Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Irish Wills 1858 - 1920

The National Archives of Ireland have made available on-line tools to search for Irish wills from 1858 to 1920. Wills and testamentary records are of assistance to genealogists as evidence of the date of a person’s death and for other information which they may contain concerning the dead person’s family, place of residence and property.
In Ireland, before a will can take effect, a grant of probate must be made by a court. If someone dies without having made a will, the court can grant letters of administration for the disposal of the estate. Since 1858, grants of probate and administration have been made in the Principal and District Registries of the Probate Court (before 1877) or the High Court (after 1877). They are indexed in the Calendars of Wills and Administrations, which up to now, have only been available in the Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland.
Up to 1917, the Calendars cover the whole of Ireland, but since 1918 they cover only the 26 counties in the Republic; those indexes covering the six counties of Northern Ireland since 1918 are in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). The Calendars of Wills and Administrations for Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry are searchable online at
You can search the Calendars (alphabetical indexes) of Wills and Administrations for the years 1858 – 1920 and pdfs for those from 1922 to 1982 on the main National Archives website. Further information on how to search these is available at The records for 1921 have not been microfilmed, and therefore not digitised, but it is hoped to digitise them in the future.

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