Episcopal Wills

Though there was an early 19thC index to episcopal wills this was incomplete (lacking entries pre 1679) and also missing others - unlike the post-1700 wills that passed through the Archideaconal court these wills wills were not numbered - they also contain many additional entries (e.g. Presentments) - however they were filmed by the Mormons in 1944 and those post c. 1700 for a second time in early 1960's - the index page maps the Manx Museum microfilm number against that needed to order copies of the film.

A small team of volunteers led by the late Leslie Quilliam over some 15 years from 1990 produced an index to the wills contained in the two microfilm series EW and GL covering wills from 1605 to 1800 that were dealt with by the Episcopal Court.

The index in the Museum is a paper copy arranged in two thick ring binders, each film indexed by frame number which makes searching for a specific name very tedious - though these indices were computer produced (on a BBC micro I think) the original data source appears to have been lost - I have started on a project to OCR the paper copies and rearrange them in name order.

The description of each entry as per paper index is:
This index is made up of a Page Number - A page refers to a double page of the record book, opened out flat. Note this means that a page and the reverse will be found on successive frames.
The name of the Testator or Testatrix and the Parish in which the Will or Administration are recorded.
A 2-letter abbreviation of Parish Name is used


In addition, BALLASALLA is abbreviated as BS (mapped to MW here), CASTLETOWN as CT, DOUGLAS as DO, LAXEY as LY (mapped to LN), PEEL as PL (mapped to GN) and RAMSEY as RY

Women, whose maiden and married names can both be determined, are listed with née, or where the former is not apparent, with alias. Note both in the original index and also that done by Brian Lawson to add those found on EW22/EW25 women are often indexed by family rather than married name - where is is possible from inspection of the will I have followed the indexing by married name adopted by Quilliam et al.

Spellings are as found and may not be consistent with modern usage.

Damage to the pages of the Will Books recorded on this film sometimes makes it difficult to determine the names of the Testators and the Parishes where the wills are recorded. A little detective work may then be necessary, including reference to Defuncts Lists, which occur at intervals throughout the Will Books.

There was also a Card index to information found in the wills - this is another paper based index - no work has been done on this as I intend to summarise the various wills as I have done elsewherefor those post 1700.

The index did not give the year of the will - though this will be added once I have finished the name index - I will probably also add a normalised name index at the same time.

Note it is the intention of the Manx Museum to digitise and re-index the wills though it will be many years before this is complete however some conservation work has started preparatory to a refilming

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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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