Northern Ireland wills

Wills 1858 – 1919 that are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland have been indexed and that index is available online. The index covers the Armagh, Belfast & Londonderry registries.

Once an entry has been found then the index card gives you full name, date of death, date of grant, estate value, registry where will was proved and an abstract. The abstract is the part that will be of most interest, for example a search for Pottinger came up with a will for Mrs Catherine Casement Pottinger and the abstract gave me this information “Pottinger Catherine Coshnahan of Ballee House Ballymena county Antrim and of St. Patrick’s Hospital St. Edmundsbury Lucan county Dublin widow died 17 October 1927 Administration (with Will) Belfast 18 June to Edith de Burgh Montagu married woman. Effects £1001 5s. 1d.”

However if you find an entry dated somewhere between 1858 – 1900 you can see a scan of the whole will. All at no charge. Wish they would do that for English wills.


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Chester Wills & Probate Records Online

FindMyPast has been busy again, this time they have published online approx. 113,000 new Chester wills & probate records. My friend Jill will be very pleased about that !!! The records cover the time period 1492 – 1911 and are all the surviving original wills of Cheshire folk whose wills were proved in the Chester diocesan consistory court 1492-1857 and registered copies made at Chester Probate Registry 1858-1911.

Cheshire Archives & Local Studies are the partners in this latest FindMyPast offering.

Think I’ll have to adopt some of Jill’s ancestors as I don’t have anyone from that area on my tree Winking smile


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Soldiers Wills & post 1858 Wills to go online

clip_image002Many of you will be aware that the post 1858 probate calendars are available on for the period 1861 – 1941 (why they start at 1861 not at 1858 goodness only knows !!). Now it seems they are to be online on the official Probate Service website starting from later this year.

A few years back I spoke to Joshua Hanna who at that time was the head of and he told me that he had approached the Probate Service to allow the calendars to go online and they had refused. Amazing what a difference in attitude a few years can make.

Searches are to be free with the facility for online purchasing of copies of full documents if required. From 1996 onwards the calendars are entered onto a database which will be available, but will have some details omitted such as living executors to protect privacy.

Another rather exciting announcement was that 300,000 wills of soldiers killed in action in conflicts from the Crimean War onwards are to be released by the end of this year. It appears that the Ministry of Defence dealt with those so they have never been included in the existing calendars. This is an important set of documents and I am sure will be widely used by genealogists, again once the entry is found in the calendars copies of the will will be able to be purchased online.

They is no indication how much a full set of probate documents will cost.

I am grateful to Geoff Swinfield at for this information.

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Bristol Wills 1781 – 1858

clip_image002Bristol Archives have an index to wills proved in Bristol between 1781 – 1858. There is a good general explanation of what you are likely to find in a will, a couple of examples of wills and the index itself.

Once you have found a will in the index that you would like a copy of you can then email the archives and they will send you back a quote. Sadly they don’t accept credit card payment, so I assume they will accept cheques or bank transfers perhaps even debit cards.

The index gives name, parish, occupation & the year the will was proved. Enough to identify if the will is of interest to you.


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Tylers Collection East Kent now online

I have been alerted to another dataset put onto website. This time it in the Tyler Collection which is held by the in Canterbury, Kent.

Knowing nothing about this collection I read up about it on the ancestry site. It seems that Frank Watt Tyler compiled 3,240 books which contained transcripts of parish registers, monumental inscriptions and wills. His area of interest was East Kent and the records run from 1538 – 1874.

This sounds like one of those little know resources that are now available to be used by a much wider audience. So anyone with East Kent families this could be worth a search.