Monday, September 7, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Post #284: 1763 Will of Thomas Gach (1702-1770) of Woodbridge, N.J.

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent  TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme years ago called "Amanuensis Monday."  John offers this definition for "amanuensis:" 

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is the 1763 will of Thomas Gach (1702-1770) of Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey:

The transcription of the will is (right-hand page of image above, transcribed line by line):

In the Name of God, Amen. I Thomas Gach, of the Township of Woodbridge, in the County of
Middlesex and Province of New Jersey, Esq'r, considering the Frailty of this Life, and that it is appointed
for all Men once to die, and being at this Time of Sound Memory and Mind, blessed be God, do make this
my Last Will and Testament, in Manner and form following, viz.

Imprimis: My Soul I commit to the Hands of a merciful God who gave it, Strongly hoping for a gracious
Reception thro' the prevailing Death and Merits of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and my
Body I resign to the Dust from whence it Sprang, to be interred in a decent manner, at the Discretion
of those who may have the Direction thereof.

Item: Touching the Worldly Estate whereof the Divine Providence hath made me Steward, I give and bequeath
to my eldest Son John Gach, his Heirs and Assigns forever, one Half of the Plantation whereon he
now liveth, except the Ten Acre Lott at the West End thereof that was Surveyed in my own Right
with four Acres of Salt Meadow lying at the South End of my Meadow below Strawberry hill, as also
three Acres and a half lying in Rariton Meadows; together with one Half of my Freehold right in the Commons.

Item: I give and bequeath to my Grandson Thomas Gach the other Half of the above Plantation to him, his Heirs
and Assigns forever; but that it remain to the sole Use and Benefit of his Father John Gach, during
his the Said John Gach's natural Life.

Item: I give and bequeath to my son Philip Gach, his Heirs and Assigns forever all my home Plantation
whereon I now reside, with the remaining Part of my Salt Meadows and Land on Strawberry Hill.
Also the Lot of Land lying adjoining to Jonathan Harned and John Harned, and the above mentioned
Ten Acres of Land lying at the Westerly End of the Plantation whereon my Son John Gach now liveth
as likewise the other half of my Freehold Right in the Commons of Woodbridge; But in Case my said
Son Philip should depart this Life before he attain to the full Age of Twenty one years or have no
legal Issue before that Time, that then the Bequests to him, I will to be divided between all my
other Children, Share and Share alike, and to their Heirs or Assigns.

Item: I give and bequeath to my Daughters Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, Martha and Anna all them several
Lots and Parcels of Land, lying on the South East side of the Road that leads to Amboy, to be sold
by my Executors herein after named, as soon after my Decease as shall be convenient, and the Monies
arising by the Sale thereof to be equally divided between my said Daughters, and Thomas
Shotwell, Son of my deceased Daughter Esther; But if said Thomas Shotwell should die before
he attain to full age, then his Share to be equally divided among my said Daughters, their Heirs or Assigns.

Item: I give and bequeath to my well beloved Wife Elizabeth the Use of all the above mentioned Lands
and Premises, or so much thereof, as She shall be fit to demand, during her natural Life or
Widowhood; Also I give and bequeath to my said Wife all my Moveables and Personal
Estate whatsoever, and wheresoever, to be at her own proper Use and Disposal, she paying
thereout all my just Debts and Funeral Charges.

Lastly, I constitute and appoint my said Wife Elizabeth and James Eddy of Woodbridge aforesaid the
Executors of this my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made.
In Witness whereof, I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal, the Twelfth Day of
April, Anno Domini, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Three.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered, bu the
said Thomas Gach, as his Last Will
and Testament in the Presence of us                          Thomas Gach {Seal}
              Samuel F. Parker
              Samuel Inslee
              James Parker

The source citation for this will is:

New Jersey Surrogate's Court, Middlesex County, Wills, 4575L-5330L, No. 4713 (image 98 of 532) Thomas Gach will, 1763; "New Jersey, Wills and Probate Records, 1656-1999," indexed database with digital images, ( : accessed 2 September 2015); citing original data from New Jersey County, District and Probate Courts.

The source citation is, in my opinion, completely inadequate:

Source Citation

Record of wills, 1683-1900; 1L - 17442L; Author: New Jersey. Surrogate's Court (Middlesex County); Probate Place: Middlesex, New Jersey

Source Information New Jersey, Wills and Probate Records, 1656-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: New Jersey County, District and Probate Courts.

Like most source citations, the user has to actually search for the record using the assumed name of the person of interest, and then find the correct entry in a (sometimes) long list of matches.

In this will, Thomas Gach mentions his wife, Elizabeth, sons John and Philip, and daughters Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah Martha, Anna and Esther (who died before he wrote his will), and two grandsons, Thomas Gach, son of John Gach, and Thomas Shotwell, son of Esther (Gach) Shotwell.  All of the daughters named had married before Thomas Gach wrote this will.  Unfortunately, he did not include their married surname.

I descend from Martha Gach (1730-????), who married Samuel Fitz Randolph (1730-????) in 1750.

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