Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858 - 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.
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 our Reading Room.
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 www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives/will_calendars/wills_search.
On this section of our Genealogy pages, you can search the Calendars (aphabetical indexes) of Wills and Administrations for the years 1858 – 1920. You can search pdfs for those from 1922 to 1982 on the main National Archives website. Further information on how to search these is available at www.nationalarchives.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Will-calendar-search-guide.pdf. The records for 1921 have not been microfilmed, and therefore not digitised, but it is hoped to digitise them in the future.
An entry in the Calendars gives you:
Name, address, occupation and financial effects on death of testator (person who made the will);
Date of death of testator;
Date and place of probate of will or grant of letters of administration;
Name(s) and address(es) of executors/beneficiaries of the will, and relationship, if it exists, to testator;
Marital status of all women mentioned.
See sample page from the digitised images: http://test.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/cwa/005014910/005014910_00159.pdf.
You can search by:
Name of testator or executor/beneficiary;
Date of death;
County of death;
Type of document.
See Search page: http://cwa.nationalarchives.ie/
See Search Results page: http://cwa.nationalarchives.ie/search/cwa/details.jsp?id=1639731704
Click on “image” on this page and you will be brought to the relevant page in the Calendar.
Errors may be reported through our automated Error Transcription Report, which you will find on the Search Results page.
Important: the fact that there is an entry in the Calendar does not mean that the will or letters of administration referred to survives. There are copies of all wills proved elsewhere than the Principal Registry from 1858 to 1922 available in the National Archives. There is a full set of original wills for everywhere except the Principal Registry from 1900 on, and for the Principal Registry from 1904 on.