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The Wills of Our Ancestors: A Guide for Family & Local Historians (Family History from Pen & Sword)

The Wills of Our Ancestors: A Guide for Family & Local Historians (Family History from Pen & Sword) [Kindle Edition]

Stuart A. Raymond
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

What are wills, and how can they be used for family and local history research? How can you interpret them and get as much insight from them as possible? They are key documents for exploring the lives of our ancestors, their circumstances, and the world they knew. This practical handbook is the essential guide to understanding them.

Wills expert Stuart Raymond traces the history and purpose of probate records and guides readers through the many pitfalls and possibilities these fascinating documents present. He describes the process of probate, gives a detailed account of the content of the various different types of record, and advises readers on how they can be used to throw light into the past. They offer factual evidence that no genealogist or local historian can afford to ignore.

In a series of concise, fact-filled chapters he explains how wills came into being, who made them and how they were made, how the probate system operates, how wills and inventories can be found, and how much can be learned from them. In addition to covering probate records in England and Wales, he includes the Channel Islands, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland.

This introduction is aimed primarily at family historians who are interested in the wills of particular individuals – who are seeking proof of descent – and local historians who are interested in the wealth of local historical information that can be gathered from them.

About the Author

Stuart Raymond is a genealogical bibliographer, publisher and bookseller, an experienced family historian, and an expert on the history of wills and other probate records. He is also a prolific author of genealogical handbooks, web directories and library guides.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2828 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword (1 Dec 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AJ2QEX6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #293,942 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I have been writing handbooks and guides for genealogists and local historians since 1988. I trained as a historian at the Universities of Keele and Adelaide, and as a librarian at the College of Librarianship Wales. After 15 years working in academic libraries - first at the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, then at Ballarat College of Advanced Education, and finally at Deakin University, Geelong, I decided the best way to occupy myself was to write books that I would find useful in my own research. In so doing, I hope to encourage amateur family and local historians (and, indeed, history students at all levels) to trace their ancestry, or the history of their parish, in a scholarly way. They are aspiring to be historians, and there is no reason why their work should be any less valid than the work of professional historians. If they want to produce good history, then they need to make sure that their work is firmly based on the evidence provided by original sources. They need an appreciation of how these sources were created, what to expect from them, and an understanding of the many pitfalls that may catch out the unwary. That is what I try to provide in my books.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up-to-date and comprehensive book on this topic 20 Jan 2013
There are many general books on family history research, most of which have a chapter on wills, but this book covers the topic in detail. It is comprehensive and would be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of the more advanced family history researcher.

I feel there are two areas in which the author makes generalisations, where further clarification could have been helpful. Firstly, he states that in the past, people tended to make wills when near death, the implication being that they died shortly afterwards. That is certainly true in the majority of cases, but there are others where an elderly testator must have made his or her will when suffering from an illness from which they subsequently recovered, or which lingered on for several years before death, and it is not uncommon to find examples of wills written up to 5 years before death, and occasionally earlier. Secondly, the author states that the range of kin named in wills did not generally go much beyond the nuclear family. That is certainly true, but not all testators had a nuclear family as such. Elderly bachelors, spinsters and childless widows and widowers would often have a large number of nephews, nieces, great nephews and great nieces, and leave bequests to all of them. Relationships were usually specified and the surnames of married nieces and great nieces given, so a will written by such a person can be a genealogical goldmine. Such a will can provide the tools to break down an otherwise unsurmountable 'brick wall' and I am surprised that the author did not point this out, or give an example.

There is a misprint on page 51: Doncaster, Co Durham, should be Darlington, Co Durham.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A goldmine for all genealogists 22 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Despite having transcribed and analysed countless old wills for many years during my family history research, this book has enabled me to explore new avenues of information and inferences that I had previously overlooked. Thoroughly recommended.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
its was the book i need as i am a menber of peterborough family group and it will help me
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