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29 May 2010

Willed away

Somewhat cheaper than my foray into propping up the government with my certificate order (£210), the 14 wills I lately purchased weighed in at 'only' £70.

In fact one of them wasn't even a will but a single sheet grant of administration, purchased to learn the address of the intestate lady's nephew Arthur Ward in Peterborough.

This was one of the seven wills (and grant) which I would class as very useful, the remainder letting me down as follows
1) no relatives were named
2) no mention of the testator's sister or her family
3) very cryptic with no relationships given and no clue as to where people fitted into the tree, if at all
4) everything was left to a known individual

BUT on the whole the seven that were very useful led me to major family history breakthroughs
1) to living descendants of Emily Padfield (Hemmings) who have photos, stories to tell and an interest in family history
2) to the only known descendant of Sergeant Stephen Read by his Cornish wife, through Quebec, Glasgow, Liverpool, Clevedon and now Denmark
3) finally a lead to the family of Henry Young of Andover and his wife Lucy, whose 15-odd children born in the late 1800s had proved surprisingly difficult to bring down to the present day
4) closing the door on the 'spinster' daughters of my Charles Warren of Maperton, two of whom had taken husbands late in life in locations I would not have expected and could not have traced
5) a small step forward in finding Tom Garner's family.  I could have got their address way back in 1993 when I first learnt about the Garners from Dad's cousin Tom, however I had no idea then, that they were related.  Still this will moves me slightly closer to regaining this lost address
6) the wonderful will of Rowena Homily, three-times married and of uncertain parentage.  No clue who many of the recipients are, but I'm sure we'll find out as we zone in on the records.
7) the address of Arthur Ward as above

Most of the 400 wills I've bought (and seen many more) were acquired at least ten years ago when they were practically free, but I'm confident I'll be using this great resource again soon, adding as they do so much colour to our family trees.  (And no-one really knows much about how to use them, yet!)

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