Find your ancestors in Ireland, original will registers 1858-1920

With each result, you will find a transcript of the original will and an image provided by the National Archives of Ireland.


Each transcript will provide you with a combination of the following details.

  • Name
  • Role – either heir/executor or deceased
  • Name of deceased
  • Entry type – will, grant of probate, or administration
    • Will - A will is a legal document drawn up to determine the inheritance of a person's property after their death.
    • Grant of Probate - Once a will was proved, the courts issued a grant of probate.
    • Grant of Administration - If the deceased was intestate, which means that he or she did not leave a will, or the will could not be proved, the courts would grant an Administration on an estate.
  • Year
  • Address and parish
  • Registry place
  • Description
  • Names of other heirs
  • Archive, series, and piece
  • Item and folio


The images provide much more detail about your ancestor’s will. Most entries comprise your ancestor’s death date, death place and who inherited the deceased person’s property and processions. The will can provide the names of many other relations and explain their familial connection. From one record, you may be able to create a family tree.

Some wills are more than one page, use the next arrow on the right side of the image to continue reading the document.

Discover more about these records

The Ireland, Original Will Registers 1858-1920 come from the will books created by the district courts and held by the National Archives of Ireland. The collection includes wills from Northern Ireland until 1917. Prior to 1847, the Church of Ireland was the testamentary authority in Ireland. Wills were proved in the ecclesiastical courts of the Church. However, after The Probate Act was passed in 1847, the power to grant probate and to issue letters of administration was given to twelve registries in Ireland: The Principal Registry in Dublin and eleven District Registries – Armagh, Ballina, Belfast, Cavan, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, Londonderry, Mullingar, Tuam, and Waterford.

Your ancestor’s last will and testament is a significant source for your family history. It can illuminate the life of your ancestor by giving you an understanding of their social standing and wealth. Wills were not limited to the wealthy. Even those living in humble circumstances could have a will.

A will is a legal document written to explain how to dispose of a person’s property and possessions after the individual’s death. The full title is the last will and testament. A will related primarily with property and buildings, while the testament was concerned with possessions such as money, furniture, etc. Once a will was proved in a court it was given a grant of probate. In circumstances where a will was not created, the courts would provide a grant of administration to clarify how the property was to be inherited or disposed of.

Principal and District Registries jurisdictions

The jurisdictions of the courts stretched across multiple county lines and different parishes within the same county could be within the jurisdiction of different courts. Below we have listed each probate district and the county it covered.

  • Armagh – Armagh, Fermanagh, Monaghan, and Tyrone
  • Ballina – Sligo and Mayo
  • Belfast – Antrim and Down
  • Cavan – Cavan, Leitrim, and Longford
  • Cork – Cork and Kerry
  • Dublin (Principal) – Dublin, Kildare, Meath, and Wicklow (The Principal Registry also had authority over large estates outside of the listed counties)
  • Kilkenny – Carlow, Laois (Queen’s), and Kilkenny
  • Limerick – Clare, Kerry, Limerick, and Tipperary
  • Londonderry – Donegal, Londonderry (Derry), and Tyrone
  • Mullingar – Leinster and Offaly (King’s)
  • Tuam – Roscommon and Galway
  • Waterford – Tipperary, Waterford, and Wexford