Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Winner! Will of Jonathan Lewis (1715-1785) of Staten Island, New York

Like many of my geneablogging colleagues, I have been rummaging through the Ancestry collection of Wills and Probates.  Today I found something I've always hoped to find - the will of Jonathan Lewis (1715-1785) of Staten Island, Richmond County, New York.

I searched the New York, Wills and Probates, 1659-1999 database for the name Jonathan Lewis.  There were 17 matches:

I looked at the two entries for Richmond County, but they were for indexes to Richmond County records.  They did show that persons named Jonathan Lewis had many entries in the Index to Wills, 1787-1866.  But there were no actual records for those years.

Because the date of 1786 was provided in the two entries for New York County on the list above, I checked them.

There was the will of Jonathan Lewis of Staten Island, Richmond County, New York, dated 28 October 1785:

The will starts on the bottom part of the first image above, and finishes on the whole of the second image.  I downloaded these two images, renamed them, and put them in my file folder for the Jonathan Lewis and Marie Latourette family.

For me, the most important part of the will is this snippet (from the middle of the left-hand page on the second image):

It reads:

"Item I give bequeath and demise to my daughter Catherine Hutch-
inson her heirs and assigns forever the one sixteenth part of my estate."

My fifth great-grandmother is Catherine Lewis (1759-1845), who married William Hutchinson (1745-1826) in 1784 in Parr, New Brunswick, Canada, having migrated as Loyalists to New Brunswick in about 1783. and then migrated to Norfolk County, Ontario in about 1801.

Family trees and published books have claimed the parent-daughter relationship between Jonathan and Marie (LaTourette) Lewis and Catherine (Lewis) Hutchinson, which I have tried to find documents for.  This document provides direct evidence of a relationship between Jonathan and a Catherine Hutchinson;  how many other females named Catherine Lewis have married a Hutchinson?  In the right time frame, and location?

This document is a probate court clerk transcription of the will written by or for and signed by Jonathan Lewis, so it is a Derivative Source, but it has Primary Information and Direct Evidence of the relationship.

A source citation for this will (using the Probates, case files (online images) template in RootsMagic 7):

New York Surrogates Court, Probate files, New York County Wills, Volume 038, 1785-1786, pages 313-315 (stamped, images 202-203 of 303), Jonathan Lewis will, 1785; "New York, Wills and Probates, 1659-1999," digital images, ( accessed 9 September 2015); Original data in New York county District and Probate Courts.

If this database was not searchable, I probably would have not found this record because it was in the NEW YORK County probate records, not the RICHMOND County probate records.  Hopefully, more records from this Jonathan Lewis estate will become available so that I can determine if his daughter Catherine received her inheritance and provided a receipt for it.

More good news:  The list of matches indicates that there are probate records for Jonathan Lewis (1688-1764) and Jonathan Lewis (1658-1708), who are Jonathan Lewis' father and grandfather, respectively, and also my ancestors.  Cool!  I downloaded them too!

So I feel like a WINNER today.  I found another record that proves (to me) a previously uncertain relationship.  I will transcribe this will in an Amanuensis Monday post in the future (I have a long list of them to do now!).

Have you searched for probate records for your ancestors in New York yet?

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1 comment:

Mel said...

Randy, That is an excellent find especially since it proves a relationship. I have only found one will so far. However, it is an important one. I have been researching a contested probate that was refiled after the 1906 earthquake in SF. I thought the East Coast relatives only found out about Patrick Dolan (the deceased) after the refiling. But, the will I found pre-dates it and it clearly shows they knew of his death prior to the earthquake. I don't know how this helps me, but it seems like it will be important.