On 11th March a major new update to the Name Search facility was launched on the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) website. Eight further pre-1858 will indexes have been added, containing around 53,000 new entries and the index to coroners’ inquests has been extended by ten years to 1920.
These entries are in addition to the pre-1858 administration bond indexes, fragments of the 1740 and 1766 religious census returns and 1775 dissenters petitions already available on Name Search. The application now provides a searchable index to thousands of records as early as 1608. The new indexes cover the dioceses of Armagh, Clogher, Connor, Down and Kilmore. Given the loss of census records for Ireland prior to 1901, these records will be of great interest to genealogists tracing their family tree as far back as the 17th century.
Although most pre-1858 wills do not survive, the indexes provide information of use to genealogists, such as the names of the deceased, their address, the date of the grant of probate or administration and occasionally their occupation.
The site can be accessed via PRONI’s main website at www.proni.gov.uk.