Friday, 16 March 2012

Southern Irish wills calendars to go online

Great news from Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy news blog - the National Archives of Ireland ( has digitised its wills calendars from 1923 to 1982, which can apparently be viewed on screen or downloaded as a pdf, whilst entries from 1935 to 1949 have been individually keyed and made available via the catalogue. (I'm also glad to see Claire shares my own analysis of the new catalogue! lol)

The full story is at FYI, for those in the north, there are plans to soon extend the PRONI wills calendars coverage to the 1950s also.

UPDATE: I haven't actually found the PDF yet and so called the NAI - and staff there can't find them either! Apparently they were supposed to go online last night, and the genealogists at the NAI are still looking for them! (Person who put them on is off work today). The advice I have been given is that they are either there somewhere, or should be soon, but it should all be hammered out in the next week or so. Some calendars documents may already be there for the catalogued entries, with digital images alongside the catalogued entry, but even here I've been told that NAI members are still struggling!

UPDATE: Aha! Found it!!! here's what you do (click on images for larger versions to appear):

Using the Advanced Search screen:

In the Word(s) from the title / content box type in calendar
In the Subject term box type in probate (or use the horrible filter category thing on the right side of that search field)
Now click on Search

You will see a screen return marked Calendars of grants of probate of wills and letters of administration

Scroll down the page and you will come across the hierarchy browser for the collection (pieces, fonds, all the collection subdivisions etc)

Choose the collection for the year of interest e.g. Calendar of grants of probate of wills and letters of administration made in the Principal Registry and its district registries, 1943.

Now click on this (it is a link) - nothing appears to change, but in fact if you scroll to the top of the page you will see it is listed as the main document, even though the hierarchy browser remains at the bottom.

The collection will be described as thus: Arranged alphabetically by surname of deceased. Each entry comprises name of deceased; date on which grant of probate or letters of administration issued; grant type; address of deceased; date of death; name of issuing registry; name, address and occupation of executor or administrator; and value of estate.

Below this you will also now see an item marked Digital Document and the words Calendar of grants of probate of wills and letters of administration 1943.pdf - although it does not look like it (no colour difference or underline etc), this is in fact a hyperlink - click on this and a hefty sized document will now be opened in PDF format for all calendar entries for that year.

Only took me an hour and a half to work it out....!

NAI - FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE PUT A USER GUIDE ONLINE FOR THE NEW CATALOGUE!!!! It's like Chinese water torture using it - and there's no point having a nice shiny new toolkit, if no-one knows how to use it!

But also THANK YOU you for this - a major addition for online Irish research!

UPDATE: For an easier way to access the calendars, visit


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  1. Thanks for your update and guide - it was a painful experience using it even with that!1923 seems to be the first year that there is a digital document.

  2. No probs. Claire's original post states available from 1923-1982 just now.

  3. Only took you an hour and a half?

    Easy life.

    It took me more than two hours! But it was late last night and I thought I was being uniquely thick! Glad to know it's not just me.

  4. I actually called NAI and talked through how to do it with someone there, I think they're as perplexed as everyone else! lol Thanks for the nod though - but they desperately need to put a user guide online!

    Off to see if my wife's Kilkenny and Tipp lot are there. Sod's law says after all that they won't be!


  5. Thanks for the help, Chris. Great to have someone else go through this pain first.

    Is there anywhere we can search by surname do you know, or do we have to go through each year at a time? My Irish lot were mostly in London at that time, but it would be nice to have a look for any relatives.

  6. The death indexes are online at FamilySearch and, which can narrow it. Apparently some of the records are name indexed on the catalogue for a small number of years (see Claire's post), but I haven't bothered trying that yet. Really hate the catalogue, so have decided just to save all the individual files as PDFs and have them all to hand, as I would the Scottish equivalents at the Mitchell!


  7. Great info., which I linked to via Clare's news. Just wondering Chris, why do you call it Southern Irish? It's called the Republic of Ireland, not Southern Ireland.


  8. Oh give over. I'm Northern Irish, my wife is Southern Irish. If it makes you feel better, she's Republican Irish!


  9. Just to also clarify - these records only refer to the Republic of Ireland from 1949-1982. Prior to that they deal with Saorstát Éireann from 1923-1948, otherwise known as the Irish Free State.

    Hope that helps.