CORNISH WILLS PROVED IN EXETER
Transcribed by Lindsey Withers
The Source (MOGC)
When the Church of the Latter Day Saints was filming genealogical material in Devon in 1963, the photographer(s) came across a set of will abstracts apparently compiled by Miss Moger. These abstracts were entirely separate from her typed abstracts, those which were bound into 22 volumes and which constitute our source MOGA. The title given by LDS to this further collection that they filmed was Transcript of Cornish Wills by Miss O.N. Mogers, from the Probate Registry, Truro, Cornwall, England". However, this title is both inaccurate and misleading.
The collection photographed by LDS consists of handwritten abstracts of some 1,200 wills, many of them (but by no means all) in Miss Moger's handwriting. The 1,200 wills were predominantly of Cornish people and were proved in a number of different courts, mostly in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) or the Archdeaconry Court of Cornwall. The originals of most of the wills proved in these two courts have survived. Devon wills proved in these courts already appear in our index, in our sources PROB 11 and CRO.
DWP's editing process
However, what is of great interest in this further 'Moger' collection are about 125 wills of Cornish people, and 30 wills of Devon people, whose wills were all proved in Exeter courts. The originals of these wills all perished during the 2nd World War, so the abstracts made by Miss Moger and others are potentially the only source of details of what was written in these wills. So, despite these abstracts being mainly of Cornish rather than Devon people, it was felt they should all be included in our index, together with about a dozen wills where no probate court is indicated. This selection from the collection thus constitutes our source MOGC.
N.B. The collection is not paginated, but the abstracts are mostly in alphabetical order by surname. However, several abstracts are wildly out of order. For these we have endeavoured to show in our 'Reference' column roughly where in the film or CD they may be found. The images are not all clear, possibly because some of the abstracts were written in pencil, but very nearly all are decipherable.
Locating the source and acquiring copies
Despite considerable efforts made by the librarians and archivists in the Devon Heritage Centre - an amalgamation of the former Westcountry Studies Library and the former Devon Record Office - no trace of the original manuscript abstracts has been found. Thus the main way to gain access to the details shown in these abstracts is to borrow from an LDS Library films 317547 and 317548. However the Devon Heritage Centre does now have a CD of these two films, as does the Cornwall Record Office. For a small fee they will print out a copy of an abstract, if you find one that is of interest.