Sunday, April 28, 2013

Looking at the 1724 Last Will and Testament: the Other William Portas of Tetney, Lincolnshire

In my last post (April 24, 2013)  I looked at the 1716 Last Will and Testament of William Portis of Tetney, Husbandman... I didn't know he was my 7x great grandfather when I "gathered" it on one of my Family History Library trips several years ago, but with the help of cousin Margaret the evidence became overwhelming he belonged to my family. Subsequently, I realized I also had his wife Syllina's LW&T from an early trip. Treasures.

Besides the 1716 LW&T, I picked up a second Will for a "William Portis of Tetney, Husbandman" ... who, as it turns out, is a different William. So who is he? Both Williams lived in Tetney parish during the same years. Is there a connection? Are there any clues in the Will which can tell me whose family he belongs to? The only name there is in common is Edward Ayscough. How does he fit into the scheme?

Out of all the Williams I have gathered (and I have found many) in the last few years, I can't match up this William (spouse Elizabeth) with any parents to help me in my connection quest. Of course that would be a benefit, but then the thrill of the hunt would be over quickly. So the hunt goes on.

In combination with this LW&T, parish record films, and cousin Margaret's genealogical researching prowess, I have put together a family unit which includes seven children. This only puts together their immediate family, but for now I'm glad I have this little bit.

Four of William's seven (known) children are named in his Will: John 1707-?; William 1713-?; Elizabeth before 1723-?; and Mary 1723-1728. The three not mentioned are: Edward 1718-?; Thomas before 1719-1719; Martin 1720-1720. At least two of these three died before the Will was drawn up, but since I haven't found a burial record for Edward, I don't know. I would guess he died; he would have been too young to be out on his own.

"Signed, Published and Declared" 26 Mar 1724. I do not have the administration of this LW&T.
It is interesting to read these old Wills. These old Wills have phrases and words that aren't used in the modern age; cousin Margaret helped with some of the deciphering. The more Wills of this age I read, the more familiar I become with the archaic language, spellings, not seeing punctuation as well asThey are also somewhat formulaic, yet keeping it personalized to the nearly deceased, particularly the beginning statement. 

"In the Name of God Amen I William Portis of Tetney in the County of Lincoln Husbandman being weak & sicke of Body but of sound and perfect memory thanks to be God for the same do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in Manner and form following...";  "I give and bequeath my soul unto Almighty God who gave itt to me trusting through the morele death and passion of Jesus Christ my Saviour to inherent ever lasting life and as for my body I commit to the Earth to be decently buried att the discretion of my Executors..." (If I have not transcribed this correctly...please let me know what needs fixing.)

There is a word I couldn't make out. It was added above "weak of" between the second and third line - it looked like Reke, but I didn't find it in a legal dictionary. Finally Photoshop "clean-up" exposed a crude ampersand and the word sicke. I only have one problem with this... the "e" at the end of sick isn't backwards. Maybe it isn't an "e"... that with the ink spot could be another symbol or letter, but for now I will go with what I have.

Once written, William begins to "give and dispose thereof..." to his son John Portis 30 pounds of "Good and Lawfull money of Great Brittain" to be paid to him when he reaches the age of 21... John was baptized 1714 at age of 7, he was born about 1707, that makes him about 17 at the time of the Will.

To his son William the same about "to be paid as ye former Legacy" which most likely means when he reaches the age of 21 also. William was baptized 1713, so he was about 11 years old; daughter Elizabeth, will receive 30 pounds at 21 years of age. Only other stipulation besides they being 21 is that none should "dy before they attain" their adult age. I haven't found a baptism for Elizabeth, so I don't know what age she is at this time, but we do know she must not be 21 yet.

As we read on he finally names his wife. "All my goods and Chattels what some ever I have moveable and unmoveable I give to Elizabeth Portis my loving wife and Mary Portis my Youngest Daughter whom I make Joynt Executrixes of this my Last Will and Testament..." What? Mary is an joint executrix? According to my records, she would have been about a year old at the time of the writing. Maybe that was written like that so both would be in the "estate" and taken care of until Mary reaches 21.

"In Witness Whereof I have hereto set my hand this twenty sixth day of March in ye year of our Lord 1724." And with a shaky hand, unlike the writing in the Will, he signs his name. Notice there isn't a "his mark X" within his signature as there is with one of the witnesses. William did know how to write. Whoopee, another thing revealed?

The witnesses are (as best I can make out): Richard Kerk and Edward Ayscough. There's Edward again. I will have to track this person down to see if there is a marriage and spouse name for him. It might take awhile because the records be in another parish...God only knows where... Edward I believe could be my best clue to which Lincolnshire family William belongs to. The Will didn't shed any light at all except maybe the naming practice with John - being the first son - named after William's father.

Added to the Will 14 Apr 1724, not declared as a "Codicil." 

The page above is an add-on, not declared as a "Codicil" like it was typically done. It is dated a couple weeks after the front side of the Will. This would mean William didn't die when the original was written. Margaret said it is common to have the Will written on the "death bed" and shortly after that day or next couple days the person died.

William seemed to have forgotten his brother John Portis and "My Brothers" John Martin and Tho- Taler or Talen (Taylor?)... Margaret says these two could be brothers-in-law. A clue! William has two sisters. I want to sing the "Blue's Clues" song...

It seems William is holding these men in trust of his children just in case his underage children - still living - "take security" with one of those three men if Elizabeth, his loving wife "should marry again to another husband." Could that mean he didn't want his children to be under the same roof with a step-father? Would he much rather have them under the care of his brother or sisters' husbands?

No matter, Elizabeth, as far as I can tell, didn't remarry. I found a burial record for who I believe is Elizabeth – 3 May 1758 "an ancient poor widow" (Tetney parish record) – this date is well after all the children, even Mary, would have attained the age of 21. Mary passed away sometime in 1728 about age 5.

I don't know much about this family at all and have only a couple clues for further searching. A couple clues might not be enough. I am not sure Edward Ayscough is connected to the family. William and Elizabeth didn't have a daughter old enough to be the spouse of Edward, so he might be another brother-in-law married to a sister of his wife? Or maybe William is the cousin to the other William (1716 Will) and Edward is somehow connected to that family. Both families lived in Tetney parish around the same time. There must be a connection, but how? I know the other William's daughter Jane married a John Ayscough. Could he be a brother or son to Edward? Oh, to throw a wrench into the mix...Edward could also just be that guy in the parish who witnesses everything and has no connection at all. Hmmm...

William (& Elizabeth) of Tetney family are now on my Family History Library trip's ToDo list. My quest in October will be to solve several mysteries, and the marriage record of this couple is one of them. Will I succeed during my eight-day trip or will it take me seven years more like it did to find Joseph?

I've got my work cut out.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A 1716 and a 1724 Last Will and Testament - both are for William PORTIS of Tetney

This is fun. I'm reading through two Last Will and Testaments dated 1716 and 1724. Both are for a "William of Tetney, Husbandman." Are they the same person? 

As you know I like to "hunt and gather" PORTAS families, particularly from Lincolnshire, England. I pick up information, documents, and parish record images from where ever I can and whenever they come to me. All my film images are basically from my annual October trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah in the past seven years. 

Several years ago, on one of those FHL trips, I gathered some Portas Wills hoping one day I would be able to connect those Portases with my family, but hadn't yet, until last October when I found the baptism entry of my 5x great grandfather Joseph. Knowing who his parents were from that baptism entry, I was able to connect with Margaret's family, and thus I could finally claim one of those wills to belong to an ancestor. 

[Note the use of the spelling PORTIS instead of PORTAS. It doesn't make a difference, this is still my ancestor.]

The 1716 LW & T is my 7x great grandfather's, Joseph's grandfather. Thanks to Margaret in Lincolnshire, any problem I have with deciphering while transcribing early 18th century legal jargon, words, as well as script, well, she has the answer for me. What a great resource she has been, too. Besides being my newly connected cousin, my translator, she is also one I turn to when I need to sort out who's who, where, when, etc. It is wonderful to share thoughts with another.

[First] "William of Tetney, Husbandman." 
William's 1716 Will names his "deare and loving wife Sillena" [Syllina] and leaves her the sum of twenty pounds along with a "fether bed" a bedstead and "all other furniture fitting or belonging to that bedstead." These were important items for her to have a somewhat comfortable life. Sillena also was to receive "all other things necessary for her" to have a fairly comfortable life "if she be not content to tarry with my son John." I have no idea what that means, possibly not to remarry, but stay with her son John.

Along with his wife's, he also includes his four children: William, Jane, Elizabeth, John. He leaves them twenty shillings and to their children "every and each of them a ewe sheep." We don't know how many ewe sheep was given out, but it could be upwards to 29 providing all the grandchildren were alive at that point. 

He also names his two brothers: John PORTIS and George PORTIS and gives them five shillings. How generous is that? 

William must have been somewhat wealthy to have a Will in the first place. I would love to know more about where they lived, the house, the acreage/farm. We already know the village is Tetney. I have been to Lincolnshire several times, but never got to Tetney – at the time I didn't know I had any ancestors living there. Makes me want to go back.

I just love reading about what is left to the survivors and imagine what the importance of the dying person's spouse and children were to him. Why are some children named as beneficiaries and some not? In this will, not all his children are named, but with caution, one can assume it's because they died prior to the Will, but more investigation within the parish records is needed to be certain.

Turning the paper on its side, we see William gives his son John "All ye rest of my goods moveable and unmoveable" and names him as his "whole and sole Executor" on the "fourth day of July in ye year of our Lord 1716."

The witnesses are James Middleton, Edw Noble, and Edward Ayscoghe (Ayscough). We must pay attention to Edward Ayscough because his name shows up on the 1724 Last Will and Testament. Would that mean he is connected to both families? The hunt now takes a little turn. I must not sidetrack. I can investigate the Ayscoughs later on.

The family unit named is interesting and should be paid attention to. William and Syllina had eight known children: Elizabeth 1678-1679; William abt 1679-1732; Mary 1681-?; John 1683-abt 1689; Thomas 1689-? [possible twin to John]; Jane 1685-?; Elizabeth 1688-?; John 1689-?

Jane married John Ayscough sometime before William died because she is named in the Will as the "wife of" John Ayscoghe, they had seven known children, but I haven't researched them as yet. [Is John the brother of Edward? or the son?]

Elizabeth was named in the will as the "wife of John Lingard" and they had five known children, yet to be researched.

Son William (my 6x great grandfather) married Isobel Salmon in 1705, they had 10 known children: William 1706-1706; Tomasin 1707-?; Isabel 1710-?; William 1711-1783; Thomas 1712-1786; John 1714-?; Joseph 1716-? (my 5x great grandfather); Mary 1718-1719; Ann 1723-?; Edward 1725-1795.

Son John married Ann Kirman in 1705 and had one known child Ann before wife Ann died in 1706; he remarried (soon after because he had a very young daughter) to Ann Dixon. They had six known children: Jane 1706-?; John 1707-1707; William 1715-?; John 1717-?; Selina 1722-?; William 1724.

Sorry for repeating the word "known." It is only because those are the children I have found and can verify. Margaret has given me some of the dates and names from her research; I'm in the process of gathering and entering the information from parish register images for my own verification. I trust, but I do like to also have the source or image, too. I don't mind doing the leg work either. It keeps me busy and out of trouble. 

One of the problems I have now – I really didn't pay attention to people that Margaret had already designated in her family. Now since I know Joseph belongs in her family, I have several years of gathering and putting aside all those images. I'm slowly getting my act together.

I guess it is up to William's son John to keep his mother or not. Back in those days, the women weren't regarded to be of equal status as their men folk. I was happy when I found Sellina's Will dated 1717. She did bequeath money to son William and three children; daughter Jane and her unknown number of children; daughter Elizabeth; two unknown men possibly farm hands; three grandchildren John Portas and Elizabeth AYSCOGHE and William LINGARD, and the rest is given to her son John (her executor). I have an entry of a burial record dated 31 Oct 1720, Tetney. No later Will has been found.

I know this William of Tetney, Lincolnshire is my ancestor. I believe he died shortly after he signed the Last Will and Testament in July 1716. Sellina's Will stated "Sillina Portis of Tetney in the County of Lincoln Widdo..." So I can be pretty sure the 1724 Last Will and Testament for William of Tetney, Husbandman is a different William Portas. But who could he be and how does he connect – if at all – to my family?

I'll examine the 1724 Last Will and Testament next time. Stand by.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tying the knot in 1895: William Dennis Porteous and Carrie Ida Snyder, my grandparents

The other day, I came across an image of my grandparents' marriage announcement. Thanks to cousin Sharon who had a nice copy stashed away in one of her family history caches. I must also thank Sharon for the "better" image of grandpa and grandma posing at a studio in Chicago in their wedding clothes. I don't think the wedding picture was taken on their wedding day because they were married about 50 miles northwest of Chicago. They were married at the Snyder home on Gilmer Road near Volo, Lake County, Illinois.

Mr. and Mrs. John Snyder,
announce the marriage of their daughter
Carrie I. Snyder
William D. Porteous,
On Wednesday, October Twenty-third,
eighteen hundred and ninety-five ,
At Ivanhoe, Illinois

Carrie Ida (Snyder) and William Dennis Porteous.
 I wish this was a color image showing the color of
grandma's dress. I have always thought her dress was
beautiful and simple, yet elegant in its own way. "The bride was
attired in heliotrope colord silk and wore cream colored tea roses."

[The following is a transcript of a newspaper announcement of the wedding. I don't know what newspaper it came out of, if I should happen to find the clipping photocopy, I'll correct this.] 

This is unique to what you see in the newspapers of today. I love the fact the gifts were listed. How many announcements do you see today like that?
About sixty friends and relatives gathered a the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Snyder, of Fremont, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 1895, to witness the marriage of their daughter Carrie to William D. Porteous. At high noon the bridal party appeared, Miss Lillian Coudrey acting as bridesmaid, and James W. Vanplew as best man, Rev. Dibble officiating. The bride was attired in heliotrope colored silk and wore cream colored tea roses. Congratulations followed the ceremony, after which the guests were invited to partake of a bountiful repast. In the afternoon the guests were entertained with music, both instrumental and vocal. 
Mr. and Mrs. Porteous received many beautiful and useful presents, among which were the following: Table cloth, napkins and set of dishes, father and mother of the bride; glass tea set, father and mother of groom; chamber set, Mr. and Mrs. James Vanplew; parlor lamp, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Snyder; water set, Mr. and Mrs. Charles C. Snyder; silver tea set, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Price, of Chicago; gold sugar shell,  Rev. and Mrs. Dibble; water set, James and John Vanplew; water set, Henry Coudrey; pair of pillow slips and set of bread and cake knives, Miss Lillian Coudrey; milk pitcher, Alice Snyder; chamber set, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Vanplew; bread plate and sauce dishes, Annie Vanplew; lantern, Bennie Porteous; bed spread, Miss Clara Ehinnger; pin cushion, Miss Bertha Ehinnger; lamp, Nettie and Nellie Ehinnger; comfort [warm quilt], Miss Fisher; pair of towels, Miss McConaty; pickle castor, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Davis; set of salts and peppers, Albert Snyder; grater and wooden spoon, Daisy Vanplew; paper rack and bracket, Miss Kitty Coudry; berry dish, Owen Vanplew; pitcher, Flo Vanplew; one dollar, Vernon Vanplew; five dollars, Mr. and Mrs. Clem Small; table cloth and napkins, Arthur Ritty; cake stand, Minnie Snyder; lamp, Edward Coudrey; silver sugar shell, A. A. Payne; bed spread, the Misses Murray.

Growing up in that house with grandma, I don't remember seeing any of the above items they received. I'm sure that over the years, she gave her daughters a lot of things. I wish I would have been a recipient, but I was young and just a granddaughter. I have a couple keepsakes of grandma's, but as I go over the above list, I can't pick out anything I have that would be a  match. Too bad.

Grandma's wedding dress was used many times as a costume in school plays or whenever we needed something "different" -- I have no idea what happened to it since it's been well over 50 years since school days. Her dress was a darker purple, but I'm sure that 60 plus years later when I saw it, nothing looks the same as it did when it was new. I am sad to think I let that slip away from my heirloom cache. Live and learn.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I asked where were the BERRY girls?

In an earlier post "Dear Sis & Bro: a 1904 Letter From Tom"  [Tuesday, February 26, 2013] towards the end of the post, I showed a picture of four men - BERRY men, Tom and his three sons. I was wondering where his girls were and why they weren't pictured. He did mention them in the letter. No matter, I just remembered I had an image of all their children including the girls!

These two images are part of a batch of family pictures cousin Sharon had in her stash. It is surely a stroke of luck that someone put an overlay tracing paper on the picture with the names of the children. Sharon didn't know who they were until I told her those were the Tom and Eliza (VAMPLEW) BERRY children. We are still trying to identify many more images both of us have. Maybe we will find Eliza and Tom one of these days.

Anyway, the picture is also dated 1896, taken at the F & G. Beales studio, 31 High Street, Boston, Lincolnshire, England. The ages of the children match close to what I have recorded in my tree program Reunion. Arthur (James) b. abt 1878; Bert [or Thomas Bertie] b. abt 1882; Wilfred b. abt 1883; Minnie b. abt 1887; Nellie [or Mary Helen] b. abt 1885. [The ages were calculated from the 1901 census. Class: RG13; Piece: 3046; Folio: 135; Page: 30.]

Looks like Minnie doesn't want to be in the picture.

Sometimes we get lucky and the owner gives us
a clue to who is pictured.

Friday, April 5, 2013

We Took AMTRAK To And From Salt Lake City / RootsTech 2013

I know it has been over a week since Bob and I came home from the monster conference RootsTech 2013. Family responsibilities and some catching up on duties around the house kept me from posting sooner.

So, here I am posting some images of our wonderful AMTRAK train trip from Naperville, Illinois to Salt Lake City and back. We decided to do this type of trip because the mountains had to be snow laden and we were expecting some beautiful scenery. 

The trip was a little more expensive than we would have liked, but the trip was so relaxing and enjoyable it was hard to notice the expense. All meals were included in the price and we had our own toilet! The food on the train was very good, not at all "airplane" food. 

A trip bonus was the people we met and talked to at our meals. They were interesting, friendly, and entertainingly informative on various subjects. All in all, we enjoyed the round trip, especially the mountains. I do have to admit, though, once we crossed the Mississippi River back into Illinois, we were anxious to depart the train. That last leg felt the longest.

Making up our beds. Bob gets the top bunk!
Slept through Nebraska...
woke up in Denver!


Our train follows the Colorado River several hundred miles.
In the higher elevations the river was under snow and ice.

Looking back at the Rockies and the River running through it.

Oh, and then there were the tunnels, short and long!
Stare at this image for 10 minutes...
that is how long it took before
we saw the end of the six-mile tunnel at
the Continental Divide.

Our table is waiting.


We are now approaching the Ruby Canyon and
we are still following the Colorado River.

Getting to the end of the Ruby Canyon and
soon we would be entering Utah.

Colorado River flows away from us as
our train turns towards Utah.


The evening of our first full day in SLC: scene outside our hotel window.
You can see some of Temple Square
and the LDS's Conference Center below the Capitol building.

I spent one full day in the Family History Library which wasn't extremely busy on the Wednesday before RootTech 2013. I could have spent my whole four days there and scrap the conference, but I'm planning my annual trip to SLC in October. So, the next three days was spent at the conference with 6700+ people from all over the world. As I said before it was BIG! Next year will be even bigger and supposedly they will be going global with their sessions. Bob didn't attend the conference, but rather walked around the town visiting Sam Weller's bookstore, capitol building, and various restaurants and cafés.

Thousands crammed the giant Hall 1 to
hear the keynote speakers each morning.

A special concert was given at the Tabernacle by
the famous Choir just for RootsTech 2013 attendees.

One evening we attended the 50th birthday party for Thom MacEntee, a Geneablogger, genealogist, webmaster, and a RootsTech 2013 presenter... There is more to his credits than I can list here so go visit <> for a more complete biography, and general poking around the site. 

Geneabloggers were invited to the party several months prior to the conference. There were about 85 bloggers attending. Among the attendees was Dear Myrtle and Dick Eastman. Snacks were wonderful and there was a cash bar. Music and dancing was a must for some of the more limber. I talked with a fellow blogger who is from Vancouver, B.C. She and I (as we found out) have the October Family History trip in common and our respective groups stay at the same small family owned hotel.

Thom MacEntee and me.
What a nice time celebrating this youngster's birthday.

Meeting Dick Eastman another blogger and technology guru was
just one of the highlights of the evening.

On our way home. For miles we could see the snow clouds emptying.

We headed into the snow clouds. It wasn't really too bad. There was
some snow falling, but no blizzard where we traveled.
It looked worse than it was.

It was cold and snowy outside, but nice and warm in our little cabin
as we headed for the mountains and home.

I would recommend AMTRAK to anyone, but train travel isn't for everyone. You really must have the time allotted from your busy life to take the trip. The trip was about 34 hours - one way. From Chicago, we left in the early afternoon; had dinner in Iowa as it was just barely getting dark. Bob and I watched a movie on my computer until it was time to get our bed set up. Sleeping? Well, it isn't home. By morning we were in Denver where we picked up a more powerful engine for the climb into the mountains. A beautiful all-day trip through the Rockies then eating dinner just into Utah. We didn't sleep on the train that second night because we pulled into Salt Lake City station about 40 minutes early or 10:20 p.m. MT.