Probate & Wills in England to come into the 21st Century
- Here's some good news for people researching in England from abroad. It's not there yet but hopefully by next year.
3.8 Obtaining copies of Probate Records
•Probate Calendars (indexes of probate records) should be digitised and
made available on the Internet to be used by staff and customers, to
search for and order copies of Wills and Grants.
•Search facilities should also be provided at probate registries, the
Family Record Centre, and local Registration Offices.
Decision - Accepted (in part)
85% of respondents were in favour of publishing the indexes of records on the
Internet, and 73% said they would use the Internet to search for records, and obtain
copies. Copies of probate records are increasingly in demand for family history
research, as well as for legal purposes in connection with the administration of
We will invite tenders for this work, and we hope that work on digitising the indexes in
preparation for publication, will begin very soon. Our aim, during Financial Year
2004/2005, is to make the indexes available on-line, from 1996 to the current date.
We will then work back from 1995 to 1858, making sections available on-line, as and
when they are digitised, so that by the end of the following year (2005/2006), all
records back to 1858 will be published on the Internet.
We do not propose to make computer facilities for searching the indexes, available at
the local registration Offices (Births Marriages & Deaths) as originally recommended,
because there are sufficient numbers of computer terminals with Internet access,
available for public use, through other public bodies such as libraries and the Family
Where public demand justifies it, we will consider installing terminal on probate
registries for public search purposes. The Internet service will not replace the existing
‘manual’ service, but will operate alongside it.
3.9 The Payment of Fees
•Credit and debit card facilities for payment of fees should be available.
•Account facilities should be available to frequent or high volume
3Either the person who entered the caveat, or the applicant for the grant; whoever made his entry or application first.
Decision - Accepted
Over 80% of respondents said that they would welcome the choice of additional
methods of payment.
The use of credit and debit cards will be essential to support the provision of any
services on-line. Policy is currently being developed in the use of credit and debit
cards, and a number of courts are already operating pilot schemes.
Following the assessment of the pilots on the use of debit and credit cards, we will
conduct a detailed investigation into the options for the provision of account facilities
for frequent customers.
Alberta Family Histories Society
712-16th Ave NW,
Calgary, AB, T2W 0J8