Wednesday 12 March 2014

PRONI completes upload of its will calendar collection Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has completed its upload of additional Will Calendars to its free public database.

Some 170,000 entries have been added to the site and can now be searched.

PRONI's Wesley Geddis (who will be talking at the official launch tomorrow lunchtime) told Irish Genealogy News this afternoon that the total of entries now available to search is 415,000 covering the years 1858 to 1965 inclusive.

This fully searchable online database holds data from entries in the Will Calendars of wills proved in Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry District Registries. These Registries cover the six counties now in Northern Ireland, plus Counties Louth, Monaghan and Donegal, which are in the Republic of Ireland.

Most searches return a transcription of the entry in the Calendar, which is basically an annual index. As such, the returns don't include all the details of the will, only the rudiments, but they can often be very revealing, providing information about the deceased's address and occupation, together with the value of the estate and the name of the person to whom probate has been granted.

Where copies of the original will have survived, their details can provide outstanding genealogical information. See example below.

Digitised images of entries from the copy will books are available for some 100,000 wills. Images for wills proved in the Londonderry District Registry extend to 1899; those from Armagh District Registry extend to 1919; those for Belfast District Registry extend to 1909.

This is a top-rate genealogical resource, and it's very simple to use. Search the Will Calendars.