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.

1 comment: