Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Probate Records

The Internet site holds seven sets of PRobate records for the surname McIlhagga. They are for the following people:

Margaret, died 13 May 1927;
Margaret, died 31 Dec 1940;
Robert, died 13 Apr 1951;
Lindsay, died 16 Feb 1954;
Adelaide, died 31 Aug 1956;
George Robinson, died 20 May 1957;
Harry, died 15 Dec 1962.

I think that a number of general and random comments are in order. First, three of the seven are my own immediate family, my father, grandmother and aunt. It is interesting to compare the value of money at different times, e.g. £1000 (sterling) in the 1930s was worth approximately £40,000 in today's money. Second, four of the seven are people who died in Ireland and the amount of their effects, which in each case is fairly small, only applies to the portion of what they owned which was in England. Presumably there is a record in Ireland of the portion which applied to Ireland.

Each record names the person to whom probate was granted. The relationship to the person who had died is of course of interest and usually of genealogical interest. Margaret who died in 1927 is stated to be the wife of William, a Commercial Traveller. So we know that William survived his wife, and we know his occupation. Margaret who died in 1941 is said to be a spinster. The administration is given to Lindsay, a Company Director, without any mention that he was her brother.

Robert who died in 1951 was in fact a bachelor, though on mention is made of this. Probate was granted to Robert Kennett a Merchant, with no mention that he was a nephew. Robert (Jr.) was the son of Robert (Sr.)'s nearest sibling, Rebecca. Robert Senior was one of twelve siblings and maybe he felt closest to the one who had named a child after him. The full name of Robert junior is recorded, Robert McIlhagga Kennett. From a genealogical point of view not only do we have an example of our clan name being continued as a middle name, we have learned for the first time that Rebecca and her husband Charles Kennett had a son, who like his uncle was a merchant.

Lindsay who died in 1954 clearly named his business partner as his executor, to whom probate was granted. What is 'hidden' behind this fact is that they had a private agreement that his partner would look after Lindsay's family from a financial point of view which was honoured until Lindsay's wife died many years later. Adelaide died in Dublin in a Nursing Home directly opposite the house in which her husband was living. She's called a 'married woman' so we know that her husband was still alive, and he is named, with his occupation of Hardware Merchant.

George Robinson McIlhagga, who died on 20th May 1957 gives us an example of an Estate taking quite a time to wind up. Probate was granted two years later, probably because he died insestate. Administration was given to his widow. It is from the probate records that we learn her middle name. Apparently she was Kathleen Madden Trueick. Finally we learn the basic 'vital' fact of the date of death of Harry McIlhagga, on 15th December 1962, administration being given to his widow, Sarah Laura (nee Browne).

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