Course title:
Family History: Wills and Probate Records - online course
Jacqueline Depelle
Course ID:
Start date:
End date:
Timetabled sessions
Date Times Hours
Wed 03 Nov 2021 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 1.5
Wed 10 Nov 2021 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 1.5
Wed 17 Nov 2021 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 1.5
Wed 24 Nov 2021 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 1.5
Wed 01 Dec 2021 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 1.5
Total sessions: 5
Total number of classroom hours: 7.5
Independent online hours: 0
Total hours: 7.5
Wed 03 Nov 2021
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Wed 10 Nov 2021
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Wed 17 Nov 2021
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Wed 24 Nov 2021
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Wed 01 Dec 2021
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Total sessions:
Total number of classroom hours:
Independent online hours:
Total hours:
Online Learning with Zoom and Canvas
Leads to qualification?    No
Level:     Level 2 (level information)
Is this course part of a programme of study?
Programme details
Programme title:
Programme aims:
Programme description:
Who is this programme for?
Optional Activity Start date End date Fee
£24.00 or free on some courses if you are in receipt of some benefits
What skills or experience do I need to join this course?
This course is for beginners and improvers
This course is for beginners and improvers
What else do I need to know? Is there anything I need to provide?
Online Guides will be covered. Optional reading: Wills of Our Ancestors by Stuart A Raymond; Eve McLaughlin Guide to Wills before and after 1858; Gibson Guide Probate Jurisdictions - Where to look for Wills. Voucher for some Pen & Sword publications & Gibson Guides available via Canvas to students.
Course aim:
To review Wills and associated records evaluating and appreciating their value for Family Historians, House and Local History. To support individual studies with advice and website guidance via the WEA’s Learning Platform as time permits.
Course description:
Generally considered the third most useful source for Family History research a really “good” will can be full of family names, personal information and associated details. Some probate records provide clues and signposts to additional records and sources to research. Examples briefly included will be Alumni, Civil Registration, Census, Clergy Lists, Death Duty Indexes, Inventories, Manorial Records, Trade Directories and Parish Registers. We will sample both Modern and Ecclesiastical will indexes and probate jurisdictions before looking at where and how to order copies. Our course will include basic palaeography techniques and glossaries, focus mainly on England and Wales although brief guidance for Ireland and Scotland will be included. It may be that some ancestors weren’t eligible to make a will or just didn’t however with all the probate indexes that are now available online there isn’t an excuse for not checking to see if they did.
By the end of the course I will be able to:
1. Explain the significance of January 1858 for probate records in England and Wales naming the new index that was created and the websites on which it can be found
2. Demonstrate having searched the Modern Will indexes for at least ten family members (or a place or two) and report back on results
3. Construct a speculative potential family tree from a sample modern will index entry (provided or your own) listing the sources indicated for future research
4. Display a map of Ecclesiastical probate jurisdictions for at least two areas of interest and list what indexes can be found online for these areas
5. Transcribe parts of both an Ecclesiastical will and a Probate Inventory included in the course materials
How will I learn?

We expect you to attend your classroom sessions and make time to do any required learning activities on your own.

The WEA tutor will use a range of teaching and learning activities and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning. Your tutor will use tasks to see how you are learning, which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects, discussion, written or practical work. Your tutor will give you feedback on your learning and progress.

WEA Canvas online learning area

Whether your course is face to face or online, the WEA uses its online learning area, called Canvas, to support your learning. This includes using Canvas to think about and record your progress and to give your tutor and the WEA feedback on your course. Your tutor may put resources or activities on Canvas to use during or between lessons. If you want to understand more about our Canvas online learning platform please visit:

WEA online sessions/ courses- Zoom

If your course is online, you will join a virtual classroom using a weblink: the WEA uses a video-conferencing tool called Zoom. To use Zoom you will need a Laptop, Computer, Tablet or Smart phone which has speakers, a microphone and a video camera. For some courses, to submit work, we advise you to use a laptop or computer. For more information on Canvas and Zoom please visit

Information and advice

For more information and advice about our courses phone our support team on 0300 303 3464 or email:


We will ask you about any support you may need when you enrol. You can also telephone the Student Support Team on 0300 303 3464 or email The earlier you tell us about your needs the better. We will be able to provide help more quickly.

You can also find out about what support is available through our Student Handbook. This highlights what you can expect from WEA and what we expect from you.

For information about course fees and financial support whilst you study visit

For student support relating to specific learning need or disability visit

What next?

Your tutor will talk with you about what you could do following this course.

You can also find information on our website to support you to make decisions about what you can do next

You may benefit from speaking to the National Careers Service regarding your future career plans - call 0800 100 900 or visit their website