Wills Index

Using the Wills Index

You can search this index of over 38,000 entries to see what Archdeaconry of Berkshire wills, administrations and inventories we have for the period 1480 to 1857.

Remember though, that not all entries will be for a will. Some will be for a letter of administration, an inventory or even accounts. Let’s explain the difference.

Wills: this is the most common record in which an individual sets out their intentions as to what should happen to their possessions after death and to appoint executors.

Administrations (admons): if a person died without making a will (intestate), the court had to appoint people to administer the estate and issued letters of administration. The appointed persons would then enter an administration bond to carry out various tasks. However, they do not reveal anything about actual possessions unless an inventory is included.

Inventories: This was made as a true record of the extent and value of the deceased’s estate and often included debts as well as possessions.

Accounts: These are of the executors or administrators and detail expenses involved in dealing with an estate.

It's also worth noting that sometimes, all that survives is a registered copy of a probate record, which is a hand written version in a bound volume.

How to search the wills index

The index is listed by surname, but also provides details of place name and occupation as well the document reference of the record and what microfilm/fiche (MF) copies we have.

To use the Name Search simply enter the name as surname, first name. For example: Blackmore, Dennis.

You can also search by surname only or first name only.

For place names or occupations please use the Keyword Search.

If you would like to look at or order copies of any of the records listed, please Contact Us.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Name Place Name Occupation Year BRO Ref MF Copy
ZELYS, JohnNewburyDraper1531D/A1/1/157MF10042
ZINZAN, AlexanderEasthampstead1623D/A1/142/099MF556
ZUGLER, MarkArdingtonVicar1674D/A1/143/71 MF556