Genealogy Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

The British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

Read about historical events at the time they were happening. Perhaps you'll discover your ancestor in their local newspaper?

Start searching


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Deciphering Index to Death Duty Registers

Page 1 + 1 of 2

  1. «
  2. 1
  3. 2
ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Chris in Sussex

Chris in Sussex Report 17 Oct 2012 15:24

A good point Andysmum about 'ownership' but in fact the Married Woman's Property Act was put into place in 1882.

I agree also about the not bothering.....I have one where the nephew who was named as Executor didn't prove the will. A creditor of the deceased got a bit cross over it and took it to Chancery. To cut a long story short the creditor got Administration and must have been somewhat disappointed that the value of the estate didn't cover the amount owed to him let alone all the others queuing behind :-D



Andysmum Report 17 Oct 2012 14:57

The above is what happens now, but I don't suppose it has changed much. There are a couple of reasons for not proving a will, but not mentioned is the fact that the executors might simply have not bothered.

I have done a couple of wills, neither very complicated, but it involves quite a lot of work and the executors have to go personally to the probate office and swear an affidavit in order to get probate. If there were very few assets they might have felt it wasn't worth the trouble.

Another thought - her husband out-lived her. Back then, I think, everything a married woman "owned" belonged to her husband!! So perhaps the will was in case he died first.


Carole Report 17 Oct 2012 12:28

I've cracked the residence location.
It says STOW PARK (Pk actually)
Stow Park is an area of Newport, Monmouthshire: part of the district of St Woolos.
My Mary Ruth was definitely living in St Woolos at the time of the 1871 and 1881 censuses and in 1891 Thomas Dawson, plus his NEW wife (Mary Ann this time), plus his children and several servants, are to be found in Stow Park Avenue and Mary Ruth's mother is also living there.
So I am confident that it is the right person and 1888 is the year of her death.
Now to find out why the will was never proved? What could that have been about?


KathleenBell Report 17 Oct 2012 12:17

Could the word under residence be......slain nk (not known) about 20th June?

Just thinking out loud really.

Kath. x


Carole Report 17 Oct 2012 11:37

Does anyone know:-

If a will is mentioned in the Registers, even if it wasn't proved, will there be a copy of it retained somewhere? If so, and I can order it, it might explain a lot? But I may need to decipher that place name?
Anyone else with suggestions about that?


Carole Report 17 Oct 2012 11:32

Thanks Chris

I have never dealt with them. Looks a bit official. Will they blind me with science?
But I will investigate. I assume from your post that help is only available at specific times?

Chris in Sussex

Chris in Sussex Report 17 Oct 2012 11:23


I have been looking through my reference books for clues but could find nothing relevant to explain the entry.

You could try asking the question through the NA online help session, if the available time suits you.

and scroll down to 'Live Chat' section.
If the time isn't convenient you could always e.mail them as they suggest in the section for an explanation.

Good luck


Carole Report 17 Oct 2012 11:18

Hi Stuart

Double LL is possible, as Newport, where Mary lived, is in Wales.
ab could be abode - no idea what the final word of that is!!
Wait! Could it be a month? and ab = about? 'About 20 April' perhaps, or even 'about 20 June' look at his 'Js' and 'e' at the end of a word (April, May June was the Quarter of Registration, if I accept Birmingham?.)
But having no legal knowledge I still do not understand the 'not proved' bit. What reasons could there be for a will not to be proved?
I assume that the final two numbers at the end of the line are the year '88? If it is /88 I wonder what the preceding 38800 stands for?
Thank you for that. I'm not sure yet where it has got me but bits are beginning to make possible sense.


Carole Report 17 Oct 2012 10:58

Yes Kathleen
Despite being unhappy about death in Birmingham I think I am going to have to go with it. It is the only location I found, plus other experienced GR researchers yesterday and now you. Everyone can't be wrong!
I will send for the cert. Although not much is revealed on death certs, the manner of death might tell me something?
She definitely was Mary Ruth Gill, daughter of Robert Gill and Eleanor Gill (born Thompson), of Stranton Hartlepool. Mary Ruth married Thomas Dawson in 1873. I have all the documents to prove that.
Thank you for your input.


KathleenBell Report 17 Oct 2012 10:32

The death duty register entry you mention is for 1888. This is the only death I can see for that name in that year:-

Name: DAWSON, Mary Ruth
Registration district: Birmingham
County: Warwickshire
Year of registration: 1888
Quarter of registration: Apr-May-Jun
Age at death: 39
Volume no: 6D
Page no: 2

People didn't always die in the place that they lived so it could be a possible. The age at death would be correct.

This looks like her birth (Stockton Registration District covers Hart):-

Name: GILL, Mary Ruth
Registration district: Stockton
County: Durham
Year of registration: 1848
Quarter of registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
Mother's maiden name: Not available before 1911 Q3
Volume no: 24
Page no: 246

and her marriage:-

Name: GILL, Mary Ruth
Registration district: Newport (Monmouthshire)
County: Monmouthshire
Year of registration: 1873
Quarter of registration: Jan-Feb-Mar
Spouse's last name: Not available before 1912
Volume no: 11A
Page no: 231

MarriageFinder: Mary Ruth Gill married one of the following people:

DAWSON, Thomas<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Kath. x


Stuart Report 17 Oct 2012 10:16

Could the residence spelling begin with Ll - whoever has written the page has very similar L's and S's, see Lancaster written lower down the page under Court heading and Salford under residence heading

This could then make some sense as a Welsh place name and maybe followed by
a) ab for abode 20 --------- (? street name or similar) or
b) ab for about 20 --------- (? last date seen maybe)

There is a George Jackson Dawson on page 3, his residence is Durham ab 11 Nov, and his case is also not proved. So could be a date last seen? The court column appears to be written in a similar fashion to Mary's - ? a record number/year


Carole Report 17 Oct 2012 09:32

Is there any further information I might give that would help?


Carole Report 17 Oct 2012 07:20

Why would a will NOT be proved?
I have been investigating Mary Ruth Dawson, born Gill in 1849 in Hart County Durham. She lived in Newport Monmouthshire for most of her life and married a Thomas Dawson, Ships' Chandler.
Mary Ruth appears to have died between 1886 and 1889 but the exact date and location remain open to doubt (There is a thread currently running in Find Ancestors, requesting help in this area but this here is a more precise request )

Whilst researching the above I came upon a document on Find my Past in their Index to Death Duty Registers 1888-1888, and (for anyone with a subscription) it was on page 2, nine entries down.
This may well relate to my Mary Ruth but I am finding it difficult to read, partly the handwriting but mainly because I don't know what it means, or what I am actually looking at.
This is what is written, as far as I can make out. Dots stand for letters or numbers I simply cannot read. Some of the entries go across more than one column.

TESTATOR Dawson - Mary Ruth
RESIDENCE Sla. . . . k ab20. . . .
No of AFFIDAVIT Not Proved
Court/Register/Folio S . . . . 38800 . 88 (I think)

Beyond the names, does this make any sense to anyone?
I can e-mail a copy of the page if anyone thinks there may be any useful information here?
Thank you for your time.