52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 3 Probates (wills and administrations)

Week 3 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014. This means I'm 3/52 finished. Will I get to the end?

We all have copies of wills that "give devise and bequeath all my real and personal property of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situate unto ....." But what items make up the personal property ?These are the interesting aspects of wills.

Over the years the wills I've collected highlight many differences between families. In many, the proceeds are given to the spouse and later shared equally among all children. In others, some children are given significantly smaller proportions. Did they upset someone in the family? Perhaps they had been given a helping hand earlier in life. Who knows now? In some families there was absolutely no doubt about who was going to get what.

So what has been specifically willed in my extended families?

  • Jacob Scheef left his working horses, working bullocks, farming implements and machinery to all his sons (except my husband's grandfather)
  • Christina Scheef left her buggy and harness to her daughter Johanna Rosina Scheef
  • Henry William Seabrook left his book stand and portraits of myself and wife to his beloved daughter Sarah Caroline Reid
  • His carpenter's tools and chest were left to his son Daniel
  • Winifred Burleigh specified several items in her will including: shares, a ruby brooch , signet ring, silky oak bedroom suite, small wardrobe and chest of drawers and gold watch
  • Money was left by one family member to the Masonic Centenary Medical Research Foundation
  • Knox Moore left his draught horses to his son Knox
  • Peter Laurie Reid left money for the maintenance, advancement and benefit of his grandchildren
  • He also left his books, portraits, pictures, ornaments, jewellery, china and plated ware to his wife Sarah Caroline
Reading these now has made me think about my own will. I'm afraid it's one of those boring ones. Perhaps I need to make it more interesting!


  1. I also read an article about how important a will is and it is indeed. It has many aspects to consider and sometimes very complicated.


  2. Thanks Sharon - it's funny you mention thinking about your own will - we have just redone our own wills, they did need updating but writing the post definitely made me think about things I want to go to certain people.

  3. Do you know what kind of books were left? I was at Harvard University and it was interesting to find out how they named the buildings after people. Some of them were financial benefactors, or book benefactors. Of course, the 'rarer' the book, the higher a chance they would have something named after them!


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