Robert Darling: Unmarried, But Key to My Family Tree

52ancestors-2015-18Too often in our genealogy, we skip over our ancestors’ siblings. That’s especially true when it comes to the siblings who didn’t marry. When we do that (or, rather, don’t do that), we could be shutting ourselves off from valuable clues.

I don’t know a lot about my 4th-great-grandmother Mary Darling Young, but I do know her maiden name (Darling) and that she moved to Washington County, Ohio, where she died in 1855.

In the Washington County, Ohio wills is one for Robert Darling, written 12 November 1841 and probated 30 April 1853.1)Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio. “Darling” isn’t a very common surname, so when I saw this in Washington County, I had to look at it. It’s a short will, just two paragraphs:

I Robert Darling of Fearing Township, Washington, Ohio, being in good health of body and sound and disposing mind and memory praised be God for the same and being desired to settle my worldly affairs whilst I have strength and capacity so to do, do make and publish this my last Will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time, heretofore made and first and principally I commit my Soul into the hands of my Creator who gave it and my Body to the Earth from whence it came and as to such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to intrust me I dispose of the the same as followeth, Viz:

To my Loving Brother Andrew Darling I give and bequeath One Dollar, and to my Loving Sister Mary Young I give and bequeath One Dollar, and to my Loving Brother Thomas Darling, I give and bequeath all the rest of my property, Either of Goods and Chattels, Lands and tenements and of all kinds of property of whatsoever name or nature and at his death the property to be given to his heirs and I appoint as my Executors William Affleck and Adam Darling, in witness here I have hereunto set my hand and seal this November the twelfth One thousand Eight hundred and forty one.

/s/ Robert Darling

As I work more on the Darling family, this will is going to be a key document. With it, I now know that Mary Darling Young had brothers named Robert (who also lived in Washington County), Andrew, and Thomas. Having the siblings will make it so much easier to identify the correct Mary Darling.

(Of course, this will begs the question of why Robert left $1 each to Andrew and Mary, while Thomas got all the property. One possibility is that Robert had already given Andrew and Mary some property and that the $1 was a token amount so they couldn’t claim they were left out of the will. It’s also possible that Robert liked his brother Thomas the best 😉 )

Always, always, always look around for the siblings.

Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio.

Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio. (Click to enlarge.)

References   [ + ]

1. Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio.

6 thoughts on “Robert Darling: Unmarried, But Key to My Family Tree

  1. Denise

    I love the handwriting of the will. We just don’t have the same flair as our ancestors did. Also, if I have anything left I will make sure you and Sherry each get at least one dollar apiece!!

  2. Jade

    Ah, Amy, such a sensible post!

    One of my cousins was found in 1850 in her teens, living with what looked like maternal grandparents. He parents seem to have disappeared by then. Much later I found an extensive heirs’ court suit that identified the cousin’s paternal ancestry, and there was a county marriage record for a person the same name as her father together with a woman with same surname as the 1850 possible grandparents. What luck to find a will of a brother of the apparent maternal grandfather, leaving money to the named-and-identified grandchild (with her husband’s name, too) of his named brother, all fitting with the IDs in court suit and marriage record. Thus, indirect evidence as to father of the cousin’s mother, and the cousin securely placed in both maternal and paternal families. It doesn’t get much better 😀

    There are also petitions for estate administration in Ohio that name all heirs. When a sibling dies intestate and unmarried, the petitions can name dozens of siblings and nieces/nephews of the deceased, together with where they lived and ages of any minors and deceased parent’s names for at least some of the nieces/nephews. These geneagems are often the most detailed family accounts to be found.

    You don’t find it if you don’t look!

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Flossie Darling — what a great name! Was she from the Washington County, Ohio area, by any chance?


Leave a Reply