Transcribed by Richard Grylls

Historical Background and the Source

In about 1915 a certain Francis Warren Trist (1882 - 1958) seems to have commissioned Culleton’s Heraldic Office in London to undertake research into his Trist ancestors.  It was obviously an extensive project, and the research included the making of transcripts of over 130 wills that were then held at the Exeter Register Office.  The originals of these wills perished in Exeter in the blitz of 1942, but Culleton’s very full abstracts of them somehow survived WWII, probably well hidden somewhere in London.  In 1959 the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) photographed all the Culleton papers – or those that had survived by then.  The firm having ceased trading in the 1960s.  Since then the original Culleton papers appear to have been lost.  However LDS still holds 42 microfilms of them, including one film devoted entirely to Trist family research, a family whose main stronghold was in Devon.  Of the Devon wills included in the Culleton Trist Family microfilm are a large number, for which Culleton’s abstract is the only evidence of the contents of a particular will that has survived anywhere.  Thus – the Culleton papers provide a unique record.

Over the past few years, up to 2015, Peter Trist, who lives in Australia, had used the Culleton LDS film and many other sources to compile a mammoth one-name study of the family.  His work has included making modern transcriptions of the wills that had been abstracted by Culleton’s back in 1915.  His work has recently (2016) become more generally available.

DWP’s editing process

This has been a simple process, because Peter Trist’s work is so efficiently indexed.  All the wills mentioned in his work – a few of which were listed by Culleton’s but not transcribed – have merely been added to our index.

Locating the source and acquiring copies

Peter Trist has presented separate copies of all his work, including the will abstracts, to three major genealogical institutions – the Devon Heritage Centre (DHC) in Exeter, the Society of Genealogists (SOG) in London and the main library of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Any one of those institutions should be able, for a fee, to provide a photocopy of one or more of Peter Trist’s will transcripts.