England, Durham Probate Bonds - FamilySearch Historical Records

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England, Durham Probate Bonds, 1556-1858
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Durham, England
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Location of Durham, England
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Location of England
Record Description
Record Type Probate Bonds
Collection years 1556-1858
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Durham University

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection includes records from 1556-1858. Probate courts deal in the legal administration of wills and estates. Probate bonds are a written guarantee that a person will faithfully perform the tasks assigned to him by a probate court.

This collection comes from the University of Durham. Before being housed by the University, the records were organized by number, although not necessarily chronologically. Up to the year 1738, the number of each bond is prefixed with the letter B. From 1739 onwards, the bonds are divided into two numerical sequences for each year. Administration bonds, relating to the estates of those that died without a will, are prefixed with the letter A. The other group, consisting primarily of will bonds, relating to executors (those assigned to carry out a will), are prefixed with the letter T for testament. Filed with the will bonds are also some tuition and curation bonds, relating to the appointment of guardians for minors.

These records are also linked to an index on the Durham University website.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Durham Probate Bonds, 1556-1858.

These records are sorted by reference numbers. For assistance with searching, see the section How Do I Search This Collection?.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Name of testator
  • Name of executor
  • Names of beneficiaries
  • Place of residence
  • Witness name(s)

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the deceased
  • The approximate date of death

Helpful Hint: The records in this collection are linked to an index on Durham University Probate Database website.

  • Fill in as much information as you know and click on Search Database.
  • The results will provide a link back to the images and/or give you the reference number to look within FamilySearch.
  • For example: (DPR/I/3/1750/A90/2) "1750" refers to the year. Note the last number in the reference (A90). This refers to a numerical order within the section rather than an actual image number.

View the Images[edit | edit source]

Once you have the reference number, you can view images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Reference Number to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the name of the testator, along with the date and place, to locate death records
  • Use the information given in the bond to determine wealth and status
  • Try to locate the names of family members or wards
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur
  • While probate records are one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence, they must be used with caution. For example, they may:
    • Omit the name of the eldest son who received his inheritance according to law; the names of others who had previously received their inheritance; or any deceased family members
    • Mention children from a spouse’s previous marriage
    • Mention a spouse who is not the parent of the children named
    • Give inaccurate relationships of people mentioned in the document
  • Search in nearby locations
    • Tyne, Wear, and Northumberland to the north
    • Cumbria to the west
    • North Yorkshire to the south

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Durham.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.