Millions of British wills now online

More than 41 million British wills dating back 156 years are now available online. The database covers the hears from 1858 to 1996 and includes 280,000 handwritten wills from soldiers fighting in WWI.

The wills, covering England and Wales and owned by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), were painstakingly scanned in by hand.

To access the archive, go to to create an account, then choose the section you wish to search:

  • Wills and Probate 1996 to present;
  • Wills and Probate 1858 to 1996;
  • Soldiers’ Wills.

You’ll find the complete story and details for accessing the archive in Saturday’s