Find your ancestors in W.P.W. Phillimore & Gertrude Thrift, Indexes to Irish Wills 1536-1858

The well-known English family history publisher W.P.W. Phillimore along with the tireless Irish genealogist Gertrud Thrift published a 5 volume series of indexes of Irish wills between 1909 and 1920. These were compiled from the finding aids then in use at the Public Record Office in Dublin (PROI). The volumes record surviving wills, then in existence at the PROI, which had been proved at local diocesan courts. Each entry records:

  • Names
  • Address
  • Year of probate
  • Social status/occupation
  • Whether there is a will only (in other words no grant of probate).

The series does not cover every diocese because the project was cut short by the destruction of the PROI in 1922. Following that disaster, this index represents often the only evidence that a will was left at all, and as a consequence is vital for researchers.

The index includes entries for over 32,000 wills for many diocesan consistorial courts in Ireland. In 1858 responsibility for all wills and testamentary matters was removed from the hands of the established church (the Church of Ireland) with the establishment of the Registry system. These indexes cover the years up to 1800, and in some cases 1858.

The following list of diocese covered by these volumes, gives the covering dates. We have also listed the counties which are covered by these diocese, with the principal county or counties listed first.

  • Ardfert & Aghadoe, 1690-1800, Cos. Kerry, Cork
  • Cashel & Emly, 1618-1800, Cos. Tipperary, Kilkenny, Limerick
  • Cloyne, 1621-1800, Cos. Cork, Limerick, Waterford
  • Cork & Ross, 1548-1800, Cos. Cork, Kerry
  • Derry, 1612-1858, Cos. Derry, Antrim, Donegal, Tyrone
  • Dromore, 1678-1858, Cos. Down, Antrim, Armagh
  • Ferns, 1601-1800, Cos. Wexford, Carlow, Wicklow
  • Kildare, 1661-1800, Cos. Kildare, Laois (Queen's), Offaly (King's), Wicklow
  • Killaloe & Kilfenora, 1653-1800, Cos. Clare, Tipperary, Laois (Queen's), Limerick
  • Leighlin, 1652-1800, Cos. Carlow, Laois (Queen's), Kilkenny, Wexford, Wicklow
  • Limerick, 1615-1800, Cos. Limerick, Clare, Cork, Kerry
  • Newry & Mourne (Exempt Jurisdictions), 1727-1858, Cos. Down, Armagh
  • Ossory, 1536-1800, Cos. Kilkenny, Laois (Queen's)
  • Raphoe, 1684-1858, Cos. Donegal
  • Waterford & Lismore, 1645-1800, Cos. Waterford, Cork, Tipperary