Tag Archives: probate

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.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

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.

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.

High expectations = big disappointment

14 Apr

It seems like I have been waiting for months for the will of Ann GEERING of Hailsham, Sussex (my 6x great-aunt) to arrive. I was hoping this would provide me more details of her relations and confirm a connection between the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex and Lewes, Sussex.

There was such disappointment when I opened the envelope and read the will. The only beneficiary was Ann’s niece Jane. I already know about Jane (the one who drowned in the common pond at Hailsham), I knew she was the sole executrix, but had hoped that someone else also benefited from Ann’s will.

Despite the wait I am no further forward with my research, perhaps it is my fault. Perhaps the disappointment is of my own making, was I creating false expectations about the contents of the will? Yes, with hindsight I probably was expecting too much.

Interestingly there is one further record that is probably related to Ann’s will that I need to investigate. East Sussex Record Office have a series of valuation books from A. Burtenshaw and Son who were auctioneers and valuers in Hailsham.

The valuation book dated March to May 1864 (ESRO BUR/2/1/134) contains an entry described in the catalogue Access to Archives as “p.51 Hailsham: household (late Geering), 1864″. I feel that this has got to be related to the execution of Ann’s will and although it probably won’t help my research, it might give me a bit of an insight into the life of Ann.

Some progress in tracing “the old druggist”

8 Mar

Last Saturday I came away from the West Sussex Record Office with copies (and transcriptions) of two wills, one for Richard GEERING and one for his wife Mary GEERING (possibly “the old druggist”) probably my 6x great-grandparents from Hailsham, Sussex.

The information in them is not conclusive, Richard was a shopkeeper but no mention of what it was he sold. Both wills mention three children: James, Mary and Ann. In Mary’s will her daughter Mary has married someone with the name Baily.

So I have some useful clues to follow up here, I know what happened to James and Ann (remained in Hailsham), but I have no idea what happened to Mary. I have a baptism record for James, but not one for Mary or Ann.

It would appear that James left no will, or it wasn’t needed, but Ann did leave a will (according to the National Probate Calendar) and her niece Jane was her executrix. I need to order a copy of that will to see if any other family members are mentioned. It doesn’t appear that Jane left a will when she died in 1874.

It seems likely that Jane was the daughter of James (my 5x great-grandfather), because there is no indication of another son, so unless Mary or Ann had an illegitimate daughter there doesn’t appear to be any other option. I need to try and find her baptism somewhere.

I really would have liked to find a will for James GEERING, that made the connection to my 4x great-grandfather Richard GEERING in Lewes, Sussex. I don’t think I am going to find conclusive evidence unless he is mentioned in his aunt Ann’s will.

Now I have all this information to integrate into my research, and several baptisms to locate, also a marriage to find (and possibly some children). I then need to assess what other records I can hope to find at East Sussex Record Office.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers

%d bloggers like this: