Are you looking for a will?

The Borthwick Institute holds half a million wills, dating from 1267 to 1858. The majority of these are from Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, but we also hold wills and probate documents from Cheshire, Lancashire, Westmorland, Cumberland, Northumberland and Durham.

After 1858 wills were proved by the national Probate Registry. You can search their indexes online.

Our complete Diocesan archive of wills and other probate records is not available on Borthcat at a detailed level, but a description of the archive, its contents and history can be found on Borthcat by searching YDA/11. The database of wills and administrations for individuals can be searched in the following ways,

  • You can contact us and request a search. Searchroom staff can perform up to 5 free searches of our probate indexes for you.

  • You can visit us and search the indexes for free in our searchroom.

  • You can search the indexes online at Findmypast (this is paid service). The online indexes include wills proved in the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York between 1267-1501 and 1688-1858, and wills proved in the Peculiar Courts of York 1383-1833.

We also have wills and other probate documents that are not part of the Diocesan probate archive, but which have come to us as part of private archives. You can search these on Borthcat using the term ’Wills’.

You can order copies of our wills through Findmypast or by completing the copying request form on our website.