Discover your Irish heritage by searching theIndex of Irish Wills 1484-1858, the only complete list of surviving wills and other testamentary records at the National Archives of Ireland up to 1858. It contains information relating to every part of Ireland (North and South).

Several NAI catalogues and lists were used in compiling this index, as well as two significant contemporary indexes.

Below is an explanation of the National Archives of Ireland reference numbers. The reference numbers can be found on the transcript and can be used when ordering an original document at the National Archives of Ireland. Not all the references are catalogued on their online system.

NAI Reference Numbers

The following are the origin of the main sequences of records used in this index.

NAI ReferenceExplanation
Char1Charitable Donations & Bequests
CrossleCrossle Abstracts
Connor Will & Grant BooksOriginal diocesan records 1818-1820
Down and Connor Will & Grant BooksOriginal diocesan records 1850-1858
Green MSSGreen Abstracts
IARIrish Administration Registers (Inland Revenue) 1828-1839
IECIncumbered Estates Court
IWRIrish Will Registers (Inland Revenue) 1828-1839
JenningsJennings Abstracts
Killaloe & Kilfenora Court BookOriginal diocesan records, mostly marriages
LECLanded Estates Court
MMiscellaneous Series
Marriage Licence Bonds for the Diocese of Dublin1749-1813, only for surnames beginning with the letter A
Ossory Grant BookOriginal diocesan records 1848-1858
Prerogative Grant BooksOriginal Prerogative Court records. Mostly 1747-1751 & 1838-1839
Prerogative Will BooksOriginal Prerogative Court records. Mostly 1664-69, 1675-84, 1706-08, 1726-29, 1777, 1813, 1834
QROQuit Rent Office. Mainly Wide Streets Commission documents.
RCRecord Commissioners Transcripts of wills recited on Chancery and Exchequer inquisitions, 1525-1693
SalvedSalved: records that survived the fire in 1922
Siles-Kelly Abstrs.Siles-Kelly Abstracts
TTestamentary Series
ThriftThrift Abstracts

Types of records

There are several types of documents indexed in the Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858. The following are the main document types that appear in this index.

Document TypeExplanation
AcquittanceDocument clearing a debt or obligation.
Administration The courts granted an Administration on an estate if there was no will, or the will could not be used for any reason. In this index there are three main types of Administration. Most are simple Grants of Letters of Administration to administrators in cases of intestacy (i.e. grants of power to administer estates of persons who had died without having made a will). A smaller number relate to cases where the deceased had made a will that could not be proved, perhaps because the executors were dead or because it was not properly witnessed, and where the court made a Grant of letters of Administration with the Will Annexed. This meant that the administrators were to administer the estate in accordance with the will, even though it could not be proved. In other cases only the Administration Bond survives. This was the surety given by the recipient of a grant of administration.
AffidavitWritten statement, usually sworn by the applicant(s) for probate or administration, regarding the testator/intestate. These sworn statements were taken before a judge, and mostly concerned the address of the testator/intestate and their effects.
Banns Banns were a public notice of an intended marriage in order to inform those who may have known of an impediment to lodge an objection.
BaptismSome of the genealogical abstracts are taken from parish registers of baptisms since destroyed in 1922.
Book of Survey & DistributionThis source was compiled c. 1700 from the Cromwellian Down Survey which listed owners of land in 1641, and similar surveys from the later 17th century.
Cause PapersDocuments arising from cases before the Diocesan consistorial courts.
CaveatA legal application to suspend testamentary court proceedings.
Census Extracts/ReturnsGenealogical extracts from nineteenth century census returns, since destroyed in 1922.
CitationA written summons, usually to an ecclesiastical court.
CodicilA supplement to a will, added by the testator to explain or alter the original contents.
CommissionAuthority given to a person (usually by the state or by a judge) to act in some specified capacity. In most cases referred to in these documents, this was to establish the deceased's estate, or to carry out some other investigation on behalf of the testamentary courts.
Deeds & TitlesRecords concerning property, like sales, mortgages, leases, etc.
Genealogical AbstractNotes and abstracts of documents compiled by genealogists.
Grant of ProbateWhen a will was proved, probate was granted to the executor or executors named in the will. This meant that the executor had power to administer the estate of the deceased in accordance with the provisions of the will.
Hearth Money RollsRecords of taxation, based on the number of built hearths. These lists were compiled in the seventeenth century.
InquisitionInquisitions post mortem were taken on the death of a land owner during the 16th and 17th centuries to determine the extent and title of their landed estates.
InventoryList of goods, chattels, land, etc., and their value, in the possession of the deceased at their death.
Marriage License Bond/Grant Like administrations, the parties to a marriage licence were required to give a bond of surety. Marriage licences were generally only requested by those who had property, or desired privacy from the publication of 'Banns'. Banns were a public notice of an intended marriage in order to inform those who may have known of an impediment to lodge an objection. Securing a marriage licence was considered quite fashionable in the nineteenth century.
Marriage Settlement This was the financial agreement reached by the couple, or more often their fathers, prior to marriage.
Subsidy RollRecords of parliamentary taxation.
TutelageRecords concerning the guardianship, wardship or education of minors.
Will A will is a legal document drawn up to determine the inheritance of a person's property after their death. Before a will could take effect, it had to be proved in court. Wills were generally proved in the local Diocesan Court, but if a testator owned property valued at over £5 in more than one diocese it was proved in the Prerogative Court in Dublin.