Explore the Devon Wills Index and find your ancestors from Devon in South West England. This index includes people who were either born or died in Devon. The collection includes information about 295,609 wills, proved across 30 courts. The index is a finding-aid for the family historian to reveal what probate records are available, if they have survived the Exeter Blitz of World War Two and where they are located. This collection has been made available by the Devon Wills Project as a free resource.
Each record includes a transcript of the original record. The detail in each transcript can vary, but most will include the following:
Name of testators (those who made wills) and intestates (those who did not make wills, but whose estates were administered).
Original place - shows how the place name was originally transcribed
Court – this field explains in which court the will was proved.
Source – check your source on the Devon Wills Index Source List available in the Useful Links section and below the transcript. The table will give you further details about how to locate the original documents.
Document reference - reference to be used for the host archive
Document type – this field will explain if the record is available in its original form, as a transcript, a copy or an abstract. However, if the form is listed as ‘List entry’ this means that the will no longer exists and has only been found in a list or index.
Document form - whether it is an original or copy of the original
Reference code - reference used within the collection
The overall aim of this index is to create a finding-aid to enable the researcher to determine what probate materials were originally recorded and most importantly what documents have survived (original document, copy or abstract) and where they can be located.
The majority of wills and administrations of Devon people were proved or granted either in Devon itself or in London. The originals of those wills proved in London (very nearly all at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, "PCC") have survived. However many probate records for the county of Devon and Diocese of Exeter including the Exeter Principal Registry were destroyed by enemy action in 1942, when the Probate Registry was destroyed in the bombing during the Exeter Blitz of WWII.
This index has been created as a combined project by the Devon Wills Project (DWP). DWP is a co-operation involving the Devon Family History Society, Devon Heritage Services, GENUKI/Devon, and the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office to compile an index of Devon wills, administrations, etc. The index shows where copies, transcripts, abstracts or extracts of such original testamentary documents may be found, and in many cases the whereabouts of the original documents themselves.
Archdeaconry Court of Sarum (Salisbury, Wilts.)
(Consistory) Archdeaconry Court of Barnstaple
Diocese of Bristol
Manor Court of Cockington
Consistory Court of Canterbury
Court of the Deanery of the Arches of London
Commissary Court of London
Consistory Court of London
(Consistory) Archdeaconry Court of Cornwall
Consistory Court of Dorset
Archdeaconry Court of Dorset
Edinburgh Commissary Court
(Episcopal) Consistory Court of (the Bishop of) Exeter
(Episcopal) Principal Registry of (the Bishop of) Exeter
Edinburgh Sheriff Court
(Consistory) Archdeaconry Court of Exeter
Glasgow Sheriff Court
Mayors' Court, Exeter
Newfoundland Probate Courts
Prerogative Court of Armagh
Prerogative Court of Canterbury
Peculiar Court of the Dean & Chapter of Exeter
Peculiar Court of the Dean of Exeter
Peculiar Court of the Dean of Salisbury
Peculiar Court of the Vicars Choral of Exeter
Principal Probate Registry
Archdeaconry Court of Taunton
Manor Court of Templeton
(Consistory) Archdeaconry Court of Totnes
Court of the Prebend of Uffculme