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"Amongst the various sources of information open to the genealogist, it is generally admitted that Wills occupy the most important place. From a testamentary document, it is often possible to obtain particulars of three or four generations of a family, besides a general insight into the extent of civilization and social position of our ancestors."
[Sir Arthur Vicars, Office of Arms, Dublin Castle, November 1897]

Probate

Preface

According to Vicars there are five types of wills:

  1. Prerogative Wills, 1536-1858, deposited in the NAI .
  2. Diocesan Wills, 1526-1858, deposited in the NAI
  3. A limited number of unproved wills dealing with real Property only, recorded from the year 1708, at the Registry of Deeds.
  4. Wills from the Inquisitions (Henry VIII. to George I.); an excerpt of which, with an Index Nominum, is in the NAI.
  5. A few very early wills in the Royal Irish Academy, and in Trinity College Library.

If a person died without leaving a will the Court create one and the resulting document is known as an Administration Grant. There are Prerogative Administration Grants and Diocesan Administration Grants to be considered as well. Vicar's book was first published in 1897 and at the time there would be little interest in wills after 1858 when testamentary jurisdiction was transferred from the Prerogative and Diocesan Courts to the Civil Courts. Wills and Administration Grants are now recorded in 12 different registries. The Cavan District Registry concerns counties Cavan, Longford and parts of Leitrim.

Falley discusses medieval wills and it would appear those wills in Vicars category 5 are mostly from the Diocese of Dublin and none that would be from County Cavan. Finally there are wills of Irish testators registered in foreign courts that should be considered. In summary, we have then for the county of Cavan:

  1. Wills from the Inquisitions
  2. Prerogative Wills 1536-1858
  3. Prerogative Administration Grants 1536-1858
  4. Diocesan Wills 1536-1858
  5. Diocesan Administration Grants 1536-1858
  6. District Wills 1858-
  7. District Administration Grants 1858-
  8. Unproved Wills
  9. Wills in Foreign Courts

References:
Vicars, Sir A. (Editor) Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810, Dublin, 1897.
Falley, M. D. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore Md., 1980, Vol I, p. 719-720

Wills from the Inquisitions

  • Falley states the Cavan records are among the 30 volumes known as the Record Commissioners' Transcripts of Deeds and Wills in Chancery, NAI. Index on Broderbund CD 275.

Prerogative Wills 1536-1858

  • Index to Wills
    • Primary Index 1536-1858, LDS Films 100893-6
    • Alternate Indexes to Wills
      • PRONI Card Index to Wills, LDS Films 1565605, 1565578, 1565672-3
      • Vicars, Sir A. (Editor) Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810. Reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore (1989). Also on Broderbund CD 275.
        • Additions to, and corrections in, Vicars' Index to the prerogative wills of Ireland, 1536-1810. LDS Film 994076 Item 3
  • Surviving Prerogative Wills and Abstracts of same - you check these only if you find a will of interest in the indexes
    • Surviving Will books, LDS Films 100897-902. Also on Broderbund CD 275
    • Betham's Genealogical Prerogative Abstracts
      • Wills LDS Films 595939-45, 596139-40
      • Court records, Dublin, LDS Film 100114
      • Intestates 1695-1697; 1760-1762; 1800-1801; LDS Film 100875
      • Genealogical abstracts, series 2, 16th - 19th centuries, LDS Film 596148
      • A genealogical analysis of all the wills and administrations registered in the Metropolitan Prerogative Court
        • Index, LDS Film 100113 Items 1-2
        • Films, LDS Film 100103 Items 2-5, 100104-12
    • Burke, Sir J. B., Will Pedigrees, LDS Films 227866-900

Prerogative Administration Grants

  • Primary Index 1595-1858, LDS Films 100904-10
    • Alternate Indexes to Index to Administration Grants
      • Prerogative Court records, Dublin, Ireland - Betham, LDS Film 100114
  • Bethams Genealogical Prerogative Abstracts - you check these only if you find an admon of interest in the indexes
    • Admons, LDS Films 596141-6,
    • A genealogical analysis of all the wills and administrations registered in the Metropolitan Prerogative Court
      • Index, LDS Film 100113 Items 1-2
      • Films, LDS Film 100103 Items 2-5, 100104-12

Diocesan Wills

  • Meath
    • Index to wills, circa 1635-1838 (Betham), LDS Film 100955
    • Rice, G., "Extracts from Meath priests' wills 1658-1782", Riocht na Midhe, Vol IV, No. 1, p.68-71, 1967
  • Killmore
    • Index to wills, 1682-1857, LDS Film 990068 Item 10
    • Fragments of the will index 1682-1857, LDS Film 100916 Item 4
    • Swanzy Collection, NAI T.1746 (1C-53-16)
      • may be on LDS Film 100176 Item 3
  • Ardagh
    • Index to wills 1695-1858, LDS Film 824242 Item 6
    • Index to wills 1695-1858, LDS Film 100911 Items 1-2
    • Alternative Index
      • Leonardo, A. Index to Irish wills, includes name, diocese, place, year, 1617-1831, LDS Film 954250 Item 11

Diocesan Administration Grants 1536-1858

  • Meath
    • Index to admons. 1663-1857, LDS Film 100963 Item 2
    • Index to admons. circa 1635-1838 (Betham), LDS Film 100955
  • Killmore
    • Index to admons. 1728-1857, LDS Film 100962 Item 5
  • Ardagh
    • Index to admons. 1697-1850, LDS Film 100958 Item 1

Abstracts, Notes of Researchers and Other Copies Made Prior to 1922 Fire

(You are looking for a will or admon listed in one of the indexes above.)
  • Abstracts of Charitable Wills, LDS Film 100178 Item 4, Index on CD
  • Abstracts of wills, family charts, etc, LDS Film 1279326 Item 1
  • Ainsley Will Abstracts. GO 535 & 631.
  • Betham, Sir William
    • Genealogical Abstracts, LDS Films 592945-8
    • Surname indexes to manuscripts at the Genealogical Department, Dublin, LDS Film 100188 Items 1-3, 35 mm
  • Clare, Rev. Wallace, LDS Films 477000 Item 2. Reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. Also on Broderbund CD 275
  • Crossle Genealogical Abstracts, Smith Books, LDS Films 597127-31, Index on CD.
  • Estate Duty Office
    • Irish estate duty wills
      • Calendar, 1812-1857, LDS Film 942224
      • Wills, 1821-1857, LDS Film 942225-37, 942304-9
  • Fisher, Denis O'Callaghan (Indexed by Betham in Ms. 565)
    • Will and Deed abstracts, LDS Film 100140 Items 1-2
    • Slip Index, LDS Film 100173 Item 3
      • Ms. nos. 139-143 Vols. A-E, LDS Film 100174
      • Ms. no. 144 Vol. F, LDS Film 257780 Item 1
    • Pedigrees and Pedigree Index, LDS Films 100138 Items 1-6, 100140 Item 3
  • Genealogical Office - Indexed in Analecta Hibernica, No. 17, 1948 (NLI Ir. 941 a 10)
  • Great Britain. Commissioners for Inland Revenue, Registers of Prerogative and Diocesan wills of Ireland, with indexes, 1828-1839, LDS Films 101028-32. Index on CD
  • Groves, T. Genealogical collection of muster rolls, householders, wills, deeds, parish registers, LDS Film 258479
  • Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858
    • Index to National Archives of Ireland Holdings
      • Abstracts of Charitable Wills
      • Crossle Genealogical Abstracts
      • Great Britain. Commissioners for Inland Revenue, 1828-1839
      • Incumbered Estates Court
      • Jennings Abstracts
      • Landed Estates Court
      • Miscellaneous Series
      • Prerogative Grant Books
      • Prerogative Will Books
      • Quit Rent Office
      • Records that survived the fire in 1922
      • Testamentary Documents
      • Thrift's genealogical abstracts
  • Irish Records Index, 1500-1920, aka Ireland At Your Fingertips
    • Irish Wills, Court And Land Documents On LDS Film
  • Leslie Collection. MLI Ms 1774, NLI Pos. 799
  • Richey Collection, NLI Mss 8315-6
  • Rosbottom, L. LDS Book 941.5 P2i
    • Supplement, LDS Book 941.5 P2i sup.
  • Sadleir, T.U. Irish will abstracts, LDS Film 100177 Items 1-5
  • Sullivan papers. Index on CD
  • Testamentary documents in the NAI, T.15710-T.16661, LDS Films 596891-900, 833161, 496383-88.
  • Surname Specific - Unknown if Cavan related; please advise. See also Grenham p. 55
    • Ainsworth Wills, LDS Films 100178 Item 5, 257819 Item 2
    • Bewley, Sir E.T. LDS Films 257784-9
    • Buckworth, T. Miscellaneous Irish wills, LDS Films
    • Cinnamond, LDS Film 1559394 Item 9
    • Hill, A. & Hill, P. Vance and related families, LDS Film 100221 Items 2-3
    • Irwin, Sir A.M.B. Irwin pedigrees, LDS Films 100145 Items 2-5, 100146-7
  • Thrift's genealogical abstracts from original records, LDS Films 596408-16, 1471894-5, 1471897-8, 592949-56, 596418-9
    • Index LDS Films 1565816-1565819 Also on CD
  • Transcript of documents on file in PRONI. Partial Index on CD
    • Abstracts of Wills T277, Extracts of Wills T280, LDS Film 247317
    • Abstract of Wills T306, LDS Film 247320
    • Register Abstracts, Wills etc. T428, LDS Film 258551
    • Abstract of Memorials T467, LDS Film 258553
    • Matthews Abstracts of Wills etc. T681, LDS Film 258579
    • Kennedy's Wills Abstracts T700, LDS Film 258580
    • Extracts from Wills, Bills etc. T731, LDS Film 258582
    • Will Extracts T777, LDS Film 258583
    • Extracts of Wills T1021/5-6, LDS Film 258609
  • Welply Collection, The Irish Genealogist, 1985/86
  • Wilson Collection, NLI Pos. 1990

Cavan District Wills

  • Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858 - 1922, National Archives of Ireland
  • Will Books
    • 1858-1896, LDS Film 100927-8
      • Indexes of Meg Greenwood posted to IRL-CAVAN-L
    • 1856-1873, LDS Film 597717
  • Estate Duty Office
    • Succession estates, 1876-1925, LDS Film 496363-6
  • Probate schedules 1878-1894, LDS Film 584471
  • Schedule of assets 1894-1910, LDS Film 584472-3

Unproved Wills

  • Index v. 14 1689-1858, LDS Film 100956 Item 2
  • Registry of Deeds
    • 1708-1832 in Eustace, P.B. and Ellis, E. Abstracts of Wills at the Registry of Deeds (3 vols.), Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1954-1988. LDS Book 941.5 P22e
    • List of wills in the Registry of Deeds, Dublin, with dates of registration, LDS Film 1279330 Item 13, 16 mm.

Wills in Foreign Courts

  • American wills; surnames: Addison, Allen, Bagge, Butler, Carson, Connor, Cooke, Cunningham, and Dyas - unknown if any are from co. Cavan. LDS Film 100228 Item 9
  • English wills: probate records in England and Wales with a brief note on Scottish and Irish wills LDS Book 942 A1
  • Abstracts of wills of Irish testators registered at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 1639-98, NLI Ms 1397
  • Cavan wills on line at the PRO (Kew)

    Richard Scott of Fort Fredern

    29 Jul 1856

    James Battersby, County Inspector of Constabulary

    05 Jul 1853

    Theophilus Edward Lucas Clements

    15 Sep 1852

    Elizabeth Adams alias Lyster, Widow of Drummelton House

    26 Oct 1849

    John Edward O'Reilly of Armagh Abbey

    27 Nov 1848

    Cosby Nesbitt of Lismore

    29 Jan 1848

    Richard Montgomery, Captain in the 36th Regiment of Her Britannic Majesty

    17 Sep 1845

    Elizabeth Clements, Widow of Rakenny

    05 Oct 1844

    Reverend John Vernon, Clerk of Aubawn

    15 Sep 1843

    Richard Giles of Cootehill

    26 Mar 1841

    The Right Honorable John Baron Farnham of Farnham

    24 Apr 1839

    Reverend Joseph Story of Cranaghan

    05 Jul 1838

    The Right Honorable Richard Ford William Earl of Cavan

    15 Jan 1838

    Anne Forde, Spinster of Drumsilla near Killeshanera

    19 Oct 1836

    Thomas Nesbitt of Lismore

    26 Feb 1822

    William Winning, Surgeon in the Royal Navy of Cootehill

    20 Jul 1819

    Margaret Grimes of Coote Hill

    10 Jul 1819

    Oliver Nugent of Bobs Grove

    15 Oct 1813

    William Armstrong, belonging to HMS Venus of Kingscourt

    08 Jan 1803

    John Dandy, Sergeant in the 101st Regiment of Anna

    26 Aug 1788

    Reverend William Martin, Doctor in Divinity, Rector and Prebendary of Saint Patricks Cathedral Dublin of Killishrandra

    02 Aug 1787

    James Smith, Seaman on Board His Majesty's Ship Gibraltar

    15 Nov 1784

    John Curry or Currie, now belonging to the Ship Britannia of Liverpool of Drumgarton

    20 Jan 1784

    Willis Martin, Gentleman of Cootehill

    30 May 1782

    The Right Honorable Richard Earl of Cavan

    18 Feb 1779

    Charles Coote of Coote Hill

    26 Jun 1751

    Philip Fitzpatrick, Farmer of Templeport

    01 Dec 1736