Find your ancestors in Betham Genealogical Abstracts

Explore the abstracts and genealogical sketches created by herald Sir William Betham. The notebooks are an excellent substitute for the records lost in the 1922 Public Record Office fire in Dublin. Search by name, year, or keywords such as residence.

The Betham genealogical abstracts are an important resource for Irish family historians. They offer a substitute for the vast number of wills that were destroyed in the fire at the Public Record Office in 1922. Sir William Betham, appointed the Ulster King of Arms in 1807, spent years creating abstracts of the wills that pre-dated 1800. He also reconstructed family trees and pedigrees. In order to create his notes and abstracts, Betham consulted Prerogative Wills (Grants and Administrations), Dublin Diocesan Marriage Licenses, Prerogative Marriage Licenses, and many other collections including Diocese of Tuam Wills, Chancery Pleadings, Funeral Entries, etc.

In this collection, you can explore the collection of Betham’s notebooks and research. Many of Betham's original notebooks are held at the National Library of Ireland. Findmypast has transcribed the notebook to allow you to search by name, year, and keywords. The images were captured by FamilySearch from the microfilms of records held at the National Archives of Ireland.

The details found in the records can vary. The records are reproductions of Sir William Betham’s notebooks. In some cases, you will find abstracts for wills or marriage licences. The transcripts include all the vital details found in the original record such as

  • Name
  • Age
  • Birth year
  • Marriage year
  • Death year
  • Event year
  • Event date
  • Relationship (to the first person named in the entry) – You can discover the first person by viewing the original image.
  • Spouse’s name
  • Married – (Y) yes or (N) no
  • Occupation
  • Dead – (Y) yes or (N) no
  • Residence
  • Parish
  • County
  • County as originally transcribed
  • Country
  • Piece description
  • Document number
  • Source
  • Collection – provides an indication as to what type of records were being copied. For example, ‘genealogical abstracts of the Prerogative Court of Armagh’ explains the records are a summary of the facts found in the documents of the Prerogative Court of Armagh.
  • Archive


The images may provide additional details about your ancestor such as names of your ancestor’s family members, especially if the records relate to wills. In some cases, the images can be hard to decipher, which can lead to incorrect transcriptions. It is always best to consult the original image.