I am certain that this William HOLMAN is my 5x great-grandfather, and the will has laid to rest my fears about two William and Elizabeth HOLMANs in Burstow, Surrey around the same time, so it was well worth spending £3.50 of my money on.
Although the will only mentions one wife (Elizabeth), it does also mention bequests to nine sons and six daughters. It also mentions another son (Thomas), who stood to inherit everything after the death of Elizabeth. By my reckoning that gives me 16 children in all, so it looks like William was married twice, both times to a woman called Elizabeth. Panic over!
The nine boys were Joseph, William, John, Benjamin, Stephen, James, Anthony, Richard and Robert. The six girls were Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Judith, Peggey and Catherine (my 4x great-grandmother). All of them were left the sum of one guinea each. These names don’t all tie-up exactly with the baptisms I have, but the majority do, so I am convinced this is the right family.
I need to take some time now and sit down and transcribe the complete will, I find it takes quite a bit of time to get used to the handwriting, but once I get back into the right frame of mind it is usually quite easy.
Hopefully I can get to have a look at the Burstow parish registers soon, and check for the burial of the first Elizabeth and William himself, the will was dated the 11th September 1807 and proved in London on the 4th March 1808, that should help me find his burial.
All in all this is looking like quite a happy ending to a worrying scenario that was forming in my mind about my HOLMAN ancestors, but I needn’t have worried. Why do I always suspect the worst of my ancestors and assume they were trying to give me a headache?