Wills and probate
Wills and probate courts weren't just for the rich and famous (or infamous!), and their records can offer a unique insight into the lives and relative wealth of your forebears.
At first glance it would be easy to dismiss the Great Western Railway Shareholders records as unlikely to have any information about your relatives. However, the details you will find here are not dependent upon a family member having been a railway worker. Rather, over 440,000 individuals are named, alongside details of their address, marital status, dates of death and other events - which is actually a rather large number of the UK population!
Coupled with the fact that our Wills and probate records date back as far as 1462 (from various, countrywide sources, including the Bank of England and the Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index), and it's easy to see how useful, and interesting, these documents can prove to be.