IGRS launches online wills index

By Jon Bauckham, 21 November 2013 - 3:38pm

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has created a digital version of its wills card index, enabling researchers to hunt down copies of testamentary documents from a variety of sources

Thursday 21 November 2013
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Researchers with Irish roots could find it easier to learn about the legacy that their ancestors left behind thanks to a new web resource.

The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) has made its entire wills card index available online, enabling members to gather information about ‘lost’ testamentary records dating back to the 17th century.

Fully searchable, the cards contain crucial information gleaned from the will and supporting documents, including dates of death and family relationships.

While the majority of Ireland’s pre-1858 wills were lost when the Public Record Office of Ireland was destroyed in 1922, the index reveals where a surviving copy or abstract of the original document may be found.

As well as material deposited at the Society of Genealogists and in the IGRS's own Swanzy Collection, the index covers more obscure sources, including private collections quoted in the society’s annual journal, The Irish Genealogist.

Although the database includes approximately 4,000 cards spanning surnames Acheson to Young, those from A to F are slightly better covered than the rest of the alphabet.

“The IGRS Wills Index was originally compiled in the 1970s to be a vital tool in locating surviving transcripts and abstracts of pre-1858 wills and other testamentary records,” explains Steven Smyrl, Chairman of the IGRS.

“Now as an online resource we hope it will help a much greater number of the Irish genealogical community in the search for their ancestor’s elusive will.”

The card index joins a fast growing collection of records now available on the Society’s website, IrishAncestors.ie, which launched in March. While the Wills Index is only accessible to IGRS members – for which fees are currently £21 a year – a selection of free material can be found in the Unique Resources section of the site.

Image courtesy of the Irish Genealogical Research Society
 

take it further

► Become a member of the IGRS and search the index at IrishAncestors.ie

 

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