WILLS, ETC., IN THE NORTH DEVON RECORD OFFICE'S ONLINE CATALOGUE
Transcribed by Brian Randell
The Source (NDRO-C) and DWP's editing process
The NDRO-C source items provide information concerning wills, administrations and inventories held at the North Devon Record Office, found via the online catalogue that they share with the Devon Heritage Centre. A number of the items concern post-1857 wills, or photocopies of PCC wills, and not all relate to Devon, but all have been included in DWP for the sake of completeness.
The catalogue states that it "contains descriptions of the archival holdings of the Devon Record Office [i.e. the Devon Heritage Centre] and North Devon Record Office including general descriptions of all collections (catalogued and uncatalogued) deposited since 1989 and many before this date". It is one of two major sources of information about wills at NDRO that has been incorporated into the Devon Wills Project, the other being NDRO-A. No attempt has been made to identify and remove overlaps between these two sources.
Unfortunately the online catalogue does not provide means of searching for particular categories of record. Thus the items included in this index were found by examining and selecting from the results of doing searches of the NDRO section of the catalogue for the words "will", "administration, "probate" and "administration" anywhere in the text of each catalogue entry, discarding all those which were not in fact to do with testamentary material. The set of entries so obtained was believed to be reasonably complete, as of May 2010, and since then an attempt has been made with the assistance of the DHC to keep pace with additions to the catalogue. (However there are some catalogue entries, for files which evidently contain one or more wills, which provide no details about these wills. Such catalogue entries are not included.)
By no means all the catalogue entries found provide any information as to the place or even county of residence of the testator (though in general the county can be presumed to be Devon) and some give a non-Devon residence without providing any indication of any link to Devon - all such items have nevertheless been included. Catalogue entries typically include a descriptive phrase (retained in our NDRO-C source items) which usually makes evident the type of document that is being referred to. However, though the phrase such as 'probate of (the) will' implies just a document confirming that probate had been granted, it is certainly possible that an actual copy of the will may be attached to this document. An enquiry to DHC concerning a particular item might elicit more precise detail of what they hold.
Locating the source and acquiring copies
To obtain information about the possibility of viewing the source listed, photographing them or acquiring photocopies of them by post, you should contact the North Devon Record Office directly. However it is worth first checking the NDRO section of the online catalogue entries corresponding to any items of interest to see if they contain further information about the wills, etc., concerned, since some provide extensive abstracts.