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Index of Wills & Decrees
1630 - 1920

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If you are new to this page PLEASE read the notes below before proceeding.



This index has been prepared from the official indices in the Archdeacon's (LDS film 0106195) and Episcopal (LDS film 0106366) Registries. A total of 54,890 Wills, Decrees and Agreements have been indexed.

The separate Registries were combined into a single Civil Registry from 1885 onwards. The index to this Registry up to and including the year 1949 is available on LDS film 0106366 - the last part of the film recording the Episcopal Registry Index.

The LDS have copied all Wills and Decrees that were in the Rolls Office up to and including the year 1916. Although this index contains Wills and Decrees for the years 1917-20 no LDS film number can be given for these Wills and Decrees. They are included only for the sake of completeness as 1920 marks the end of an Index Book. There are no plans to add Wills and Decrees for the period 1921-49.

Editing and Indexing Methods

Some entries have been modified as information becomes available from Will transcriptions, e.g. maiden or alias names have been added when they are stated in the Will but not in the official index.

Original spelling has been maintained but obvious variations have been grouped, e.g. Cane, Cain, Caine, Cayne have all been grouped under Cain. Some major variations, e.g. Carran/Karran, have been grouped. In these instances I have placed a cross-reference in the appropriate pages.

In the same way forenames such as Eleanor, Elin and all the variations have been grouped under Eleanor. Kate/Katharine will be found under Catherine and Bessie/Eliza under Elizabeth.

Alias, Otherwise and Nee

Historically female rights have always been much stronger on the Island than in the rest of British Isles. Prior to about 1700 most female Wills and Decrees were written and filed using the maiden name. As English legal practice became more established the more familiar form of using the married name followed by the maiden name became the norm.

A Will or Decree is listed in this index using the name as it appears in the document using the abbreviation "als" to indicate the maiden name where it is given in the document. Early Wills and Decrees are listed under the maiden name. A second entry appears under the married name when it is clear from the document itself. In this case the word "nee" is used in the title.

Will Transcriptions and Translations

A collection of Wills, Decrees and associated documents is being established. A Transcription retains all original spelling and is presented line by line (i.e. fully paginated). All missing words are indicated by "...." while doubtful or interpolated wording is indicated by [square brackets]. A Translation will often have the spelling modernized, abbreviations expanded and the line breaks are not usually indicated. The translator may not give a clear indication of interpolated or assumed wording.

A Will in the index that shows a link (the name is underlined and in blue) will take you to a fully paginated transcription where doubtful or missing words are clearly indicated. An asterisk * against such a Will indicates that the Will may be a translation.

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