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Thread: inheritance

  1. #1
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    Hi all
    (my first post, so hope I don't do anything obviously wrong!)

    My ancestor (4xgg) Benjamin had 3 legitimate children, and then (after his wife dies) an illegitimate one (nicely called a 'natural child'). His will leaves things to his 3 legitimate children only, and a few friends. Nothing to his illegitimate son Samuel who was only 9 or 10 at the time. We're talking of 1815 here.

    My question is, would this be because of his age, or because he was illegitimate? His older siblings were aged about 15 to 18.

    I have heard that illegitmate children couldn't inherit. But is that just for titles and land, or is also that a Father couldn't leave his illegitimate son his linen or a tenner or whatever?

    Thanks for any insight.

    James

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    It would have been by deliberate choice.

    I have a Will written in 1736 where the deceased leaves the bulk of his estate to his "natural and reputed" children (son and daughter) whose mother was his servant!

    The estate was considerable.

  3. #3

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    Welcome to the British Genealogy FOrum, James.
    Megan’s right, illegitimate children could inherit if specifically mentioned in the will, but not by automatic right.
    Have you seen the actual will? I’m wondering when it was written - did he just forget to update it after his wife died and the last child was born?

    PS Don’t worry too much about doing something wrong - if all else fails, you can always ask a Moderator to change something.

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    Thanks Megan - that sounds a very interesting case!

  5. #5
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    Thanks Lesley. That clears up the inheritance question for me.

    And yes I have the will (found on Ancestry) - but it's 5 pages long and hard to read! I scanned it for names. The odd thing I hadn't noticed is it's dated just a few days after the baby Samuel was born. I'll now have to spend some time deciphering it.

  6. #6
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    I would suggest the fact he did not leave anything to Samuel provides a strong reason to dig deeper into his relationship with him and his mother.
    It may be that due to being chased for child support he felt his earlier children had missed out on what they deserved. It may be that he felt he had abandoned his earlier children and spent his time with his “new” son and his mother rather than them.

    Having read what you say about his will written just after the birth on his new son I feel he was making a statement that this new birth does not mean I have abandoned my (deceased) wife and my children by her.
    If this was my ancestor I would be searching everywhere I could, including books and papers handed down through the family to see if there are any clues available. Talk to as many older relatives and long time family friends to see if any of them have heard and mentions about his words, thoughts and feelings on the subject.
    Did he carry on a relationship with Samuel's mother, how was his relationship with his earlier children?
    Rather than this being the end of a story it would be the starting point and research into an explanation.

    Cheers
    Guy
    As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.

  7. #7

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    What happened to Samuel’s mother? Did he provide for while living, or in his will?

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    Thanks Guy and Lesley

    Guy: I'm afraid our family stories don't go that far back. My Mother (nearly 90 now, and the most likely among her siblings to know any stories) recognizes the name of her g-gm (Samuel's daughter) but no more than that. I think all research will have to be through certificates and the like.

    Lesley: I have not found any reference to Samuel's mother Lucy on Ancestry, except her appearence on Samuel's baptism record. There's another user of Ancestry who suggests another son for Benjamin and Lucy - but doesn't include any evidence. I will try to contact him.

    I'm starting to transcribe the will - it's a very slow process.

    Thanks again
    James

  9. #9

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    I wonder whether Lucy died young? Childbirth-related factors were a common cause of female death back then.

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