Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guild of one name studies and the probate index

One of the perks of membership in the Guild of one name studies is the probate index. Since I can not do marriage challenges from afar in particular registration districts I decided that my contribution to the Guild records for all members would be submitting my list of names to the Probate Index. Since wills are a big part of my research, I blog one most days, I have been able to contribute nearly 4000 lines to the index over the last couple of years. With over 1000 wills to transcribe on various lines principally Blake though, I will have a lot more to send in.

It has occupied me recently getting that submission up to date as I was almost a year behind when I commenced again on Sunday to collect the information into an excel file. What goes in is your membership number,  the year of probate, date of death if known, last name, first name of testator, county and place where will was written, then the surname, first name, why the individual was mentioned in the will and their relationship to the testator. A valuable tool that you can do a search on just to see the individuals that witnessed wills in your particular family grouping - often it was the same set of individuals in a particular area but not always.

Wills are, I believe, the best way of linking generations and establishing cousin relationships particularly in communities where there are two distinct similar surname families. As some members of the Guild have discovered with yDNA studies, two families with the same surname can live side by side through the centuries and not actually be related.

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