Who left what to who and why? More questions than answers with today’s research..

Posted on: August 11th, 2010 by pj
I have to admit to getting a little rush of excitement when new record collections appear online and today was no exception with the release of the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941 over at ancestry.co.uk.  As usual I dived in with little forward planning, cherry picking the ancestors I thought would have the most interesting wills, expecting that very few would actually have the resources to make a last will and testament.  I was surprised to find that even with modest estates many had made formal plans to pass on their effects to loved ones.  Apart from the obvious information about legacies the probate calendar was able to confirm birth dates and in some cases it named relatives such as nephews that I hadn't known about.  However, it wasn't long before the questions popped up.  Why did the apparently wealthy businessman have only a few pounds to share out between his children?  Why did William Rainbow leave everything to his son and nothing to his wife?   I'm hoping that ordering the actual copies of the wills might prove more enlightening but I've been researching long enough to know that for every answer we're often left with two questions and that's probably why we like genealogy so much.

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