Digital Archive Makes Historic Wills Available to View Online

March 9th, 2015

41 million wills registered in England and Wales dating back to 1858 have been digitised and made available online in a Government-backed scheme to help people find out more about their ancestry and the lives of historical figures.

This digitising project, run by HM Courts and Tribunals service, has created an entirely digital archive that can be accessed for a small fee by anyone around the world wishing to view specific wills.

Among the archives are the wills of authors Charles Dickens, AA Milne and George Orwell. Dickens requested in his will not to be the subject of any “monument, memorial or testimonial whatsoever”, a request that has been broken not once but three times since his death in 1870. AA Milne is said to have left his fortune to a London club and his former school in Westminster while Orwell wanted his manuscripts preserved.

These newly digitised will open up a fascinating world for us to explore. Particularly interesting for us up here at our Manchester office was the inclusion of the will of Alan Turing. The ‘father of computer science’ has many memorials in the city and his will briefly shared his possessions between his mother and a few close colleagues.

Aside from well-known historical figures, this digital archive will also give the general public paid access to the wills of their relatives. So, rather than having to visit a probate registry, the documents can be requested and received online in the 10 day period instead.

This news once again proves the value of digitising to preserve the future of valuable information. Back in 2013, the wills of WW1 soldiers were also digitised to safeguard the pieces of history previouslystored as physical copies in temperature-controlled rooms.

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Here at Pearl Scan, we offer a completely bespoke archives digitisation service so whether you want to scan books, manuscripts, newspapers or fragile documents, we can provide the perfect solutions for you. We have the facilities to scan a wide range of projects to produce high quality, text searchable images, perfect for digital archives. Fragile items are treated with the utmost care and all scanned images are put through extensive quality checks before delivery.

If you would like some more information on the archives digitisation service we offer, get in touch today to speak to a member of our dedicated and experienced team. For a free, no obligation quote for your scanning project, complete our online ‘request a quote’ form by following the relevant links below.