Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge on her No Story Too Small blog in 2014. This year she continued the challenge, but also added a weekly theme. This week’s theme is Where There’s a Will: Do you have an ancestor who left an interesting will? Have you used a will to solve a problem? Or, what ancestor showed a lot of will in his or her actions?
At this stage, I haven’t used Wills very much in my research – the birth, death and marriage certificates here in Australia are easily accessed, and provide enough details in order to ascertain relationships. The details in death certificates can often also be supplemented by death notices, which often list the married names of daughters, as well as names of grandchildren, and sometimes even great grandchildren.
One will I did obtain which helped to confirm the relationships in the family was that of Simeon Leete. The original will is available at the National Archives website http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D349773 reference:PROB 11/1470/81 Description: Will of Simeon Leete, Gentleman of Guilden Morden , Cambridgeshire Date: 10 November 1807
The following is a transcription – there were a number of words that I wasn’t quite able to make out, which I have indicated with question marks.
This is the last Will and testament of me Simeon Leete the Elder of Guilden Morden in the county of Cambridge ? ? and first I give and ? unto my son Simeon Leete and his heirs all my ? farm with the cottages ? and premises ? belonging situate ? being at Guilden Morden and ? and ? in my own occupation ? paying? the following sums of money (?) unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Leete Five hundred pounds and also ? yearly annuity or sum of one hundred pounds over and above all ? by way of ? of ? whatsoever which said annuity and sum of money I do hereby give and bequeath unto my said beloved wife accordingly also the further sum of one thousand pounds which I do hereby give ? unto my son Jackey Leete also the further sum of five hundred pounds which I also give ? unto my daughter Elizabeth wife of Edward Fossey also the ? sum of five hundred pounds which I also give ? unto my daughter Ann wife of Edward Prime also the further sum of two hundred pounds which I likewise give ? unto my daughter Mary the wife of Williams which said several sums of money and also the said annuity I do hereby charge upon and make payable out of my said farm and Estate above ? to my said son Simeon and his heirs accordingly also
I give and ? unto my said son Jackey Leete and to his heirs all my Estate at Kingston? in this County or any Parish or ? adjoining ? in the occupation of ? or his ? also I give and ? unto my said Daughter Mary Williams and her heirs all ? and ? at Steeple Morden now in the occupation of her husband as servant to me and also all my other farm lands and premises situate at Steeple Morden aforesaid and in the occupation of William Rawlins ? the ? unto my said Daughter Mary Williams and to her ? for ever and all the ? of my ? Estate whatsoever and wheresoever and also all my household furniture plate silver farming stock and crop and all other my Goods Chattels and personal Estate whatsoever and where soever out of ? or ? I give and bequeath unto my said two sons Simeon and Jackey Leete to be equally divided between them and Lastly I ? and appoint ? my said two sons Simeon Leete and Jackey Leete joint Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other will and wills by me at any time heretofore made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my ?and seal the seventeenth day of October in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Seven – ? seal X of Simeon Leete (?)
Simeon Leete the Elder ? Testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our ? as witnesses ? Simeon Dix Tabitha Dix
This Will was proved at London the tenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seven before the ? worshipful Samuel ? parson ? of ? Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir William Wynne ? ? also ? of ? Commissary of the Prorogrative Court of Canterbury lawfully instituted by the oaths of Simeon Leete and Jackey Leete the Sons of the deceased and the Executors named in the said will to whom administration of all and singular the Goods Chattels and credits of the said deceased was granted having been first sworn duly to administer.
Simeon Leete was christened 17 November 1740 at Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire. He was the son of Simeon Leete and Mary Warren. Simeon married Elizabeth Fossey on 15 November 1763 at Wallington, Hertfordshire, England. He was buried 21 October 1807 at Guilden Morden.
Simeon and his wife Elizabeth had the following children:
- Edith (listed as Ede on the baptism record) christened 20 Jan 1765 at Guilden Morden. She married Simeon Sell. (Edith and Simeon were the parents of Tempest Sell). Edith was buried 12 August 1798 at Guilden Morden. She had therefore died before this will was written.
- Simeon christened 10 August 1766 at Guilden Morden. He is mentioned in his father’s will.
- Thomas christened 13 November 1768 at Guilden Morden. He was buried 19 December 1802 at Guilden Morden. He was known as Thomas of Barkway. He died before this will was written.
- Mary christened 10 June 1770 at Guilden Morden. She was buried 2 August 1770 at Guilden Morden.
- Mary christened 24 February 1772 at Guilden Morden. She married Herbert John Williams on 19 June 1788 at Wendy Cum Shingay. She is mentioned in the will.
- William christened 24 June 1774 at Guilden Morden. There was a William Leete at Histon who is listed on some family histories as Simeon’s son, however, since William is not mentioned on his father’s will, he is more likely to have died before 1807. There is a William Leete who was buried at Guilden Morden on 25 October 1799 who may be this William.
- John christened 2 June 1775 at Guilden Morden. He was buried 18 July 1775 at Guilden Morden.
- Jackey christened 11 November 1776 at Guilden Morden. Mentioned in his father’s will.
- Elizabeth christened 22 June 1778 at Guilden Morden. Buried 23 August 1778 at Guilden Morden.
- Elizabeth christened 30 August 1779 at Guilden Morden. Married Edward Fossey on 22 January 1798 at Guilden Morden. She is mentioned in the will.
- Ann christened 12 August 1781 at Guilden Morden. Married Edward Prime on 4 January 1802 at Guilden Morden. She is mentioned in the will.
- Sarah christened 21 December 1788 at Guilden Morden. She was buried 29 January 1807 at Guilden Morden. She had died before her father’s will was written.