Probate and tax records let you find your family’s money. While tax records tell you the value of your ancestors’ homes, land and businesses while they were alive, wills and probate records reveal what they left behind.
Step back in time with the 1705 rent roll from Presteigne, a Welsh market town in what is now the Radnorshire area of Powys. The collection gives you a rare glimpse into 18th Century life in the area.
Could your ancestors be among the tenants listed in the town’s rent roll? If so, you’ll find their names, a description of their property – even how much rent they paid.
The Cheddar Rate Book, 1865, lists the rates collected from all houses in the hometown of the popular cheese in Somerset. Rates were collected to support the sick and poor, and maintain the roads and the church and other parish expenses.
You can search or browse the record images to see who lived in each house, who owned it, and the name or address of the property. It includes every household in the area, so if your family lived there at that time, you’re likely to find them.
One of the keys to family history is discovering where your ancestors were at a particular time. You then know exactly where you should be looking for further records.
London Land Tax Records, 1692–1932, is an ideal solution for the years before census records. It reveals the names of property owners and tenants in various parts of the capital, and gives you their county, parish and often even street name, plus the year.
You probably know that the first useful census was taken in 1841. But this collection is a valuable alternative that lets you discover your ancestors throughout England and Wales more than 40 years earlier!
Land Tax Redemption, 1798, reveals homeowners and tenants all over the country. Although it doesn’t tell you about other family members, it does provide the head of the household’s name and the value of their property.
The National Probate Calendar is the single most important resource for tracing your ancestors’ wills — and you won’t find it anywhere else online.
First, it tells you where and when your ancestors died, and reveals the value of the estate they left behind. Second, it makes it far easier to order copies of their wills, with all the extra information they provide, from the Principal Probate Registry.
Griffith’s Valuation is the most useful of the ‘census substitutes’ that fill the gap in 19th-century Irish research. It was created to work out how much tax the country’s inhabitants should be paying.
Sir Richard Griffith’s assessors worked out the value of all of Ireland’s privately owned property. The resulting records cover the vast majority of households, and while they don’t list every family member, they do let you pinpoint where your relatives were living.
This huge collection of thousands of probate records helps you follow your family’s fortunes through 300 years of London life. More than that, though, it lets you pinpoint property owners from outside the capital — and even overseas.
Early wills were proved in various courts around the country, depending not on where someone lived, but where they had assets. Thousands of people from other parts of the country — and all over the British Empire — owned houses or land in London, so you may find their wills here.