If William Benedictus Townsend-1566 is child, why is he not in the will and is there proof he is child of 2887?

+4 votes
WikiTree profile: William Townsend
in Genealogy Help by

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+7 votes
Best answer

In this context, the most usual reason would be that he had already received some property from his father that was roughly equivalent to an inheritance. Disinheritance by omission was rare and legally risky and would generally only occur if the will was self-written (holographic) or dictated at the time of death (nuncupative). If the will was drafted by a competent lawyer (and it looks like it was), it would probably not omit an heir though. I would look for a property transfer before the father's death, and if you can't find one, you're right to be suspicious of the connection.

Another problem with it is the name "William Benedictus Townshend". There's no evidence at all in Benedictus Townshend's profile that William was his first name. People in this period rarely used multiple names like that, and when you see it in genealogy databases like this, it's usually because someone is trying to support a connection that may not exist. A lot of people who attempt to do genealogy don't get the idea that what people do in 2018 is different from what they did in 1730, so they just assume that everybody back then had a first, middle, and last name, and if they don't have one of those evidenced, they guess at it based on a connection they think should exist. Looks to me like that's what's happened here.

Also, this DNA evidence cited as a source in Townsend-1566 (https://townsendsociety.org/cpage.php?pt=8) says Benedictus' line is J-M241, which directly contradicts the idea that he was William Townshend's son, since William is (supposedly) in the R1a1a line described in https://townsendsociety.org/cpage.php?pt=34. So, the Benedictus profile claims to be based on a source that directly contradicts what it says. This is not generally considered to be a good research practice. With the will omission and the complete YDNA mismatch, Benedictus Townshend was certainly neither named William Benedictus Townshend nor William Townshend's son.

by Living Buckner G2G6 Mach 5 (56.7k points)
selected by Carol Wilder
I get a feeling this profile of William "S" Townshend is probably conflating information from a couple different people too. Someone needs to look this over with a critical eye.
I agree with this response.  I've read a number of wills written during this time period and the only reason I've found children not mentioned were they had predeceased the parent.  Living children are usually mentioned even if the only mention is to say they have already received what the parent intended them to have and that they were not to receive anything further.  I also agree with the comment about the first and middle name.  I've found family lines where inexperienced researchers attach a middle or first names to people where the records, such as deeds, church records, and wills do not support the additional name.
The only Townsend' s I knew of were from Oyster bay New York, and Lynn Massachusetts from a Thomas Townsend. Hmm interesting. Each line has it's own unique issues I've noticed
Benedictus was only added as a son on 10 May 2018, so this is a recent and apparently inadvisable change. I added an RN to Benedict and made some fixes, set the parents to uncertain, though they probably should be removed entirely.
+6 votes
I don’t know about the proof of relationship, but there a many reasons folks get left out of wills. Early death, already got his/her part, made the old man angry, someone more needy, moved away and lost contact, well off enough not to need an inheritance, etc.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
+1 vote

Here is a very good story/biography from family search.com.     It is only a portion of the story that I found, as it was too long.    Enjoy.

Biography of Benedictus Townsend

.........John Light’s 300-acre plantation was on Beaverdam Branch and likely located near “Millfield”. Probably all of Benedictus and Lucilla’s children were born at “Millfield”. We also know that Benedictus may have been literate as he signed his name with his signature rather than “his mark”. He must have taken great pride in his name as he consistently used Benedictus in all the records we have found on him. The rarity and his consistent use of the name Benedictus assured us that records containing that name were of him and not another Townsend. In later generations the name Benjamin frequently occurs no doubt in place of Benedictus. Benedictus removed from Delaware to North Carolina in 1750, based on the date of the sale of his “Millfield” land and his appearance as “Benodictos Townson” on "A List of Tythables on Dan River for the Year 1751” in Granville County, North Carolina. The Granville County North Carolina tax list for the previous year, 1750, is entitled "A list of Thythables on Dan River from ye Countrey Line Creek & upwards". The 1750 list has many of the same names appearing on it as appear on the 1751 list. For example, Abraham Whitworth paid 2 tithes for himself and for Isaac Whitworth on both the 1750 list as well as on the 1751 list. Abraham and Isaac Whitworth are listed just above Benedictus Townsend on the 1751 list. Thus the two lists clearly cover the same geographic area for succeeding years. Both lists have “Dan River” in their titles, however, the 1750 list contains “from ye Countrey Line Creek and upwards” whereas the 1751 list does not contain that statement. This area encompasses the northern half of present day Caswell County, North Carolina above Country Line Creek. Country Line Creek flows from the southwestern edge of Caswell County northeast to the northern edge of the county where it flows into the Dan River near the North Carolina/Virginia border near present day Milton, North Carolina. Thus this area borders present-day Pittsylvania County Virginia just south of Danville, Virginia. The 1751 Tax list discussed above also indicates that there were no male children over the age of 16 living in Benedictus’s household in 1751. Tithes were required to be paid on all males age 16 and older at that time and it is unlikely that the tax collector would have missed anyone that owed a tax. From this record we infer that all the male children of Benedictus were born sometime after 1735. That portion of Granville County 'from ye Country Line Creek and upwards" became part of Orange County when Orange was formed in 1752, and then became part of Caswell County when that county was formed from Orange in 1777. We were unable to locate any other tax, land or marriage records concerning Benedictus Townsend in Granville or Orange County except for the 1751 tithable tax record. We thus were unable to document where he resided during the period from 1751 to his appearance in South Carolina in 1764. However, we believe that he and his family were residents of Orange County during that time. Benedictus Townsend may have moved to South Carolina by 1764 as on 9 November 1764 he applied to the South Carolina Council in Charleston for 100 acres of land on the Northeast side of the Pee Dee River. A month later, on 4 December1764, he applied for an additional 50 acres on the "Waters of the Pee Dee River". On 18 January 1765, Benedictus was granted land described as " One Hundred acres situate on Hilson Bay on Head of Muddy Creek North East side of great Pedee River. bound on all sides by Vacant Land. Surveyed the Twenty Seventh January One Thousand Seven hundred Sixty four for William Wood" Plat certified 6 Nov 1764. On 16 July 1765 he was granted additional land described as "Fifty acres in Craven County on the NE side of Pedee River bounded on all four sides by Vacant Land". These were Crown grants from King George III signed by William Bull Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of The Province of South Carolina. The rent to be paid "every 25th day of March in every year at the rate of three shillings sterling or four shillings proclamation money for every hundred acres ... the same to commence at the expiration of two years from the date hereof." Benedictus, and his heirs were further obligated to "do yearly, and every year, after the date of these presents, clear and cultivate at the rate of three acres for every hundred acres of land". These Crown Grants were offered as "headrights" to encourage settlers to come into the wilderness, clear and live on the land. The headright practice beginning in 1755 was to allow 100 acres for the head of the household and 50 acres for each additional person in the household be they male, female, free, or slave, white, or black. Thus his grant of 100 acres of land was for Benedictus, alone, which implies that his wife, Lucilla, may have died before 1764. Her death may also have been a reason for his leaving North Carolina. The second grant for 50 acres implies one other person was with him or possibly decided to join him shortly after he moved to SC based on the dates of the petitions. The quit rent scrolls show “William Benedictus & William Townsend” listed as having paid the rent due the Crown in 1768 on 50 acres of land. “Light Townsend” is listed on the next entry as having paid the rent due on 100 acres of land. A notation to the “William Benedictus & William Townsend” entry shows “New Grant July 16, 1765. In those names.” A notation to the Light Townsend entry reads “New Grant Jan 18, 1765” These notations show that new grants had been made on the 50 acre and 100 acre properties that Benedictus Townsend had been granted in 1765. The following year, 1769, a William Townsend paid the quit rent on the 50 acres of land. There was no mention of a William Benedictus or Benedictus. Also at that same time, Light Townsend paid the quit rent on the 100 acres of land. William Townsend and Light Townsend were also found to have paid quit rents on 50 acres and 100 acres respectively in 1770 and in 1773. These entries for Quit Rent payments and “new” grants show that William and Light acquired Benedictus’s land before 1768, by purchase, gift or inheritance. William Benedictus Townsend is very likely Benedictus Townsend. The above suggests that Benedictus Townsend who does not appear on the quit rent scrolls, either removed from South Carolina or died there before 1769 as no further records on him have been found. As his sons remained for several years in South Carolina this implies that he likely died there before 1769. That is the basis we have used for his date and place of death. However, another possibility is that Benedictus moved back to Orange County, North Carolina after establishing his sons, William and Light on their own land in South Carolina. It could be that William and Light were not old enough to petition and own land in their own right, so Benedictus petitioned for it in his name and then transferred it to them when they came of age. As will be shown in the biography of Thomas Townsend (1735-1796), Thomas and probably others remained in North Carolina until well after the Revolutionary War. It could be that Benedictus also returned to North Carolina about 1768 and possibly died there at a date later than 1769.

by Carol Syers G2G2 (2.8k points)

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