Saturday, January 19, 2013

Probate Records for Isabella Gillespie Greer - 1915!

I really love the Oakland County Genealogical Society. Sometimes I think I will move to Oakland County just so I can be part of that organization! (if only they could terra-form some mountains...) Well, in any case, one of their recent newsletters came (Acorns to Oaks) and there they announced that some new Oakland County Probate Calendars have been digitized and are online at familysearch - which I jumped on because I recall that I was unable to look up John Greer's probate because the FHL does not have those particular records (yet, apparently). So this new info on familysearch is not yet searchable but since I know John Greer's death date and one can imagine that 15 children wanted their piece of the pie as soon as possible, it was easy to find his info. Unfortunately, the probate calendar is only an index really - it points to the actual probate books where the juicy details are recorded and those files are still NOT online. So even with a glimpse given by these probate calendars, still we wait, or plan a trip to Pontiac, whichever comes first :-)

It then occurred to me that maybe John's wife, Isabella Gillespie Greer (the one at the top of My Most Burning Questions lists) might also have a probate case, and that maybe her family of origin would be mentioned there (doesn't seem likely since her will simply stated divide everything equally among the kids, but who knows, maybe there is some clue). So sure enough, there IS a probate case for her and here it is:

There is a curious entry on Dec. 1, 1915. I *think* it says: petition for appointment of administrator W.W.A. Here's what I found about that:

When an executor or administrator dies, becomes ill, is otherwise unable to complete her duties, or does not properly perform her duties, she must be replaced. A successor or replacement is often named in a will. If the will does not name a successor, or if persons named in the will cannot or are not suitable to serve as executor, the court will name an "administrator, W.W.A.," or administrator with the will annexed.

Now my curiosity is really up. This date is long after John Greer's estate was settled on June 11, 1900 - and that had to have been where the big bucks were, given the amount of real estate he had. So who would petition Isabella's estate 24 years after she died and what did they want from it? This later petition was closed in Oct. 1916 just about a year before Isabella Jr. died in Colorado. Hmmmm.

I have assumed all along that the will I found for John Greer which was signed by both John and Isabella was the ONLY will - and that was frustratingly short and without detail (i.e. "divide my stuff equally between all my kids").  But perhaps Isabella did have a separate will. Hmmmm. And my only thought about WHY she would have a separate will is that she had something (land?) that she felt belonged on her side of the family - the Gillespie side. Hmmmm.; We should recall that half the land patents scored by John and Isabella when first arriving in Michigan were in Isabella's name. Maybe that's what it came down to in 1915 - somebody was trying to acquire land that was still legally in Isabella's name?

Stay tuned on this one. I think this will require a trip to Pontiac to unravel....

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