Kinsearching April 1, 2007




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     If you would like to learn more about your Czech ancestors, you may want to participate in the "Czech Match" genealogy conference on April 27-28, 2007 at the Caldwell Civic/Visitor Center in Caldwell, TX. Sponsored by the Texas Czech Genealogical Society, the conference will feature a wide variety of interesting and helpful topics presented by twelve speakers from Texas and two from the Czech Republic. Subjects to be discussed include Czech pioneers in the Republic of Texas, a cultural look at cemeteries, Czech DNA background and update, Moravian Texans, how to conduct family research in the Czech Republic and in LDS records, the archivists' angle on caring for family treasures, Czech soldiers on both sides in World War I, and emigration from Austrian Silesia, 1850 - 1909. For additional information about the programs and costs, get in touch with Charlene Hurta, 1231 CR 201A, Angleton, TX 77515 (phone 979-849-0348; e-mail or go to the society's website at

     The latest compilation by prominent genealogist Peter Wilson Coldham is NORTH AMERICAN WILLS REGISTERED IN LONDON, 1611 - 1857. Although he has published other works on the subject, this new revised and comprehensive guide reflects the changes brought on by the increasing use of the internet in family research.

     Until 1858, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) in England had jurisdiction over all wills submitted for probate and administration for citizens of England and Wales who died at home or abroad. More than 2,000 of these wills pertain to persons who were temporary or permanent inhabitants of North America. Recently, The National Archives (TNA) in London digitized copies of all PCC wills on their website. The arrival of this new online service prompted Coldham to issue this new book, which includes references to all Canadian wills proved up to 1857, corrections of any errors in transcription, relevant notes from previously published and new resources, and the reference needed by TNA to send (online or by "snail mail") a copy of any will you may want to order.

     In his introduction Coldham explains in detail how to use the TNA online index and makes suggestions on how to track down individuals by using variant spellings and nicknames and sorting them by date. For instance, if genealogists type in LLEWELLYN, a common spelling of the surname, they would not find the 1663/1664 will of Daniel Llewellyn because his surname appears as LLUELLIN in the PCC records. (An early resident of Virginia, Daniel and his descendants are mentioned in the well-known work ADVENTURERS OF PURSE AND PERSON IN VIRGINIA, 1607 - 1624/5.)

     Names of the testators (persons making wills) are arranged alphabetically. Names of witnesses, legatees (persons receiving a legacy), executors, any other persons, places, and ships are indexed. A sample of an entry is the one for Andrew PARKES, a haberdasher of London, who died overseas. In his 1628 will, he leaves to his brother John PARKES of VA, all goods on the ship Hopewell "in which the testator is embarked when it arrives in VA;" aunt Sewzan (sic) PARKES of London, widow; aunt and executrix Elizabeth WARDEN of Christ's Hospital, London." Witnesses were Richard MERYDALE, Sir Anthony MOSELEY, John CLARKE, and Joseph BRYAN. The will was probated in 1630. Although many entries are not as detailed, the information from this will is representative of what may be found in many. Since Coldham's volume makes finding connections between Americans and their English and Welsh ancestors more accessible, NORTH AMERICAN WILLS REGISTERED IN LONDON, 1611 - 1857 is a worthy addition to genealogical library collections.

     The 156-page hardback costs $25.00. To the book's price, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #1093) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website