Monday 18 November 2013

IGRS launches new online Irish Wills Resource

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has launched a new online index to abstracts and transcripts of Irish wills. 

Sample entry in IGRS Wills card index, now online
The destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922 consumed virtually all of Ireland’s pre-1858 testamentary records. During the decades following, efforts were made by various institutions and individuals to locate copies and abstracts of Irish wills. The IGRS wills card index is an early and praiseworthy attempt by IGRS members to build a central database of genealogical abstracts from a variety of testamentary sources.

The IGRS Wills card index includes references from a number of important and lesser known collections, referring to wills from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. It notes Irish Prerogative and Consistorial wills from the Betham Collection as well as from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury; the Welply Collection at the Society of Genealogists, plus the Swanzy Collection held by the IGRS.

Other sources are not only wills deposited at the Society's Library, or quoted in its extensive manuscript collection, but also wills held in private collections quoted in the IGRS annual journal, The Irish Genealogist, as well as in other journals. In addition, the card index includes many regional wills & administrations.

There are approximately 4000 cards in all and while they stretch from Acheson to Young, those from A to F are slightly better covered than the rest of the alphabet. In each case, the full source for the abstract is quoted, and great pains were taken to show family relationships, making this an essential reference for anyone involved in Irish genealogy.

This important new resource joins a fast growing collection of records – many of them unique – now being made available on the Society's website

While the Wills Index is one of several resources accessible to Members-only (annual subscription is £21/€26/US$35), other records and databases can be viewed by non-members in the publicly accessible Unique Resources section of the site.