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Flummoxed by a will - help please

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Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby M Fletcher » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:17 pm

Please note - I posted a message about this before but I have now got the detail straight.
Abbe ( Rev) Andrew Canvan ( Canavan) a Catholic priest born in Galway, educated in Paris, Ordained in Prague(franciscan), dies in 1819 in Roseau Dominica. For 17 years he was chaplain to the Duke of Berwick's regiment, marking him as a Jacobite supporter.
He leaves a bequest to his niece Eliza St Leger, formerly Bodkin, a widow of Galway town. She dies in 1824 and leaves a PCC will which only passes on to her children the bequest from Abbe Canvan. Half is left to her daughter Catherine who would be about 17/19 at the time and half divided between her four sons, Austin, James, William and my ancestor Nicholas St Leger, then aged 4 yrs. Nothing happen until Nicholas is 21 and this is in 1841. Research suggests that Austin and possibly James joined the army shortly after their mother died and William was a rather feckless character - so Catherine does not act until Nicholas is old enough to help her. in 1841 Catherine and Nicholas travel to Birmingham, to the Bull Ring to claim their estate (probate record). The administrators are John Irwin and Josiah Henry Simmonds. Luckily they are all captured in the 1841 census. John Irwin is an irish dealer ( and possibly a cousin of the St legers) and Simmonds was a clerk of the court and an auctioneer who went bankrupt that year.
Why Birmingham? Where would I find the original will of Andrew Canvan? help please.
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:54 pm

Where please is this PCC will of Eliza St Leger?

I have looked and can't find it but there are all sorts of places that it might be, so please tell us exactly how to find it.
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby ianbee » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:06 am

Might be this one
Description: Will of Eliza Saint Leger otherwise Bodkin, Widow of Galway
Date: 08 May 1841
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Reference: PROB 11/1946/171
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby ianbee » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:14 am

If Abbe Canvan's will was proved in Dominica, then you might be able to see it at a LDS Family Centre.
Dominica, Supreme Court Registry, Wills, 1790-1938
https://familysearch.org/search/catalog ... %20Library
The films are now digitized
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:33 am

Thanks Ian - there's something very strange in Ancestry. The PCC wills should all be in Ancestry under England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 and when I first looked on my my phone, I found the entry. Since then I cannot find it and had to resort to browsing.

You have to go to that collection and look under PROB 11 Will Registers, 1839-1841, Piece 1946 - which, of course, I only knew from Ian's post above. The 171 is a stamped folio number that corresponds to image 348 of 818.

OK, looking at Eliza's will in that dreadful handwriting - just look at the way "mind" (as in "of a sound & perfect mind") is written - 6 squiggles and a "d". No difference between m, i and n.

The will is simple - it simply refers to the "sums or legacy bequeathed me by my uncle..." One half to Eliza's daughter, Catherine, the other half to be split evenly between her (Eliza's) four sons. Signed 6 Dec 1824. (There is no evidence in the will of when she died).

Then on 8 May 1841, "Admon with the will annexed" of the estate of Eliza was granted to Catherine, one of the lawful children of Eliza.

That much is pretty much what we have already. However - there is no mention in this will of travelling to Birmingham, nor of administrators John Irwin and Josiah Henry Simmonds. I cannot see what Birmingham has to do with this, as this is a PCC will, which would surely be proven in London at the court of the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Which I thought was at Lambeth until someone proves me wrong!)

A couple of other things - I wonder if this will is only an extract of the original as it appoints no executors. Then again, any executors appointed had either died by 1841 or declined to serve as this is an Admon - Admons are normally issued where there is no will but occasionally you see "Admon with will attached" or similar where there is a will but the executors appointed cannot or will not serve.

The only other clue I can find is in FindMyPast's Index To Death Duty Registers 1796-1903 where Catherine Healey (first time I can read the surname!) has an address in Birmingham (Henrietta St?).

Either way I'm still stumped as I find nothing to link Messrs Irwin and Simmonds to the will, nor Birmingham other than that Catherine happens to be living there - or at least, has an address there. I presume I am missing something - what?
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:37 am

ianbee wrote:If Abbe Canvan's will was proved in Dominica, then you might be able to see it at a LDS Family Centre. ...

The microfilms in question are also now at the Society of Genealogists - not sure when they start allowing access to these films, which were at Kew until very recently.
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:26 pm

As requested, it would be useful if we could be told what and where the source for the role of Messrs Irwin and Simmonds, and Birmingham, is. We may be able to spot something. Otherwise, I suspect that this query can go no further. We're not being awkward, we just don't have anything to go on.

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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby ianbee » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:11 pm

M Fletcher wrote: in 1841 Catherine and Nicholas travel to Birmingham, to the Bull Ring to claim their estate (probate record). The administrators are John Irwin and Josiah Henry Simmonds. Luckily they are all captured in the 1841 census.

I think they would have been living in Birmingham in 1841, rather than the pair of them travelling there and just captured there by luck in the census. As Adrian said
AdrianB38 wrote:this is a PCC will, which would surely be proven in London at the court of the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Which I thought was at Lambeth until someone proves me wrong!)

DDI names executor Catherine Healy, Henrietta Str Birmingham
And that is where she is found in the census, piece 1144 book 4 folio 10 page 12 (Healey? Is Heeley on ancestry, and Haley on findmypast!)
And a Nicholas St Ledger in Birmingham, in Church Street. Piece 1144 book 2 folio 39 page 3 (folio 40 to my eyes!) Is Nicholas H Ledger on ancestry. Age 20, Journeyman Carpenter, born Ireland.
Is he the chap who married in Paddington in 1846? He was in London then!
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby M Fletcher » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:33 pm

Thank you for all the interest and the replies - they are much appreciated. I welcome all help.
I do not believe that Catherine and Nicholas were living permanently in Birmingham as I have plenty of evidence to show that Nicholas moved quickly to London and stayed there. The date of May 1841 in the death duty register , the address in Henrietta street ,given in both the index and the register, match with the 1841 census for Catherine. She appears as Healy in the census but I suppose that she kept this name as it matched the will- but she was already widowed when Eliza wrote the will and her new name was Fahy- as given in the death duty entry.
She is lodging with her daughter and a young girl called Sarah Burns, Nicholas is lodging a short walk away with an older man called James Burns - all from Ireland. Maybe a co- incidence but I suggest that they were possibly all saving money by renting only two rooms ( or space in two rooms)for the two families with the men in one and the women in another. John Irwin is also in the Birmingham 1841 census as a dealer from Ireland. josiah Henry Simmonds appears in a BIrmingham paper later that year as a bankruopt and was a former clerk of the court. Irwin is a family name as Nicholas' grandmother was an Irwin- so perhaps he is a family connection.


I visited Kew and read the Death duty entry as detailed below.
The details of Henry Josiah Simmonds and John Irwin come from the microfilms at Kew- very difficult to read. Reference IR26/1590

It says

Eliza st Leger Galway Ireland died 8th December 1824
Half the legacy bequeathed and (?) by her uncle Rev Andrew Canvan

plus several very difficult to decipher scribbles as the entry is at the bottom of a page that appears either damaged of badly photographed.

Birmingham Warwickshire
John Irwin (two words inserted - cannot make out what they say- possibly 'here assigned') of Bull Ring Warwick, ( another word)
Josiah H Simmonds of Handsworth, Stafford, Auctioneer 18th May 1841 £100

Catherines St leger now fahy daughter
Austin son
james son
Nicholas son
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Re: Flummoxed by a will - help please

Postby ianbee » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:20 pm

M Fletcher wrote:She is lodging with her daughter and a young girl called Sarah Burns

No relationships are given in 1841, but it would appear that Catherine Healy is the nominal head. She is top of a list of three, and only three, in one inhabited house
That is the address given in the DDI, we must presume that at that time it was her usual address.
Last edited by ianbee on Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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