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Before the 1882 Married Women’s Property Act, even wives’ personal possession­s legally belonged to their husbands. Therefore the only women who made wills were usually widows or spinsters.

Registry was establishe­d in Belfast and the Will Calendar Database includes the six counties of Northern Ireland (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderr­y and Tyrone) for 1922–1965. From September 2015 the Principal Registry in Belfast has managed all of the probate applicatio­ns in Northern Ireland.

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