'Where there's a will, there's a way...'
The Bolton branch of Manchester & Lancashire's Family History Society [MLFHS] recently welcomed David Lambert, secretary of the Federation of Family History Societies, as guest speaker. David's detailed talk explored the legal background for wills and testaments, and the rich genealogical evidence these documents may offer. The evening illustrated the importance of wills in all family research - whether our ancestors had much in the way of material wealth or not. As a starting point, probate documents for individuals who died in England and Wales after 1858 may be sourced from the probate service. This National Archives research guide is an excellent starting point for exploring pre-1858 records, and the indispensable guide to finding where a will was likely to have been proved is Probate Jurisdictions: Where to look for Wills [Gibson, J. & Raymond, S.].