ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 1998-09 > 0906149646
Subject: Re: Early Wills
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 13:14:06 -0700
There has been some discussion lately about wills. For those whose
ancestors were early immigrants to the American Colonies, there is a
little tapped source of good information in "Genealogical Gleanings in
England." Henry F. Waters went from the U.S. to England in 1883 and
extracted wills with connections to New England, from the Prerogative
Court of Canterbury. Much of the hundreds of wills he sent back, or
brought back, appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical
Register. In 1901 it was published in book form that resulted in volumes
containing almost 1,700 pages. Some of the wills are only extracts, but
I found the complete wills in the NEHGR recently published on CD's.
I recently found the wills of several early "preachers" named Rogers who
came from Chelmsford, Essex to Massachusettes. I haven't yet tied them
to my Rogers connections in the same Essex area, but it gave me hope and
The type of will Mr. Waters looked for was, for instance, a man dying in
England who left money to a nephew, "the son of my brother Edward, now
living in New England." Or, "to my sister Elizabeth, the wife of the
Rev. John Rogers now residing in Massachusettes." There weren't that
many people living there then, and most of the early colonists have
appeared in other history books. I've made great use of it researching
my husband's 17th century English immigrants to America.
I believe the book is now out of print, but most large genealogical
libraries should have it. I found a company in Utah that photocopies out
of print books by reducing the pages to one third. Mine has a paper
cover (getting pretty tatty now), but it was relatively inexpensive.
If there is any interest or comments to this, please post the messages to
the List so that others may benefit.
Happy Ancestor Hunting - Jura MacLean Sherwood
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