How to look for records of... Death duties 1796-1903
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
This is a brief guide to researching death duty records between 1796 and 1903. Death duty records can be complicated and difficult to understand, so some patience may be required when researching these records.
The majority of the records which still exist can be found either online or at The National Archives in Kew.
What do I need to know before I start?
What records can I see online?
What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?
What records can I find in other archives and organisations?
What other resources will help me find information?
Did you know?
Death duty was introduced in 1796.
Many people left estates which were liable for death duties. From 1858 there should be a death duty record for all estates worth more than £20.
Death duty registers can be complicated to interpret. Refer to the research guide Death duties 1796-1903: further research for more information on how to do this.
When searching the death duty registers, you may find:
- a date of death
- information about beneficiaries
- the next of kin
- their exact relationship to the deceased
From 1815, additional information is sometimes included, such as:
- the date of death of the spouse
- the dates of the death or marriage of beneficiaries
- the births of posthumous children and grandchildren
- the changes of address and references to law suits
After 1903, death duty registers were replaced with a system of individual files which were destroyed 30 years after being closed – there are therefore no registers after 1903.