Friday 15 December 2023

Ancestry adds Irish probate collection and marriage announcements

Another PRONI-sourced index has been uploaded to the Ancestry database. It has been given the name Ireland, Wills and Admons, 1515-1858 and, like the other record sets and indexes sourced from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland this year, it is free to search.

Wills, letters of Administration Bonds and other probate related records can provide important genealogical data about your ancestors as well as clues as to their financial status. The records in this collection may include the following: name, will date, probate date, death date, court name and event type.

A couple of things to note: This is an index. Although it links to PRONI's online catalogue, there are no document images to view. Many of the records do not exist in their original state. The search result will provide a PRONI reference if the archive holds documentation relating to the entry but this is more likely to be a transcription than the original material, and you would need to visit PRONI's search room in Belfast to view it.

The Index has more than 87,000 entries and has island-wide interest. There are, for example, nearly 1,450 entries relating to County Cork, 175 for County Leitrim, and 1,520 for County Dublin, so don't overlook this collection just because it is curated in Northern Ireland.

You may find PRONI's article about pre-1858 probate records helpful, too.

This week has also seen an update to Ancestry's UK and Ireland,™ Marriage Index, 1800s-current collection.

Having added more than 183,500 entries this month, this index holds just under 9million names from marriage announcements that were published in the UK and Ireland or mention some connection with the UK or Ireland, especially places of birth of the bride and groom. Details provided by the index search results are sometimes generous but you'd need a subscription to to view the full announcement or report of the event.

The source publications for Ireland are in Belfast and Dublin only.

Unfortunately for Irish genealogists, the number of entries in the index that relate to Ireland is small, possibly fewer than 19,000. Nonetheless, worth checking, even if deciphering the computer-generated spellings can be tiresome.