Tag Archives: national probate calendar

My Family History Week: Sunday 27th May 2012

27 May

Family history activity has been a bit haphazard this week. Nothing really very focused, just poking about my family tree adding bits and pieces here and there.

National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk

I spent a while conducting some searches on the newly updated National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk but I soon realised that I probably ought to be a bit more methodical about it.

There are potentially hundreds of records in this collection that I ought to be looking for, but unless I actually make a point of being more methodical I am probably going to miss plenty of people along the way.

I am going to have to give some consideration to what is going to be the best way to achieve this.

Early Trowers in my family tree

I also spent a while looking at the information I have for some of the earliest (17th and 18th Century) Trowers in my family tree. I am conscious that I have lots of different bits of information floating about, mainly from wills.

I felt it was probably about time that I actually translated some of this “floating” information into some hard facts in my family tree or at least decide what further work is needed to be able to include this information.

Adding a pair of 7x great-grandparents

One off-shoot of this work on the early Trowers was that I was able to add another pair of 7x great-grandparents, Robert and Mary Greenfield of Henfield, Sussex whose daughter Ann married Henry Trower in 1747. This brings the total number of 7x great-grandparents in my family tree to eight individuals or four pairs.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

As I suspected I never got around to doing anything about sorting out the information I have about Patrick Vaughan. I don’t want to let this slip but it has been several weeks since I said I was going to do this.

We have a long bank holiday weekend coming up soon and I am hoping that this will give me the opportunity to get back on track. Hopefully after this I can get on with setting myself with some new weekly challenges.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Making the News: Henry Wright of Alton, Hampshire – Postscript

8 May

Yesterday I shared a newspaper article about the fortunate discovery made by my 3x great-grandfather Henry Wright of Alton, Hampshire. The article suggested that his wife had hidden away some money (totalling £260) which was only discovered after her death in 1889.

I suspect there is probably more to the story than meets the eye. There is a possibility that Henry in his younger days (back in 1838) served twelve months in prison for larceny, so I can’t help wonder if this money could be the result of some nefarious deed. However any secrets probably went to the grave with Henry.

That thought got me thinking. Henry died six years after his wife and I have a copy of his will and the grant of probate and I wondered just how much of this “windfall” had survived until Henry’s death.

The entry for Henry in the National Probate Calendar (on Ancestry.co.uk) reads:

WRIGHT Henry of Model villa West-street Alton Hants died 1 August 1895 Probate Winchester 4 November to William Wright builder and contractor Effects £127 9s.

So it looks like in those six years Henry had managed to get rid of half of the money that he had “discovered”, assuming that he didn’t have much to start with, because he was having to sell some furniture in the first place.

I wonder what he did with that money in those six years? The 1891 census shows him (aged 80) living with his son William (the executor named above) and his family and quite appropriately he is described as “Living on his own means”.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Now look what you’ve done Ancestry!

11 Oct

Thanks to John D Reid of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog for pointing out the following notice on the HM Courts Service website:

Due to a significant increase in the volume of search requests there is currently a delay in the processing of search applications at York Probate Sub Registry. We are taking steps to rectify this and apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause. Information regarding the length of time we are currently taking to process applications is given on an automated message on the telephone number 01904 666778.

I tried calling the number yesterday and the message says they are currently processing applications from the 27th August, which is still a couple of weeks before my cheque was cashed. I have been patiently waiting for several weeks already, so I guess I have a few more weeks to wait.

Of course this is all down to the release of the National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk back in August this year. I commented at the time that “I only hope the Probate Registry can cope with the increased demand for copies of wills this release is almost certainly going to create.”

Well I guess they weren’t prepared for the increased demand, much like the GRO weren’t prepared when Who Do You Think You Are? was screened and family history took off in a big way. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long and the steps they are taking will soon get things back on track.

A string of HEMSLEY probate entries

6 Sep

On the whole my ancestors weren’t very helpful when it came to leaving wills, perhaps it was the case that by the end of their lives they didn’t have anything left to leave, either way I don’t have many wills for my ancestors. There is however one exception, the HEMSLEY family.

Whilst searching the National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk I have discovered a string of four entries in the calendar for my direct HEMSLEY ancestors, from the Framfield area of Sussex. The first is for my great-grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY, because he died suddenly and prematurely (aged only 38 years old), there was not a will so this refers to letters of administration.

HEMSLEY Henry Herbert of Stone House Cottage High Hurstwood Buxted Sussex died 1 July 1921 Administration Lewes 15 August to Minnie Hemsley widow. Effects £82 7s. 7d.

Next up is Henry Herbert’s father Henry Charles HEMSLEY (my 2x great-grandfather), who died almost ten years after his son.

HEMSLEY Henry Charles of 50 Alexandra-road Uckfield Sussex died 24 June 1931 Probate Lewes 10 August to Charles William Hemsley bricklayer and George Ralph smallholder. Effects £825 19s. 5d.

Then we come to Henry HEMSLEY, the father of Henry Charles and my 3x great-grandfather. I have already ordered a copy of his will in my search to find out more about Henry and his beerhouse the Gun Inn.

HEMSLEY Henry of the Gun Inn Blackboys Sussex died 10 January 1914 Probate Lewes 6 February to Joseph Hemsley farmer and George Hemsley gardener. Effects £106 12s. 4d.

Finally we come to Samuel HEMSLEY, Henry’s father and my 4x great-grandfather. I know very little about Samuel because my research has more or less stopped at his son and the Gun Inn, but no doubt I will go back further eventually.

HEMSLEY Samuel. 21 December. The Will of Samuel Hemsley late of Framfield in the County of Sussex Labourer deceased who died 9 March 1867 at Framfield aforesaid was proved at Lewes by the oath of Henry Hemsley of Framfield aforesaid Sawyer the Son the sole Executor. Effects under £20.

As usual there are some useful little snippets of information amongst these basic entries, especially the more recent ones which give addresses. I will need to go to East Sussex Record Office to see if I can follow the chain back any further.

At least I know I have some more wills that I can order after the current batch have arrived, and it will also be interesting to see how many of the siblings of my ancestors also left wills. As you can see most of them didn’t have much to leave, so I wonder why they felt the need to write wills?

Satisfying my curiosity – ordering the wills of my ancestors

27 Aug

The recently released National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk has tempted me into ordering copies of four wills, three of which I wouldn’t have even thought about ordering for a long time, the other one I probably would have ordered in the near future.

I don’t think any of these four wills are actually going to solve any particular research problems, but they should hopefully satisfy my curiosity.

  • John FAIRS (my 3x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in November 1915. John FAIRS was an agricultural labourer and if the cross on his daughter’s wedding certificate is anything to go by he was not well educated. So why was his estate valued at over £982? Where had this wealth come from?
  • William TROWER (my 4x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in January 1875. William TROWER was a farmer, almost the last of several generations to farm and live at Harwoods Farm in Henfield. I will be interested to see if the TROWER family were still owners of the farm.
  • Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) of Blackboys, Sussex who died in January 1914. Henry HEMSLEY was the licensee and owner of the Gun Inn, and the attached farm. This is the will I would probably have ordered quite soon, in the process of trying to find out everything I can about the inn.
  • Henry WRIGHT (my 3x great-grandfather) of Alton, Hampshire who died in August 1895. Henry WRIGHT was originally known as Henry SHORNDEN and he moved from Kent to Hampshire for some reason, I don’t really expect find answers as to why he changed his named and moved to Kent, but I would like to find out as much as I can about his life.
    If nothing else these wills are going to give me plenty of work to do as I process this lot, but it is also going to force me to get my act together when it comes to recording all the details in my database, in fact it might be worth starting now and deciding how all the information should be recorded.

Whilst I am waiting for them to arrive I should probably also write a post on how to order copies of wills, and how easy it is if you live in the UK and have a cheque book, otherwise things start getting a little more difficult.

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