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Irish Genealogy Research: Recovering from the Four Courts losses
Search Wills and Probate records in the National Wills Index
Probate Jurisdictions: Where to look for wills
Irish Wills Index  1484-1858
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Default Year Range is 1016-1917 to cover those records which appear outside the main year range (1484-1858).
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About Irish Wills Index 1484-1858
The vast majority of Ireland's testamentary records (wills, administrations, probates, etc.) were lost in destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) in 1922 - but not everything. Staff at the PROI (now the National Archives of Ireland) have spent the last 82 years trying to recover from that loss, and today there are thousands of testamentary records again, although they are not always easy to find.

It became clear that an index to these records was needed, to make it easier for researchers to locate what is available. The Irish Wills Index aims to answer that need.

The index covers records at the National Archives of Ireland, and is only concerned with records that survive in more than index form, ie where original documents, copies, transcripts, abstracts or extracts exist.

The index covers the years up to 1858, after which the whole testamentary system was fundamentally overhauled. Prior to this the established church (the Church of Ireland) had authority over all testamentary matters, including proving wills, grants of probate and administrations.

This took place at the local diocesan or consistorial courts in each Diocese. There was also a central Prerogative Court, under the authority of the Archbishop of Armagh as Primate of Ireland, which dealt with testamentary matters where the deceased's property was assessed to be worth more than £5 in more than one diocese, ie. where the deceased was likely to be from the wealthiest sector of Irish society.

For more details on the index see About Irish Wills Index 1484-1858