Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last Will and Testament

Wills, Administrations, Codicils and Sentences

Searching of probate records are an essential part of genealogical research. No research is complete till thoroughly perusing one of the best sources available. Many dead end lines have continued, through the stumbling block of the Commonwealth time period and through the beginning boundary of the parish records and Bishop’s Transcripts. Most lines couldn’t possibly go beyond 1550 if not for probate records.

Will and Testament
In medieval times a will was the legal statement of a person pertaining to the disbursement of land, real estate or land interests, while a testament was related to the disposition of movable property, goods and chattels. Gradually they were combined, but even in the sixteen hundreds some were still separate documents.

Administration or Admons
Administrations are documents relating to a will or an intestate person (one who has left no will), naming the administrator or administrators of the estate or goods of the deceased. The probate court would grant Letters of Administration or Administrative Bonds to the testator’s executors or as in intestate to next-of-kin, friend or principal creditor. The Bonds or Letters of Administration were then entered into an Act Book.

A codicil is an addition or supplement to a will adding to, taking from or an alteration of the provisions.

A sentence is a decree or judgment pertaining to a will or administration.

Word of the Week:
Messuage: A parcel of land with a cottage or dwelling house and all adjoining buildings.

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