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 Irish wills, pleadings and Pedigrees from the Plea Rolls 1569-1909
With the bulk of Irish probate records lodged in the Public Record Office at the Four Courts in Dublin having been destroyed in 1922 any copies of abstracts created before that date are invaluable to genealogists. Noted Cork genealogist W H Welply was, along with other members of the Society of Genealogists like Captain G S Carey, the Rev. Wallace Clare and J R Hutchinson, part of that movement started in the 1930s and 40s to recreate and provide substitutes for Irish records destroyed in 1922.

The abstracts of Irish wills and genealogical information from the Plea Rolls were presented to the Society's document collection (then known as D.Ms) by William Henry Welply in 1921 and 1922. Subsequently these pencil notes were typed up for the Society by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, accessioned into the Society's book collection and placed on the Irish shelves (IR/G 96-113 & 116-7) in 1933. While largely containing abstracts of wills from various testamentary Courts in Ireland and England, the abstracts to have references from court cases in the Chancery and other Equity Courts in both countries.

An index to these and other surrogate abstracts of Irish wills in the Genealogical Office was compiled and published in 1949 by Miss P Beryl Eustace in the journal Analecta Hibernica (including the reports of the Irish Manuscript Commission) vol. 17 p 147 and this work is frequently cited and reported on line.

Copies of Welply's work can be found in various record offices including PRONI and his genealogical notes and papers were finally bequeathed to the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin after his death in 1960. The will abstracts from these papers are indexed in Volume 6 of the journal the Irish genealogist and abstracts of Irish Chancery Bills and other genealogical notes or "gleanings" at the RCBL are indexed in volume 7 of the Irish Genealogist.

Welply's abstracts stand with other similar collections at the Society notably Lorna Rossbottom's Collection of 4000 abstracted Irish wills also digitised and made available for members on SoG Data Online

Although of Dublin, Welply is known as a Cork genealogist. Many of his abstracts relate to the Province of Munster and by far the greater part are from Cork, however there are references to wills from most dioceses in Ireland and many for Dublin.

According to the FamilySeach wiki the abstracts from Welply's collection relating only to families living in the Cork area were printed and published in the Albert E. Casey Collection (usually entitled "O'Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland"). Volume fourteen of this fifteen volume set contains the will abstracts for counties Cork and Kerry and covers the entire time period the Prerogative Court of Armagh was in existence (1536 -1857). The wills are indexed by every name mentioned in the abstract at the end of volume fourteen. However, the index is defective and some entries are missing. Casey's collection was microfilmed by the Family History Library and volume 14 is on Family History Library microfilm 823809 item 2. Again, this material was printed only for the Cork area families, the remaining extracts were not published in this work.

Other useful Irish probate collections at the Society of Genealogists include the following and of course the Society holds many published indexes and finding aids for Irish wills compiled and published prior to the tragedy that occurred to the documents in the Four Courts in 1922.
* Sir William Betham's Abstracts of PCA wills 1530-1808, admons 1595-1810, letters of tutelege 1595-1754 from PRO Dublin (MF 309-324)
* Registry of Deeds Abstracts vols1-3 1708-1832 (IR/G 90-2)
* Friends Meeting House Dublin etc (IR/G 76 & 75)
* PCC Irish wills and admons pre 1660 (IR/G 94)
* 2,690 probate records received into the National Archives of Ireland and cited in the Deputy Keeperââ¬Ës Reports 1922-30 (DRK 55-57) (IR/K)
* Genealogy Office 7,500 wills in various collections (Analecta Hibernica 17)
* Carrigan MS (Diocese of Ossary) 1546-1863 (Irish Genealogist vol 4 no 3)
* Swanzy MS (PCA & Clogher & Kilmore 1681-1846 (IR/G 143)

Further information on Irish probate Records and collections and copies of abstracted wills and related documents can be found on the Family Search Wiki https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Ireland_Probate_Records

Else Churchill
March 2015
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Welplys Irish wills and pleadings index
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