Kinsey Wills Now Online at the National Library of Wales

Through the Powys Mail List at, has come word that the National Library of Wales has put their entire collection of will and probate records online.

About the collection:

The collection covers wills and probate records that were proved in the Welsh ecclesiastical courts up to 1858 when the civil probate system was instituted.

The covering dates of the surviving probate records are:
  • Bangor: 1635 - 1858
  • Brecon: 1543 - 1858
  • Chester (Welsh wills): 1557 - 1858
  • Hawarden: 1554 - 1858
  • Llandaf: 1568 - 1857
  • St Asaph: 1565 - 1857
  • St David's: 1556 - 1858
Most of the related Kinsey wills are from the Dioceses of Brecon, Bangor and St Asaph.

Those who had property in more than one diocese would have had their wills proved in England at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Those wills are available at the National Archives in London and also on their website.

There are about a dozen wills at DocumentsOnline that are directly related to the Kinsey family of Montgomeryshire, Wales.

About the images:

The release of the images on the web has come with little fanfare. However, in spite of the fact that there has been little fanfare on this release, this does not diminish the great importance of these records to both historians and genealogists alike.

The images are available a simple yet powerful search window and the results are displayed in an easy-to-read format.

When clicked on the images are displayed using Adobe Flash. This has an upside and a downside. The upside is that they can be viewed without any extra software or plug-ins. Also, this means that they can be viewed easily in any browser and on any platform (Mac, PC or Linux.) The downside is that currently the images are not easily printable or downloaded.

Ideally, I would liked to have seen a link for downloading the file for viewing offline.

Another great feature is that the images are available for free thus allowing viewing to all who are interested.

The quality of the images is very good and I could easily zoom in and out. I did however find the size of the window rather limiting.

Kinsey wills in the collection:

There are dozens of wills in the collection that are central to the family tree of Stephen Wilson Kinsey and Ann Wilson, his wife. Here is a little on some of the more interesting files:

Stephen Kinsey of Berthddu Farm, Llandinam

The most important is probably is that of Stephen Kinsey of Berthddu Farm, Llandinam. He is Stephen Wilson Kinsey's grandfather. He passed away on 18 April 1854 and was buried in nearby Capel Banhadlog Cemetery.

His will says the following:
This is the last Will and Testament of Stephen Kinsey of Birthddu in the Parish of Llandinam in the County of Montgomery, farmer, made this thirteenth day of December, One thousand eight hundred and fifty three.

First, I give and bequeath to my son Stephen Kinsey, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, all my share or part (i.e.) that is the half of all those two messuages, Lands, Hereditaments and premises, call and known by the name of Brinhusklwyn and Talbot, situate in the Parish of Llandinam and County of Montgomery; Subject nevertheless to him paying to my son Evan Kinsey, the sum of Seven pounds annually for the term of his life, and to have the same quarterly by him sending for the same. And the said Stephen Kinsey (my son) to pay to my son David Kinsey the sum of Twelve Pounds annually, for the three first years after my decease; and Ten Pounds annually afterwards for the term of his natural life; and that he said Stephen Kinsey, my son, and his heirs do and will make the first payment (to my sons Evan and David before named) as soon as he shall receive the first payment after my decease; being the usual time that I was used to receive the same myself.

I also give and bequeath to my son Evan (before named) my best suit of clothes.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Ann Evans the sum of Five pounds in money.

I also give and bequeath to my daughter Sarah Soley Five pounds in money, if ever she comes to this country.

I also give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Home the sum of Fifteen pounds in money.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret Kinsey my clock, and Dresser, subject to her not removing the same till twelve months after my decease.

I give and bequeath to my Grandaughter (sic) Ann Soley a new bed, bed clothes and other matters appertaining thereto respectively, a chest of drawers my round Table in the Parlour a Cupboard which is in my bed room, half a dozen small silver tea spoons, and Four Pounds in money.

I give and bequeath to my Grandson George Soley Three Pounds in money.

Finally, I give and bequeath to my son David Kinsey and his heirs executors, administrators, for ever; and whom I make my sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament; all those messuage Land and Testaments premices thereto belonging; called Tan y bryn and Waenwastad, situate in the Parish of Trefeglwys in the County of Montgomery; and likewise all my live and dead Stock on Birthddu farm, Goods and Chattels, Monies in the House and elsewhere, and all my personal effects wheresoever and whatsoever, subject to him paying all my just debts, and funeral expenses. And I hereby revoke all former wills made by me, and declare this to be my last. In Witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal the day and year first within written.

Signed, Sealed and Published by the Testator Stephen Kinsey in presence of us who were present at the same time and who have in presence of each other, and of the Testator and at his request signed our names as “Witnesses” hereto.

Stephen Kinsey; Richard Powell, Junior; Edward Meredith; William Cleaton

On the 3rd day of May in the year of our Lord 1854 the within written Will was instate, proved, approved and in common form of law decreed valid and Administration granted to the within named Executor David Kinsey, the being first sworn in common form of law and that the whole of the goods, chattels and credits of the said deceased do not amount in value to 800 Pounds.

Wm Morgan, Surrogate.

The deceased died the 13th April 1854.
A few notes from the will:
  • Sarah Soley appears to be out of the country. Thus, a search of the 1851 and 1861 censuses is needed.
  • Daughter Ann has married an Evans.
  • Mary, a previously unknown daughter, married a Home? This needs to be searched further
  • Eleanor had previously passed away in 1836. It is thought that she had a mental disability.
  • Finally, son Timothy is not mentioned and thus some research needs to be done there as he was still alive at the time.
Roger Wilson of Llandinam

Roger Wilson was Stephen Wilson Kinsey's maternal grandfather. His will is also on the NLW website but his file is a Probate Record or as it is normally called today a Letter of Administration. This kind of document is used when the deceased has not left a will.

Roger's will is interesting in two regards. First, his wife Anne Wilson (nee Hughes) became his sole executor. From her signature we find that she is unable to write her own name. Also, Stephen Kinsey, Senior (the same as the previous will) was a witness.

The 4th and final page of the will I find the most interesting and that is the record of all his assets when he died. Every horse, harness and sheep is listed and it gives a glimpse of the lives that our Montgomeryshire ancestors lived.

Concluding comments:

There are dozens of other Kinseys and other related family members who are also on the site. The exploring them will be a pleasure, but it will take a lot of time. All in all, the greatest surprise still is that no one has talked about this major release.


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