Friday, 21 August 2015

Full-text Search England and Wales Probate Calendars

Ever since Ancestry made available a part of the probate calendars, indexed by deceased name in August 2010 I've been wondering when they'd twig to the fact that the calendars also contain lots of names of executors.
Ancestry missed the boat, at least for now, and Findmypast has done it with a full text search capability.
Available at present on Findmypast are the calendars from 1858 to 1959.
As a test I searched the name Marmon for which Findmypast gave 43 calendar entry results. Ancestry gave 26 Marmon probates for that time period. At least 18 of the Findmypast results were for deceased not named Marmon.  The others are likely multiple entries for occurrences where the deceased and executor(s) shared the Marmon name or Marmon occurred elsewhere such as a street name. Then there's OCR and transcription errors!
Unfortunately the search term is not highlighted in the original probate calendar page image return so you do have to read through the whole page.
There are undoubtedly one-namers and one-placers salivating at the prospect of mining this database.
Don't forget that many deceased didn't have a probated will or administration; 130 Marmons are recorded as dying in the time period in FreeBMD.
Three stars to Findmypast.

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