Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Rabbit Holes With Randy -- Wiltshire Probate Records

 I spent over two hours today going down this rabbit hole trying to find records for my ancestral families.  One of my great-grandparents, Thomas Richmond (1848-1917), was born in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England to James and Hannah (Rich) Richman.  I have been to Hilperton (in 1993) for research, but could access only probate record abstracts at the County Record Office in Trowbridge. added the Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probates, 1530-1858 collection back in 2018, but I have not done a deep dive into these records.  Since then I have been working on finding the ancestors of John and Ann (Marshman) Richman of Hilperton and have been fairly successful working in the parish registers and AncestryDNA matches.  I have working hypotheses for the parents, grandparents and some great-grandparents of John Richman (1789-1867) and Ann Marshman (1784-1856) of Hilperton, parents of James Richman and grandparents of Thomas Richmond.  My hope is that the probate records in Wiltshire will provide conclusive evidence of the ancestors of John and Ann (Marshman) Richmond.

I started off searching for Richman probates in the collection.  Here is the list of John Richman entries:   

Any one of these could be my ancestor, so I'm going to collect all of them, read them, and evaluate them.

Here is the record summary for John Ritchman of Hilperton Marsh, who died in 1717:

The will is handwritten, and I struggled to read it:

The source citation for this will is:

"Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858 ," indexed database with record images, ( : accessed 14 December 2021), P02: Probate records of the Archdeaconry of Salisbury, file P2/R/522, images 4470-4473 of 5942, Will of John Ritchman of Hilperton Marsh, dated 20 March 1717, proved 1718.

I looked for all of the Richman probate records for 1600 to 1858 and reviewed quite a few of them.  I think the above John Ritchman is the only one for my ancestral line I've found to date.  He is probably the 2nd great-grandfather of my John Richman (1789-1867), through his son Mark Richman, then Joseph, then John, and then John Richman (1789-1867).  I found no probate records for Mark, Joseph, John, or John or their spouses.  

The other surname is Marshman, and I found a beautiful probate record for John Marshman (1713-1761) of Melksham, who I think is the grandfather of Ann Marshman:

Jane Marshman was the widow of her husband, John Marshman, innkeeper, and the two administrators chosen and appointed were George Drinkwater and John Marshman (perhaps an uncle or a cousin of the deceased).  The record does not mention children, but they may all be underage.  

The source citation is;

Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858 ," indexed database with record images, ( : accessed 14 December 2021), P02: Probate records of the Archdeaconry of Salisbury, file P2/M/1144, images 4470-4473 of 5942, Letter of Administration for estate of John Marshman of Melksham, dated 3 October 1761.

John and Jane (Crook) Marshman may be the grandparents of Ann Marshman through their son, John Marshman (1747-????) who married Anne Angel (1749-1795) in 1767.

I suggest that you keep your eye out for new record collections as they become available. has a nice, indexed collection for Wiltshire probate records, and for other English counties, but not for all of them.  I'm looking for Somerset and Lancashire probate records when they become available.

So this was another fun escape into the rabbit hole of genealogy research and I had a lot of fun doing it.  I have more work to do in these records in the next week, since I haven't looked for the Rich family of Hilperton yet.


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1 comment:

Brighton Transista said...

Unfortunately the probate records of the Taunton archdeaconry, which covers most of Somerset, were destroyed in a 1942 bombing of Exeter. Some extracts and a limited index exist but I fear you'll find them of little help.