Wills and Williams

I was overjoyed to find the will of William GLAISTER (1816 – 1883) on the FamilySearch site in the Archives New Zealand probate records collection.  He was a {white & black}smith of Kelso in Roxburghshire, Scotland before emigrating to Dunedin, New Zealand in 1872.   [This William was also the subject of a previous post – Addressing Up]

In summary (from what I can make out):

  • All his tools were to be given to his son Edward
  • Ten pounds were to be given to each of his three (male) grandchildren
  • Janet was to be allowed to use and occupy his house and home and given an income for life (she was to die only 2 years later)
  • Section 235 & 236 of The Glen were to be given to his sons Edward & Thomas (as long as his debts were satisfied)
  • Everything else was to be sold off and the money shared between all his children

However, I was curious as to why only two of his sons, Edward and Thomas, and three of his grandchildren were mentioned by name in his will?  Also, his two executors, William Sinclair and Alfred Kingston Smith were not his sons so who were they?

Below is a transcription of the will (written 3rd of March 1883) with the names in bold typeface [indentation added by me for ease of reference]:

This is the last will and testament of me William Glaister of The Glen near Dunedin in the Provincial district of Otago and Colony of New Zealand Whitesmith. I appoint William Sinclair of Dunedin aforesaid Warehouseman and Alfred Kingston Smith of the same place Fishmonger Executors of this my will

I give and bequeath to my son Edward Glaister all the tools of my trade and to each of my grand children William Smith, William Sinclair the younger and William Glaister the sum of Ten pounds

I give devise and bequeath unto the said William Sinclair and Alfred Kingston Smith and the survivor of them the heirs executors and administrators of such survivor hereinafter referred to as my said Trustees all my real and personal estate upon trust to permit and suffer my wife Janet Glaister to use occupy and enjoy all my real estate whatsover without impeachment of waste and also all my household furniture and such of my personal estate (other than money) as my said attorney wife may require without being responsible for any loss or diminution in value which may arise therefrom

And as to the residue (if any) of my personal estate upon trust to sell and convert the same into money and after payment of all my just debts legacies funeral and testamentary expense to invest or apply the same as hereinafter appears

And from and after the death of my said wife as to section two hundred and thirty five (235) The Glen upon trust for my son Edward Glaister subject to the proviso hereinafter contained and as to section two hundred and thirty six (236) The Glen upon trust for my son Thomas Glaister subject to the proviso hereinafter contained

And as to all the residue of my real and personal estate upon trust to sell and convert the same (or such part thereof as shall not consist of money into money and shall stand possessed of the moneys to arise from such sale and conversion of my estate and such part thereof as shall consist of money upon trust for all my children equally share and share alike

And I hereby declare that any money in the hands of my Trustees may be invested by them of depositing the same in any Bank, Building Society or public Company or in any way which my said Trustees may seem desirable

And I hereby empower my said Trustees to pay the income thereof to my said wife during her life and if they shall deem it necessary so to do to apply the whole or any part of the principal sum then in their hands for her support and maintenance anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding.

And I do hereby declare that if my personal estate shall prove insufficient for the payment of my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and the legacies to my grand children the deficiency shall be paid by my sons Edward Glaister and Thomas Glaister in equal shares and if both or either of them shall fail or neglect to pay the sum necessary for this purpose within twelve months after the same shall have been demanded from them or him it shall be lawful for my said Trustees to sell the sections or section to which they or he would have been entitled and after payment thereout of all my expenses attending such sales or sale and the proportionate amount so required for payment of the said debts expenses and legacies to stand possessed of the proceeds of such sales or sale for the persons or person who would have been entitled to the said sections or section if such sale or sales had not been made [In witness] whereof I have hereunto set my hand this third day of March One thousand eight hundred and eighty three

Signature of William Glaister (1816 – 1883) as it appears on his last will and testament

 

William married twice; his first wife Margaret MURRAY died sometime between 1853 and 1857 when he married his second wife, Janet Waldie.  He had 8 children – 4 with each wife:

Children with 1st wife Margaret:
Robert 1844
Janet 1846
Margaret 1851
William Murray 1853

Children with 2nd wife Janet:
Barbara 1858
John 1860
Edward 1863
Thomas 1866

First step was to work out who was still alive at the time the will was written.

Janet died at just 2 years of age in 1848 and John died 2 years before the will was written at the age of 21.

Burial entry of Janet Glaister 1846-1848

 

Death notice of John Glaister, Otago Daily Times, Issue 6106, 5 September 1881

Next step, the surnames of the grandchildren were a hint that his executors were actually his sons-in-law.  Searching NZ BDM online gave a William Richard Smith born to Alfred Kingston Smith and Margaret in 1874 and William Donald Sinclair born to William Sinclair and Barbarain 1878.  This then led me to the marriages of William’s two surviving daughters, Margaret and Barbara confirming that they were indeed married to the two executors. I then searched for the grandchildren using the parents’ names:

Children of Margaret Glaister & Alfred Kingston Smith
Possible children of Barbara Glaister and William Sinclair

Children with 1st wife Margaret:
Robert
1844
Janet 1846 – 1848died at 2 years of age
Margaret 1851 – married Alfred Kingston Smith in 1874 (executor); their first son, William Richard Smith (b.1874) (1st grandson mentioned)
William Murray 1853 – 1917 – his son, William David Murray Glaister (b.1879) (3rd grandson mentioned)

Children with 2nd wife Janet:
Barbara
1858 – married William Sinclair in 1878 (executor); their first son, William Donald Sinclair (b.1878) (2nd grandson mentioned)
John 1860 – 1881 – died 2 years before the will was written
Edward 1863
Thomas 1866

[The names of people referred to in the will in green bold typeface]

So it seems as though only Edward & Thomas were specifically provided for as they were underage at the time (not yet 21); the 3 grandchildren were the eldest grandsons and possibly the only males alive at the time (though no deaths or other records have yet been found for James Robertson Sinclair); and the executors of the will were William’s daughters husbands. The daughters & grandaughters, as was often the custom in these times, were ignored.

It still doesn’t clear up why his eldest son, Robert (who appears not to have married) nor his second eldest, William Murray (my ancestor) were not the executors, let alone mentioned at all.

Next Steps:

  • Find out more about eldest son, Robert Glaister b. 1844

Will or Testament?

I noticed this morning that the Scotlands People website has changed a bit (at least cosmetically) which in turn led me to notice the free wills and testaments search in the left bar.  So I started plugging away at some of my Scottish ancestors and came across a possible record for William MURRAY, dated 1839:

William MURRAY was the father of Margaret MURRAY (who married William GLAISTER in 1843).  It seems I had been unable to locate Margaret or her family in the 1841 census NOR find a record of the marriage of her parents when last researching the line and so left the family there for the time being.  Today, after consulting the new Family Search BETA and 1841 census transcriptions on a site called Graham Maxwell Ancestry, I was able to discover the marriage of William MURRAY to Janet BELL in the Kelso parish registers, 1817:

 

William Murray, Stocking-maker here & Janet Bell, Daughter of Alexr. Bell, Stocking-maker in Melrose, after the publication of the banns of marriage in the Church of Kelso, were married, at Melrose, on the eighth day of Decr. 1817 by the Revd. Mr. Thomson, Minister of Melrose, in presence of these witnesses Lieut. Lachlan Burn of the R.N. – Kelso & George Hart – Melrose

As the marriage obviously took place in Melrose, I decided to see if the Melrose records held any more information.  It’s quite amusing how little they actually held compared to the Kelso registers:

 

[1817, Nov 30] William Murray residing in the parish of Kelso and Janet Bell residing in this parish.

I’m pretty sure this is the family on the 1841 census:

The names and ages of the children are all correct (as found on the IGI) – only Margaret is missing (possibly working elsewhere). The only other concern is that William, who was recorded as a stocking maker at marriage is now a barber.  Not impossible by any means but a concern nonetheless.

So, back to the testaments – is this my guy?  Is the testament dated in 1839 because that William MURRAY had died OR was it drawn up before death?   If the 1839 date indicates the date of death, it is not my guy because he appears to be alive on the 1841 census.  I’m a tad confused.

UPDATE: The will bequeaths all to this man’s niece, Anne P. Murray or Montgomerie as the sole beneficiary so apparently NOT my William MURRAY. However, he was residing in Kelso at time of death so I feel he must be related somehow, even if distantly.

Next Steps:

  • Determine how this William Murray & Anne Murray/Montgomerie fit in my tree (if at all)

Calendar of the Dead

Ancestry have now released the National Probate Calendar (1861-1941) which is almost like an index to wills.  A distant relative who has worked with me on my STILING line gave me the heads up and I checked it out:
STILING John 9 October.
The Will of John Stiling late of Tiverton in the County of Devon Yeoman deceased who died 3 February 1862 at Tiverton aforesaid was proved at Exeter by the oath of Edward Stiling of the Parish of Tiverton aforesaid Yeoman the Son one of the Executors.
Effects under £600.
[handwritten underneath] Resworn at the Stamp Office Feb 1865 under £450.

I believe this to be my John STILING for the following reasons:

  • he dropped off the census after 1861
  • wife declared a widow on the 1871 census
  • recorded living at Tiverton since 1811 (son Edward’s birth)
  • has son Edward STILING
  • farmer (yeoman) since 1841 census

This is the first time I had even come close to a death date for John STILING so I was very pleased indeed to see this entry.

I used ancestry to look further into the son mentioned, Edward STILING and found what appears to be his will too. The entry contained: formerly of Barton but late of Tiverton Farmer died 16 Feb 1873 at Tiverton – Elizabeth Daw, widow, his sister executrix.

Not only do I have a death date but also a daughter of John that I was unaware of until now.

Next Steps:

  • Obtain a copy of John & Edward STILING’s wills