Many of you will be aware that the post 1858 probate calendars are available on Ancestry.co.uk for the period 1861 – 1941 (why they start at 1861 not at 1858 goodness only knows !!). Now it seems they are to be online on the official Probate Service website starting from later this year.
A few years back I spoke to Joshua Hanna who at that time was the head of Ancestry.co.uk and he told me that he had approached the Probate Service to allow the calendars to go online and they had refused. Amazing what a difference in attitude a few years can make.
Searches are to be free with the facility for online purchasing of copies of full documents if required. From 1996 onwards the calendars are entered onto a database which will be available, but will have some details omitted such as living executors to protect privacy.
Another rather exciting announcement was that 300,000 wills of soldiers killed in action in conflicts from the Crimean War onwards are to be released by the end of this year. It appears that the Ministry of Defence dealt with those so they have never been included in the existing calendars. This is an important set of documents and I am sure will be widely used by genealogists, again once the entry is found in the calendars copies of the will will be able to be purchased online.
They is no indication how much a full set of probate documents will cost.
I am grateful to Geoff Swinfield at http://researchlondon.info/ for this information.