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Adamthwaite Archive

"The website IS the one-name study!"



Death Duty records

The Archive of Indexes to Death Duty Registers contains digitised images of the original indexes created by the Estate Duty Office (later to become the Inland Revenue) of all wills and administrations attracting Death Duties from all the Probate Courts in England and Wales. The original indexes are held by The National Archives, London, England, under the series title IR27 and are made available on Find My Past under licence.

The Australian records which have recently been added are available at

death duty thumbnail Small Web view

Details of Adamthwaites found on the Find My Past index

Click on the image above to open a pdf file containing all the information we have found to date for Adamthwaites, including some where we have not yet found the Will/Administration.  The pdf file is two pages of A4 portrait size - you will probably need to enlarge the image using your Reader browser.


We hope that using the details shown on the attached pdf, we may be able to track down some more wills.  NB: a note has been added to the Deaths spreadsheets to indicate where we already hold a will or death duty reference.


The information in the Death Duty Register gives different information to a will or administration and may contain details not found elsewhere. The registers were created by the office responsible for collecting taxes on personal estates. Details of what the estate was actually worth after debts and expenses and what the beneficiaries received can be recorded. In addition to the last address and occupation of the deceased, they can give the date of the will, the names, addresses and occupations of the executors, and details of estates, legacies, and trustees. They may also give the date of death and information about beneficiaries and family relationships. The registers could be annotated for many years after the first entry and therefore, can include information such as dates of death of spouse; dates of death or marriage of beneficiaries and grandchildren and further residential addresses.


The index forms a national index to all wills and administrations which attracted death duties between the dates of 1796 to 1903. If you are looking for an English or Welsh will or administrations between these dates, the index can be used as a short cut to finding in which of the many probate courts the will was proven or letters of administration granted. With this information you may be able to obtain a copy of the will or administration. Not every will or administration is covered but, after 1815, most should be traceable through the online index on 'Find My Past'.


Original Death Duty Registers may be hard to access: you have to visit The National Archives at Kew (and even if you hold the reference details from Find My Past, it is a fairly tortuous process to identify the correct microfilm) Then, when you finally get to view them, many are a nightmare to read as the images are compressed from huge ledgers, written in spidery, fading script onto a scratchy microfilm - but, boy, do they provide useful and interesting information!  An example of one particularly tortuous Death Duty Record is that for Rev John Adamthwaite of Winton - but this article about him in the Miscellany section was well worth the several days spent poring over the Death Duty records for Rev John and his 'housekeeper' Hannah Ratson!

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