquest reports survive, however they are very often reported in newspapers.


Further Reading

Probate Jurisdictions: Where to look for Wills - compiled by Jeremy Gibson & Else Churchill (5th edition: 2002) Federation of Family History Societies
Wills & Probate Records: A guide for family historians - by Karen Grannum & Nigel Taylor (2nd Edition: 2009) The National Archives
death do us part: Understanding and Interpreting the Probate Records of Early Modern England - edited by Tom Arkell, Nesta Evans and Nigel Goose (2000) Leopard's Head Press
to Wills, Probate & Death Duty Records: Affection Defying the Power of Death - Jane Cox (1993) Federation of Family History Societies


Additional information