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11 Aug 2014

Diocese of Durham wills go online at FamilySearch

I was able to go back one or two generations with my Gibsons of Colwell Farm, Chollerton, up north of the wall in Northumberland.  The diocesan wills covering the period from late mediaeval times up until 1857 were indexed some years ago at North East Inheritance, a University of Durham project, and for years there was no news at all, as the original publication date of 2010 receded deeper into the distance.

The will of my ancestor Lancelot Gibson the first, dated 1789, proven 1794, show show brutal the choices were for people.  His eldest son having died, the widow was given the choice of arguing that the farm should go to her son, or taking the money with a large number of conditions - children were to be well behaved with a keen eye watching them from age of 14 upwards; Ann was not to remarry; she was to conduct herself and not to ever challenge the ownership of the family farms.  Then, and only then, when the boys reached 21 they would get £50 between them and the girl would get a fiver.  In addition though, Gibson would provide for their education (if warranted) and give them somewhere to live.

This useful document ties together a number of the family, and finally explains who Lancelot Gibson Dobinson was.  I'd noticed him in the GRO indexes, but a cursory investigation, which must have been extremely cursory, ruled him out as being of interest.  How wrong was that!  He is a great-great-grandson of Lance the first.

Another useful dataset well worth waiting for.

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