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Search the Irish Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858-1920 : Online and Free

The Irish Government continues to lead the way in making family history records online and free. This time it’s through the Irish National Archives’ Calendars of Wills and Administrations.

My last will graphic in Blog post about Irish Calendars of Wills and Administration.

I count wills and testamentary documents as being among the most important of genealogy records as they often provide information and insights into our ancestors which are not available elsewhere. For example, I recently obtained a will for a client’s great, great grandfather and discovered he had disinherited one of his four sons, leaving him only a gold watch from his considerable wealth. The same person also instructed that any moneys given to his adult children were to be deducted from their inheritance in the interests of fairness across his large family.

What are Calendars of Wills and Administrations?

So what are Calendars of Wills and Administrations? Before someone’s will can be implemented following their death, probate must be granted by a court. If someone dies without a will, then the court can grant letters of administration for disposal of the estate. They are indexed in the Calendars of Wills and Administrations. Despite being an index, the Calendars are actually very useful summaries.

Why are they useful?

The Irish Calendars of Wills and Administrations are particularly helpful because they pre-date civil registration and are therefore useful in identifying a person’s date and place of death. They also list members of the deceased person’s family, place of residence and value of their assets at the time of death. The Calendars can be searched by one or more of the following:

  • Name of deceased;

  • Name of Executor or Beneficiary;

  • Date of Death;

  • County of Death;

  • Type of Document (either Probate or Administration).

The Calendars cover the period 1858-1920 which of course means you will find ancestors for the whole of Ireland up to 1917. From 1918-1920 the records are only available for the 26 counties of the Republic (with the remaining 6 counties available from the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland). The Calendars of Wills and Administrations for Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry are also searchable online at

It wasn't just wealthy people who left wills. In this database you will find details of the great and the good as well as the poor and the wealthy.

Ease of use

As you'll see from the following pictures, the database is very easy to use.

Step 1: - enter your search details. In this case I'm searching for Bridget Moloney who died in 1908.

Search screen graphic

Step 2 : Review the options and click the person you want. In this case I want the fourth option for the Bridget Moloney who died in Tipperary.

Search results graphic

Step 3 : The following index is presented. Click Image below the text to see the whole record.

Sample of an index record retrieved from the database

Step 4 : The Calendar entry is retrieved and shows a summary of the case.

The Calendars of Wills and Administrations is a valuable Irish genealogical resource which is online and free. If it's not already in your tool kit then I strongly suggest it should be.

How did you go?

Did you find the Irish Calendars of Wills and Administration useful? Were and of your ancestors in the database? Let me know in the Comments Section below.

If you know anyone who might also find this online and free resource helpful, don't hesitate to send them a link to this Blog page.

Therese Lynch

Your Family Genealogist

Pictures : courtesy of Pixabay

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