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Cumberland (CUL)


  1. The majority of places in Cumberland came under (A) the Consistory of Carlisle. There were two parishes on the northeastern border, Alston and Upper or Over Denton that came under (B) the Consistory of Durham. However, the printed index for Carlisle, 1661-1750, shows 4 entries for Alston and 3 for Upper Denton. Supposedly, Upper Denton was joined with Carlisle in 1703, but one of the three entries is for 1697. It would be wise to search both consistory courts for these two parishes.
  2. The southern third of Cumberland came under (C) the Deanery of Copeland in the Archdeaconry of Richmond. The following places belonged to the Deanery of Copeland. Some entries as indicated by the number in parenthesis were found in the printed index for Carlisle, 1661-1750.
Arlecdon Irton
Beckermet St Bridget Lamplugh
Beckermet St John Lorton (4)
Bootle Loweswater
Brigham (9) Millom (1)
Buttermere Moresby
Calder Bridge Mosser
Cleator Muncaster (1)
Clifton (1) Nether Wasdale
Cockermouth (3) Ponsonby
Corney St Bees
Dean (3) Salter
Distington (1) Seascale
Drigg Setmurthy
Egremont Thwaites
Embleton Ulpha
Ennerdale Waberthwaite
Eskdale Wasdale Head
Frizington Whicham
Gosforth Whitbeck
Haile Whitehaven
Harrington Workington
Hensingham Wythop

Decision Table

For those who lived in (A) the Consistory of Carlisle, search:

  1. Consistory of Carlisle
  2. Prerogative Court of York (see York for further details)
  3. Prerogative Court of Canterbury (see London: PCC)
  4. Court of Delegates, 1636- (see London: Delegates)

For those who lived in (B) the Consistory of Durham, search:

  1. Consistory of Carlisle
  2. Consistory of Durham (see Durham)
  3. Prerogative Court of York (see York for further details)
  4. Prerogative Court of Canterbury (see London: PCC)
  5. Court of Delegates, 1636- (see London: Delegates)

For those who lived in (C) the Deanery of Copeland, search:

  1. Deanery of Copeland
  2. Prerogative Court of York (see York for further details)
  3. Prerogative Court of Canterbury (see London: PCC)
  4. Court of Delegates, 1636- (see London: Delegates)

For those who lived anywhere in the county between 1653-1660, search:

  1. Prerogative Court of Canterbury (see London: PCC)

For those who lived anywhere in the county between 1812-1857, regardless of what is found in the probate records of any of the above courts, consider searching also the estate duty registers (see London: Estate Duty)

Microfilmed Calendars/Printed Indexes for the Consistory of Carlisle

  1. 1563-1599, (FHL and BYU film 90284)
    Volume 1 is a manuscript calendar listing wills, inventories and administrations. This calendar does not include the few original probate documents from 1558-1562 found at the start of FHL and BYU film 90288.
  2. 1600-1660, (FHL and BYU film 90284, item 2)
    Volume 2 is arranged in a similar manner as volume 1 but it appears to be incomplete, especially for inventories and administrations. It indicates that there are no records at all for 1645-1660 which conflicts with the records at the end of FHL film 90396 where 12 documents are found in the following order (the letters represent the initial letter in the surname of the person whose document was probated): 1648, B; 1658, L; 1659, R; 1657, W; 1656, P; 1648, R; 1647, T; 1648, W, N, B; 1647, B; and 1646, B.
  3. 1661-1750, (FHL 942 B4b) and (BYU CS 434 .B7) volume 110
    This is volume 110 of the Index Library Series (BRS). It indexes the original and registered copy wills, administrations, inventories, act books and tuition bonds, and includes the portion of Westmoreland covered by the Consistory of Carlisle as well as the three manorial courts in Westmoreland. "We" in the index refers to Westmoreland and the three manorial courts of Docker, Ravenstonedale and Temple Sowerby are respectively "Doc," "Rav" and "Tem.' The following is a typical entry:
    "Young, Tho., yeo., Dalston (Cumdivock). 1732 WI 306 [101]" Translation: there is an original will and inventory probated in 1732 for Thomas Young, yeoman of Cumdivock in the parish of Dalston. It is also found in the registered copy wills on folio 306 and in the act book for that year on folio 101. A nuncupative will is indicated by "Wn."
    The printed index ends with further indexes to occupations and places. Other counties with 10 or more entries are London/Middlesex and Northumberland. There are two entries of administrations pertinent to North American immigration:
    • Thomas Langhorne, late of Pennsylvania, 1689 administration and inventory
    • John Pinder, Quaker of Maryland, 1711 administration in Ravenstonedale
  4. 1751-1858, (FHL and BYU films 90285-90287)
    Volume 3 of the manuscript calendar actually covers A-K for 1700-1800. Volume 4 on film 90286 adds L-Z for the same time period. Volumes 5-6 on film 90287 cover A-J and K-Z for 1800-1858.

Microfilmed Records for the Consistory of Carlisle

The original wills and inventories were filmed from 1558-1726. The registered copy wills begin in 1727 and were filmed from that date through the start of 1858. They start on FHL and BYU film 90506 and are separately indexed, but are mistakenly referred to in the FHL catalog as "Original Wills." The administrations before 1662 are found with the original wills. There is a separate section of microfilms for the administrations and inventories from 1662-1726, including a number of nuncupative wills from 1662-1692 and some inventories for wills through 1716. NOT filmed were the original wills and administrations, 1727-1858 nor any of the act books. It also appears that the separate series of inventories, especially for 1727-1750 were not filmed. Research in the records not available on film will have to be done at the Cumbria Record Office in Carlisle. The current address can be obtained from the GENUKI web site for Cumberland under the subject of Archives.

NOTE: Where an initial film number is given, use either version of the FHL catalog to see all of the films in that collection. The previous version at FamilySearch may be a little easier to use for that purpose.

Printed Index for the Deanery of Copeland in the Archdeaconry of Richmond

1541-1857, (FHL 942.85 P22r)

This index was compiled by Neville Ramsden and published in 1997. He indexed the original wills and administrations as found on the microfilms of the FHL, but not the registered copy wills and act books. An extensive list of smaller places and the parishes to which they belonged is found on pages 26-39. His references refer to the county record office system and not that of the FHL. However, the FHL call numbers can be determined by matching the initial letter of the alphabet for a surname plus the years covered in the probates on his pages 14-20 with the FHL film numbers starting with film 98745.

Microfilmed Records for the Deanery of Copeland

The earliest original will actually was proven in 1466. The original wills, administrations, inventories and act books have all been microfilmed. The initial film for this series of records is FHL 98745. The registered copy wills are sparse but have been microfilmed twice as have the act books. Use the second filming for the registered wills and act books that starts with FHL film 2106746.

Miscellaneous Section

  1. Complete transcripts of all of the wills found in the register of the Bishop of Carlisle, 1353-1386 were compiled by R.S. Ferguson and published in 1893. (FHL 942.8 B4cwc, volume 9)
  2. 1564-1668, "Testamenta Carliolensia" (FHL and BYU film 252674). This appears to be a compilation prepared by J. Raines. See the Miscellaneous Section under Durham for a description of Raines' collections.
  3. Immigration studies will benefit from a study of probates at Carlisle published by Mrs. A.N.V. Turner in The Genealogists' Magazine 15(Sep. 1967):420-421 (FHL 942 B2gm and at BYU CS 410 .S61 in the compact shelving for pre-1987 periodicals). She found 14 wills and administrations, 1766-1848, for persons who died in the West Indies and another 14 documents, 1784-1853, for those connected with the Americas.
    Another entry for immigration studies will be found with the wills of the Deanery of Copeland for 1807-1810 on FHL and BYU film 99190. The first will on that film is for Jonathan Harris, merchant of Fredericksburg, Virginia. His sister was Isabella Williamson of Parton in Cumberland. For further details concerning finding these persons and the probate films for this county, including the first filming for the Deanery of Copeland, see David H. Pratt's Researching British Probates, 1354-1858 (FHL register table 942 P23p and BYU Religion/Family History Reference CS 434 .X1 P72 1992).
  4. The Northern Genealogist (FHL 942 B2ng) published extracts of wills for Cumberland residents proven at York as follows:
    • Volume 1 contains wills for John Hudson of Bowtherbeck in 1609, Sir Edward Musgrave of Hatton Castle in 1673, and James Adderton of Penreth in 1726.
    • Volume 3 contains wills for Sir Timothy Fetherstonhaugh of Kirk Ouswould in 1661/2, Patricius Senhouse of Bridekirk in 1682, William Ferryes of Whitehaven in 1711, Thomas Benson of Stanwix in 1727, George Brownrigg of Wigton in 1727, Sir George Fleming of Carlisle in 1747, Barbara Relffe of Cockermouth in 1727, William Pearson of Bridekirk in 1777, Henry Fletcher Partis of Tallentire Hall in 1777, John Langton of Cockermouth in 1777, Mary Grayburne of Whitehaven in 1795, John Dodgson of Bridekirk in 1779, and Thomas Irwen of Aldston in 1779.
    • Volume 6 adds the will of John Curwen of Workington in 1530.
  5. Another useful tool is Index and Extracts of Cumbrians in Wills Proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury compiled by Jim Richardson and Ron Shaw and published in 1984. (FHL 942.8 P2i)
  6. There is also an index to wills and administrations, 1857-1900, for the Deanery of Copeland compiled by Neville Ramsden (FHL 942.85 P22rn).
  7. The Surtees Society published abstracts from wills of the northern counties, including Cumberland, from the medieval period to about 1580 in volumes 1, 26, 116, and 121 that are now online. Start with Medieval Genealogy.