We were quite excited to discover that a number of wills – some from incredibly famous stars, were to be made available online for those interested. Apparently we weren’t the only ones and more than six million people have also used the archive to buy copies of wills in only one month.
The archive itself contains more than 41 million wills, all of which have been held by the Probate Registry since the year 1858 when the documents were first made public records. Some of the famous wills included in the archive are that of Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon and JRR Tolkien.
The online archive was launched late last year and was carried out by the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and Iron Mountain – an information management and storage company. The 41 million wills now available followed on from an initial stage when soldiers' wills were made available, which launched in 2013. Since the launch of the project, around 25,000 wills have been bought from the main archive and two million searches have been made on the soldiers' archive.
Lord Faulks, the Justice Minister, said: "I am delighted so many people have taken advantage of our unique archive of wills and are looking into the histories of their families. This is an incredible resource and I'm not surprised in the slightest that it has captured the public imagination so strongly."
The archive is an example of the ongoing effort by the government to make certain services more readily available to the public. Have you used the service at all yet? Do you think it's a useful resource to have?