Berkshire Archdeaconry Probate Records 1480-1652

Pat NAYLOR (editor) (Berkshire Record Society, Volume 15, 2011; in 3 parts) 155mm x 245mm (6.1" x 9.7"); flexiback; Part I. Personal Names (426pp); Part II. Place Names (385pp); III. Occupations (190pp).

Probate documents provide details of family relationships, the testator’s possessions, his wealth and status, etc. These details are vital for family reconstitution in the years prior to parish registers or, from 1538, if they had been lost or damaged. Each volume includes a list of the abbreviations used and a parish map of sixteenth century Berkshire. Part I includes the all important details of the full reference needed for ordering documents in the Berkshire Record Office [BRO] and Part III includes the editor’s essay: Berkshire Archdeaconry Probate Records: a Survey, which is again an important section to read...

The original Tudor and Stuart index of the Berkshire Archdeaconry probate material was published in 1893 and only covered the period 1508-1652. At that time they were stored in sacks in the basement of Somerset House. Later moved to the Bodleian Library Oxford they were transferred to their present and logical home in the BRO. In creating this new publication, many more documents were unearthed / discovered / have now been included. The index now covers over 10,000 wills, about 9000 pages of register copy wills and administrations, plus inventories, accounts* and various other loose papers discovered in the BRO collection. The result is an essential tool for all family, local and social historians.

* See also Berkshire Probate Accounts 1584-1712, I MORTIMER (editor), Berkshire Record Society, vol. 4 (1999) for selected transcriptions.

Jean Debney

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