View Full Version : Would he have had a will?

02-01-2006, 3:03 PM
My 4th Great Grandfather, John Spencer died in the Ulverston Workhouse in 1872 at the age of 82. The 1871 census has him listed as a pauper. In the prior census he is listed as a cabinet maker. Seems to me, he had a good trade.
What would be the first step for me, to see if there was a will?


Guy Etchells
02-01-2006, 4:44 PM
If he was shown to be a pauper then it is doubtful there would be a will.
Being a tradesman does not mean being well off, he could have been a bad craftsman or he could have been a good craftsman who fell on hard times.
Perhaps he had an accident or long illness that prevented work.

02-01-2006, 5:01 PM
Guy's correct that it's unlikely you'd find a will - but - you might just possibly find a mention of letters of administration (uaually referrred to as 'Admons').

Letters of Adminitration were granted were someone died without leaving a will, or where someone other than an executor was given permission to administer his estate. If your chap had recently been in business (perhaps been recently bankrupted?) and had not long resided in the workhouse, you might strike lucky.

The index to wills and admons can be seen on microfilm at many County Record Offices/Local Studies Libraries (for those outside the UK, you may be able to get them via the mormon centres) and is very easy to use. If you see an entry referring to admon, note down all the detail in the index - it is not usually worthwhile applying for a copy of the admon as it doesn't contain any more detail than the index.


02-01-2006, 5:20 PM
The 1861 census has him living with his wife in a home. His wife died in 1863. Maybe he was bad off and with his wife dying, he had to go to the workhouse. I'll order some more films from the mormons and see if I can come up with anything.


02-01-2006, 5:31 PM
In case you haven't used them before, there is one set of films per year. Within each year, entries are arranged alphabectically by surname and then forename. The great majority of wills/admons appear in the year of death, or the following year. So, if you can order them via the mormons, you should only need one, or two films at most. The detail in the index includes name, where and when died, often an occupation, to whom probate/admon was granted, often their relationship to the deceased and/or occupation and/or address; value of estate, when and where probate/admon was granted.

As a little extra, in case you don't already have it:

Pigot's Commercial Directory 1828-9 covering
Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmoreland
Ulverstone (sic) - page 296, column 1.
Cabinet Makers.
SPENCER, John Liddell, Queen Street
(he is also shown to be an upholsterer)

Happy New Year


02-01-2006, 5:55 PM
I would be very interested to know if the LDS has the wills index (after 1858) available on film. I have tried searching their (LDS) catalogue online but am unsure of the correct title of the index, and when I asked the volunteers at the local LDS FHC there was a blank look on their faces and one of them suggested I use parish registers instead! :confused: (I don't know the parish!)Linda

02-01-2006, 5:59 PM
Thanks for checking your directory.I didnt have that information,I've only gone off of census records, for the information I have on John. I waiting for Rod to put his CD's on sale, then I plan on ordering a few.

I'm waiting on John's death certificate, once I receive that I'll see if I need to order 1 or 2 films depending on the month he died.

I see Rod has the Soulbys Ulverston Advertiser 1848-1862, I had planned on ordering the full set.


02-01-2006, 6:00 PM
I've never used a mormon centre, so this is purely a guess, but you might try looking under 'probate'

As this is a national index, you don't need a parish as a staring point.


02-01-2006, 6:04 PM
Hi Geoffers

you don't need a parish as a staring point
That's why I thought that the volunteer's suggestion was a bit odd. ;)

I'll give it another go on the online catalogue using Probate, thanks.


08-01-2006, 1:03 PM
Well that was a real eye opener!

"probate" search of the LDS catalogue brought over 20000 items, so I did a bit more digging - and found the film! Or..... erm, I should say all 542 films! :eek: I don't know why, but I didn't quite expect that many |blush|

Thankfully each film description is specific enough to figure out which one(s) to order.

Jeffrey, since I've done the search I may as will give you the LDS film numbers that you might need (but please check that I haven't made a typo before ordering)

251232 - Vol.10-11 R-T Wills and Admins 1872
251238 - Vol.11 Sm-T Wills and Admins 1873


08-01-2006, 8:53 PM
Thanks Linda, I plan on getting to the LDS this week. I'll check your numbers and place an order.