Where there’s a will...
I could not agree more with Celia Heritage’s advice about using the wills of indirect ancestors (especially those without issue) to help grow your tree. [ See 17 Ways to Search Like An Expert in September’s issue.]
My great grandfather was called Thomas William Bird Tapley and I wondered where the name Bird came from. I found that one of his aunts, Mary Tapley, married a William Bird. On a hunch, I got a copy of William’s will, which names all TWB Tapley’s brothers and sisters including the married names of the girls.
It turned out that as Uncle William Bird and Aunt Mary had no children of their own, bequests were made to their nieces and nephews. Thomas was named as an executor. Other relatives were also mentioned, so overall his uncle’s will proved a useful document. Jacqueline Powell