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Irish Probate Records 

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Content by
Linda Jonas 2006

Probate Records

Probate Calendar 1858 to 1917

In 1858 District Probate Registries were established in Ireland. The Dublin Principal Probate Registry had direct jurisdiction over the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, and part of Offaly (King's), and a general jurisdiction over all of Ireland to 1920. Since that time, the Dublin Principal Probate Registry covers only the Republic of Ireland. The eleven district registries include Armagh, Ballina, Belfast, Cavan, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, Londonderry, Mullingar, Tuam, and Waterford.

Wills and administrations are calendared in Calendar of the grants of probate and letters of administration made in the principal registry and in the several district registries, 1858-1920. The calendar combines extracts from the records of the 11 district registries and the Principal Registry into one series. The extracts give the name of the deceased, residence & date of death, date & district of administration or probate, and names of executors or administrators. The calendars from 1858 to 1917 are on films 0100968 to 0101006. The "general index" on films 0100965 to 0100967 is a shortened index to the calendars.

Prerogative Court of Armagh

Prior to 1858, there were twenty-eight diocesan courts that probated wills. In addition, the Prerogative Court of Armagh (PCA) had probate jurisdiction for all of Ireland over all persons with goods valued at more than five pounds in more than one diocese.

All of the original records of the PCA were destroyed in 1922; only indexes and six will books remain. The will indexes 1536-1858, surviving will books 1644-1834, and indexes to administration grants 1595-1858 are on microfilms 100893 to 100910.

Although the wills may no longer exist, there are many abstracts. See Genealogical Abstracts of Prerogative Wills of Ireland on films 0595939 - 0595945 and 0596139. These were done by Sir William Betham before the destruction of the records in 1922 and are arranged alphabetically. For administrations, see Prerogative Court Records, Dublin, Ireland, film 0100114, which is an alphabetical version of Betham's abstracts of grants of administration. See also Sir Arthur Vicars, ed. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810.. There are three formats: book, FHL fiche number 6026394, and on Family Tree Maker CD 275.

Other Probate Courts

To find records in the twenty-eight diocesan courts, see the list of counties with the respective dioceses that handled wills and administrations prior to 1858 in Irish Counties and Their Dioceses. The diocesan indexes are on FHL films 0100911 - 0100917 and 0100958 - 0100964. For a general description of Irish probates, see chapter 8 "Wills & Administrations: A Prime Source for Family Research" in Donal F Begley, Irish Genealogy: A Record Finder. One good index is W.P.W. Phillimore and Gertrude Thrift, eds. Indexes to Irish Wills, available in three formats: on film 0100959, fiche 6036097 and on Family Tree Maker CD 275.

Wills at National Archives of Ireland

An excellent index to wills is Eneclann's Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858 at the National Archives of Ireland. This index is on compact disc.

PRONI Card Index to Wills 1536-1920

The wills held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland have been indexed by surname on the following microfilms:

PRONI Card Index to Wills

 

Surnames

Years Covered

Microfilm Number

A - D 1536-1857 1565605
E - L 1536-1857 1565578
Mac - Mc; M - R 1536-1857 1565672
S - Y 1536-1857 1565673
A - Mc 1858-1920 1565674
M - Y 1858-1920 1565675
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Project Administrators:  Roy Keys and Linda Jonas