26 January 2013

Devon Wills

One of the lasting legacies of WW2 is the loss of original wills when the Probate Office was bombed in the Exeter Blitz of April-May 1942. To fill the gaps the Devon Wills Project is compiling an index of Devon wills, administrations, etc. - see http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/DevonWillsProject/

A post by Brian Randell on the Society of Genealogists mailing list tells of coming across "two venerable US genealogical journals, well represented in the Internet Archive, namely The New England Historical and Genealogical Register and The Essex Institute Historical Collections, which each contain a series of articles providing collections of English will abstracts - from which we've obtained very useful details of a number of Devon wills"

The post continues asking for suggestions of "any other "venerable US genealogical journals" which contain such articles, or better, sets of articles? I stress "venerable" since our particular interest is information obtained, possibly a century or more ago, from the Exeter Probate Office. (Cyndi's List provides a listing of scholarly genealogical journals at http://www.cyndislist.com/magazines/scholarly-journals/, but help in identifying likely relevant, and accessible, ones would be much appreciated.)"

It occurs to me there must be stray copies of pre-1858 Devon wills scattered in archives, publications and personal collections in Canada. The benefits of scouring "foreign" archives for British material is a point made toward the end of the latest TNA podcast on Rawdon Brown and the Brown Collection at The National Archives, which while I found it interesting I can't recommend for genealogical content.

If you have of know of any old Devon will, or wills, you can contact Brian Randall at the School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK, EMAIL = Brian.Randell@ncl.ac.uk   PHONE = +44 191 222 7923, FAX = +44 191 222 8232  URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/people/brian.randell

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Humphrey Toms papers at University British Columbia probably has Devon wills. In the online finding guide 4-5 mentions Devon wills.