Friday 20 March 2015

FindMyPast delivers Irish Marriage Bonds, Probate & census records

There's a strong Irish flavour in this Friday's FindMyPast package, not least the Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administration Indexes 1595–1858, which I was certainly not expecting to be delivered this month. I love surprises! Here are the details:

Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administration Indexes 1595–1858

This collection of more than 364,000 records contains indexes of all the wills and associated papers proved in Ireland's ecclesiastical courts up to 1858. From that date, the civil courts handled probate issues.

Unfortunately, most of the pre-1858 records were held at the PRO in the Four Courts when it went up in flames in 1922. This collection holds some of the surviving records and copies that weren't in the PRO when it was destroyed. It includes six volumes of surviving Prerogative Will Books and one volume of Cause papers (described by FindMyPast as '1810 inventory of records, books & papers, with an index to the Cause Papers 1670-1810 List of original wills, deeds, etc. in the Cause Papers').

The will books cover:
  • 1644 – 1684
  • 1706-1728
  • 1728-1729
  • 1777 (A-L only)
  • 1813 (K-Z only)
  • 1834 (A-E only)
While the amount of information in the books may vary, each record will include the deceased’s name, residence, diocese and the year the will was proved.

A small number of very lucky researchers will also find full details of the will, including who benefitted and what the estate entailed.  

Find out more or search the Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administration Indexes here.

Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes 1623-1866

This record-set holds more than 218,000 entries and will be of great value to those with middle-class ancestors. In the main, marriage licences were sought only by those who owned property and/or wanted to avoid the publicity of Banns, and both parties to the marriage had to stump up a bond of surety. By the 19th century, they had become something of a trendy statement of status.

Labourers and tenant-farmers don't figure in this collection.

Each record in the collection contains a transcript and an image of the original bond register. The amount of information varies but most will include the names of the couple, the date of their marriage, residence, occupation, and rank or status.

Find out more or search the Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes here.

1901 Census

While the 1901 (and the 1911) census is available free of charge at the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy (NAIG) website, the collection now joining FindMyPast's database offers a new and more detailed search facility. It allows researchers to search the collection for more than one household member, by birth year and by variants on the spelling of first and last names.

A detailed transcript of each census return is provided, as is a link to the free images on the NAIG site.

If you've had trouble finding ancestors on the NAIG website, this version should be checked out.

Find out more or search the 1901 Census here.