The Will I left for later examination was for a "Richard PORTUS of Tattershall in the County of Lincoln Yoeman." This Last Will & Testament is dated 1648 and proved 1649.
I searched my database; I didn't have a Richard from Tattershall identified! Of all the Richards only two were from the early 17th century. And of those Richards, neither were from the Tattershall area nor were they born approximate time he would have been. So where do I start?
A NEW FAMILY TO RESEARCH. WOW!
Like I said, it is hard to read 17th century script, but I tried and I think I did a pretty good job. I bolded those named in the Will.
The 19th of February 1648
I Richard Portus of Tattershall in the county of Lincoln Yoeman: Being sick in body but ?? in mind blessed bee god doe hereby make and ordained this my last will and testament in manor and from following: first I doe bequeath my sole into the hands of the almighty god who gave it unto mee: In full assurance of the free and ?? of my sins in and through the merit of the __ Jesus Christ my only savior and redemer
Imprimus I doe give to my sonn John Portus five pound to bee paid to him when hee shall com to the age of one and twenty yeares but if it shall hapen that my sonn John Portus shall dye before hee com to age of one and twenty yeares then my will is that the said five pound shall bee paid to my two daughters Ann Portus and Ruth Portus that is fifty shillings a peece
Allso I doe give to my daughter Ann Portus ten pounds to bee paid to her when she com to the age of one and twenty yeares
Allso I doe give to my daughter Ruth Portus ten pounds to bee paid to her at the age of one and twenty years but if it shall hapen that eche Ann Portus or Ruth Portus dye before she com to the age of one and twenty yeares then her Survoivor of them free shall gave the ?hold twenty pounds at the age of one and twenty yeares
Alsoe I doe give to my brother Samuell Portus one shilling
Alsoe I doe give to William Portus my brother Christopher Portus his sonn one shilling
Alsoe I doe give to Richard Portus my said Brother Christopher Portus his sonn one shilling
All the rest of my good and chattells my Legases beeing paid & discharged I doe give to Elizabeth Portus my wife whom I doe make my whole and full executrix of this my last will and testament: In witness where of I have sett my hand & seale the daye and yeare first above written
Sealed and my hand sett to this my last will …..
Richard Portas [very crude signature]
Proved 2 Apr 1649
I couldn't make out most of what was at the bottom left corner and the back page was all in slanted Latin handwriting which I have no idea what it said. Transcribing this Will took several looks and many minutes. I think I got the essence of what was written.
PULLING INFORMATION OUT
No doubt it will take me awhile to piece this family together. I'm curious about Richard, yoeman of Tattershall –– does he connect to my family. In the Will there might be some clues.
Richard "yoeman"–– Richard must have owned a small piece of land. In the 17th century "A yeoman is generally used to mean a farmer who owns his own piece of land (however small) as opposed to being a tenant farmer. It may have been as simple as him wanting to sound a bit grander than his neighbours," as defined by an entry on British-genealogy.com. I've been to Tattershall and can only wonder where the farm would have been.
Richard has a son John and two daughters Ann and Ruth. All of whom have not yet reached the age of 21. The first child could have been born sometime between 1627 and 1648 when the Will was written.
I looked through all my notebook finds from my hunting and gathering times at the Family History Library each year for the past 10. In the 2007 book, I found an entry from the Tattershall parish records film, Richard PARTIS and Elizabeth BENINGTON married 15 Oct 1634. So it looks like the children's birth dates start around 1635.
I went looking online. FamilySearch.org has an entry for Ann "base born" to Richard PORTIS and Elizabeth BENINGTON 31 Aug 1634. In my notes there was also an Elizabeth daughter buried in 4 Aug 1635. FamilySearch also has an entry for John baptized 11 Jun 1642. There was no record entries for Ruth that I could find.
I searched through all my notebooks and found no more entries gleaned from the Tattershall records on Richard. I believe Richard and Elizabeth continued to live in Tattershall until their deaths and all their children were baptized there also.
We see Richard has two brothers – Samuell and Christopher. I had a Christopher in my database, but not much information other than he was living in Tattershall in 1635. I believe he is this Christopher. I found him in the indexed record of the "Lincoln Consistory Court, 1635: Ax, 145, Tattershall, church law hearing." I don't know what that was all about, but think it has to do with Christopher's death and reading of his Will. It could also be some sort of an accidental death hearing by the church instead of a coroner inquest at that time. FamilySearch.org has an entry for a Christopher PORTISE and Alice Hutchinson married 15 Sep 1616, Tattershall. I believe this is the same man. Also on Lincs to the Past in the Tattershall parish record is an Alice PORTAS "buried ye 23 day March 1645."
I have found no mention of Samuel from Tattershall in my database or my notebooks. He may have been living somewhere other than Tattershall. I have done searches on both Ancestry and FamilySearch and so far nothing has turned up.
We know that Christopher had two sons, William and Richard who were to receive one shilling each. The way the sentence was worded without punctuation, I had to read it several times to figure out if they were sons of Christopher or Richard's brothers. "William Portus my brother Christopher Portus his sonn" –– who would have thunk? I settled on those two were Richard's nephews. Christopher must have died in 1635, otherwise Richard probably would have named him as one of the receivers in his Will. He probably felt obligated to give them something since their mother was dead also. I have no idea how old the nephews would have been in 1648.
Richard's wife is Elizabeth –– Executrix; we don't know her maiden name from the Will, but my recording in the 2007 notebook had her as Elizabeth BENINGTON. FamilySearch.org also confirmed this with their entry. I also found an entry on FamilySearch.org that shows an Elizabeth PORTAS marriage to Willyam HARRISON 25 Jul 1649. This is following year after Richard died and his Will is proved. I'm sure she remarried since she had three children to bring up and needed the security of having a husband and father for the children.
Does Richard connect to my family? Only more research into this family will tell. So the hunt goes on. There is a lot of work yet to be done. More will turn up. I will continue to search through Lincs to the Past website posted parish records for Tattershall, but so far all I have seen are very faint and almost unreadable images. I might have to wait until I can get back to Salt Lake City or to a Family History Center where the images online have been enhanced and hopefully more readable.