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)

2 thoughts on “Will or Testament?”

  1. The date given in the Wills & Testaments index is the date of confirmation (not the date the will, if any, was written). Sometimes the date of death is given in the description column. This Will is definitely for a William Murray who had died by 20 July 1839 so cannot be the man in the 1841 Census above.

    Hope that helps!



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