General Meeting and Lecture: May 2, 2013

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Speaker: Christine Bell Green, PhD, PLCGS

Lecture Topic:
Researching Probate Records and Death Duties in the UK

As genealogists we are constantly challenged in determining family relationships with certainty. And the further back in time we go, the more complex the task. Our ancestors were surprisingly mobile, even in “the old country,” frequently making it difficult to find the parents of an adult child. Wills, when available, and, during the 19th century, “death duty” records can be instrumental in providing primary information about these family relationships. But where can these records be found and what information can one obtain from them?

When and where your ancestor died are the keys determining where to begin your search. England and Wales used one series of courts, Ireland another, and Scotland yet a third set. Prior to the middle of the 19th century, Ecclesiastical courts in England, Wales, and Ireland had jurisdiction. The wills might be found in the records of Prerogative Courts (the highest level), Diocesan courts, or “Peculiar” courts. Fortunately modern wills are a little easier to find. The inheritance laws in Scotland are different again. There’s a lot to learn! And yes, it can feel like one is wandering through a maze at times. But the rewards are frequently spectacular.

Chris Green is a professional genealogist who has been researching her British roots for over 10 years. She has a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS) from Toronto University, Canada, where she specialized in English and American records and is an alumna of ProGen. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and numerous other genealogical societies in the US and UK.

Chris lives in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, and is current president of the San Mateo County Genealogy Society and a former SMCGS VP of Programs. Chris is passionate about genealogical education. She teaches and lectures on a variety of genealogical topics in the Bay Area and is a member of the SMCGS team that runs two highly-successful seminars a year with nationally-known speakers. When not immersed in genealogy, Chris likes to travel with her husband to visit their family who live in England, Germany, New Zealand, as well as in the US. In her other life, Chris runs a marketing research company.