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

Bombay Love Story Continued…

Obituary Notice for Drusilla WILLS (nee WREFORD)
(Auckland Star, Volume LXV, Issue 140, 15 June 1934, p3)

This obituary for Drusilla WILLS (nee WREFORD) featured in my previous post stated that:

Mrs. Wills is survived by two children. Mr James Wills and Mrs. D. Evans, and 15 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.

My searches of the NZ BDM showed me that Thomas & Drusilla had 3 children:

Richard Henry, Drusilla Howard and James Howard WILLS birth registrations
So you may presume (as I did) that:
a) their son Richard Henry died prior to 1934; and
b) the Mrs D Evans referred to is their daughter, Drusilla Howard.
However a search of Wills/Evans marriages from 1865 only came up with 2:
WILLS/EVANS marriage registration
This means that one of the surviving children was actually ANOTHER daughter called Charlotte (and the D being her husband’s initial).  However, there was no birth record of a Charlotte WILLS.  So, IS this Charlotte a daughter of Thomas & Drusilla?
I was able to find the marriage of Drusilla Howard WILLS (spelt Drucilla – one of the 3 births listed) to a William SHORT in 1899.
I checked the WREFORD pedigree compiled in 1908 (more on that another time) which notes Drusilla and Thomas had SIX children.  With only 3 of those listed in the online BDMs – is it possible to find these other children OR was the compiler mistaken?
Next Steps:
  • Check birth notices in newspapers (Papers Past)
  • Check BDM for WILLS deaths prior to 1934
  • Scour newspapers for any other references to the family