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Tracing your family tree

Wills and other probate records

Wills were proved (made legally valid) by church courts before 1858. The NRO holds:

  • Wills (mainly registered copies) proved in Norfolk, from the 13th century to 1858
  • Administrations granted in Norfolk, 1377-1858
  • Inventories 1553–1849

You can see these records on microfilm at the NRO and NHC. There are also printed name indexes at NRO and NHC to:

  • Wills proved in Norfolk, 1370-1858 
  • Administrations granted in Norfolk, 1377-1858

There are printed indexes by date to inventories 1553–1849 and these are also included in our online catalogue.

Some pre-1858 wills (particularly those of wealthy people) were proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). These wills, together with administrations granted by this court, are held by The National Archives (TNA). Here you can search indexes to them and the wills can be downloaded for a small fee.

Wills were proved by civil courts from 1858 onwards. We have registered copies of Norwich District Probate Registry wills, 1858-1941, which are available on microfilm at NRO and NHC, 1858-1925.

There are indexes on microfilm to both wills and administrations, 1858-1941, but we do not hold any administrations after 1858.

You can also search the National Probate Calendar (an index of wills and administrations for England and Wales) 1858-1966, on microfilm and in volumes at NHC or on the Ancestry website.

Copies of post-1857 wills can be ordered, for a fee, by post or online. We have produced a guide to wills and other probate records to explain these records and how to use them.