Could your fame and fortune lie in some British files?

WAS there someone rich in your family history who grew up the billowing Union Jack?

As Australia marks the Queen's Birthday, they can now also hunt for fortune or fame through their family trees.

Online genealogical database Ancestry is opening the doors to its British records online for four days from the start of Friday until the end of Monday.

For those seeking wealth, these records include the England and Wales National Probate Calendar files from 1858 to 1966.

These catalogue the equivalent of $1 trillion in Australian dollars. The average value of each will is about $151,000.

It also includes records from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills that stretch for almost 500 years from 1384 to 1858.

If there is a family tale passed down generation to generation about a pile of money never collected, or a very rich ancestor who ran an industrial empire -- this could be worth a look.

Maybe you just want to hunt down the records of some famed historical characters, including:

Winston Churchill - The former British Prime Minister left behind effects totalling £304,044, equivalent to AU$10.4 million today3, to his beloved wife Clementine in 1965. Churchill was bankrupt at one point in his life, making this rise to wealth all the more impressive

George Orwelll (Eric Arthur Blair), who in 1950 it is known he had but £9,908 (nearly AU$601,000 today) to his name. The family saw a slow and steady fall from fortune, with Orwell's 3x Great Grandfather, Thomas Fane, being the 8th Earl of Westmorland

• Beatrix Potter - The successful female author left £211,636 to her husband William in 1943, approximately over AU$17 million today

• Jane Austen - Upon her death on 18th July 1817, the Pride and Prejudice author possessed assets totalling around £800, approximately AU$121,300 today, of which the majority was given to her beloved sister Cassandra

• Charles Darwin - The acclaimed naturalist is listed as having left a personal estate worth £146,911 when he died in 1882, which is around AU$31 million today

For those who aren't so sure of their background, this is the time to find out where you come from. And whether you do have links the grand Brittania.

Ancestry Content Director Ben Mercer, said: "Wills provide a last chance to have an impact on those we leave behind. Probate records like these provide a unique insight into the parting wishes of our ancestors and can help us stitch together the stories of the past and the material wealth of family members gone."

To search more than one billion UK records for free this long weekend, head to the Ancestry website.

 



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