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Pre-1858 Probate Jurisdictions: Southern Ireland

Pre-1858 probate jurisdictions in Southern Ireland
Ireland Before 1858:

Ireland was subject to the over-riding jurisdiction of the archbishop of Armagh, (Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Armagh) and within his province there were some 28 dioceses with the normal consistory courts and at least two peculiars. There were no archdeaconry courts. Virtually all the records of these courts were destroyed in 1922.

Counties (emboldened) and the main consistory court jurisdictions in which they lay:
  • Antrim: Mainly in Connor.
  • Armagh: Mainly in Armagh.
  • Carlow: in Leighlin.
  • Cavan: Mainly in Kilmore.
  • Clare: Mainly in Killaloe and Kilfenora.
  • Cork: Mainly in Cloyne.
  • Donegal: Mainly in Raphoe.
  • Down: Mainly in Down and Dromore, and the peculiar of Newry and Mourne.
  • Dublin: In Dublin.
  • Fermanagh: Mainly in Clogher.
  • Galway: Mainly in Clonfert and Kilmacduagh.
  • Kerry: In Ardfert and Aghadoe.
  • Kildare: Partly in Dublin (for which see co. Dublin) and partly in Kildare.
  • Kilkenny: Mainly Ossory.
  • King's County (Offaly): Mainly in Kildare (see co. Kildare) and Killaloe and Kilfenora (see co. Clare).
  • Leitrim: Mainly in Kilmore (see co. Cavan) and partly in Ardagh (see co. Longford).
  • Limerick: Mainly in Limerick.
  • Londonderry: Mainly in Derry.
  • Longford: Mainly in Ardagh.
  • Louth: Mainly in Armagh (see co. Armagh).
  • Mayo: In Killala and Achonry.
  • Meath: Mainly in Meath.
  • Monaghan: In Clogher (see co. Fermanagh).
  • Queen's County (Leix): Mainly in Leighlin (see co. Carlow) and Ossory (see co. Kilkenny).
  • Roscommon: Mainly in Elphin.
  • Sligo: Mainly in Killala and Achonry (see co. Mayo) and Elphin (see co. Roscommon).
  • Tipperary: Mainly in Cashel and Emly (see co. Limerick) and Killaloe and Kilfenora (see co. Clare).
  • Tyrone: Mainly in Derry (see co. Londonderry) and Armagh (see co. Armagh).
  • Waterford: In Waterford and Lismore, with peculiar of the dean of Lismore. .
  • Westmeath: Mainly in Meath. Also Ardagh (see co. Longford).
  • Wexford: Mainly in Ferns. Also Dublin (see co. Dublin).
  • Wicklow: Mainly in Dublin (see co. Dublin). Also Ferns (see co. Wexford) and Leighlin (see co. Carlow).
Unlike English, Welsh and Scottish counties, those in Ireland rarely coincided exactly with probate jurisdictions.
Irish Probate Records in Irish Origins
Irish Wills Index 1484-1858
The current 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.
Dublin Will and Grant Books Index 1270-1858 Images available
Deputy Keeper of Ireland, Index to the Act or Grant Books, and to Original Wills, of the Diocese of Dublin 1634-1858, 26th, 30th and 31st Reports, 1894, 1899
Dublin diocesan court covered all of County Dublin, most of County Wicklow, large stretches of east and south Kildare, and lesser parts of Counties Carlow, Queen's and Wexford.
Images available Index images available online.
Phillimore & Thrift, Indexes to Irish Wills 1536-1858 Images available
This series of five volumes was compiled from the existing finding aids at the Public Record Office in Dublin, and published between 1909 and 1920. They contain entries for over 30,000 wills for many of the diocesan consistorial courts of Ireland up to 1800, and some up to 1858 when the administration of wills and probate was removed from church control to the state.
Images available Index images available online.
Sir Arthur Vicars, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810 Images available
Index to over 40,000 Irish wills, most of which were destroyed in the 1922 explosion at the Public Record Office in Dublin. The Prerogative Court was the central court for the proving of wills and grants of probate and administration. It dealt with wills which represented assets greater than £5 in more than one Diocese.
Images available Index images available online.