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Irish Famine Girl Ellen Boyle’s Will

October 29, 2019

My great great Grandmother, Ellen Boyle was an Irish Famine Girl who came to Australia as part of the Earl Grey Emigration Scheme. Ellen Boyle married William Calnan and had a very good life in Australia, raising a large family. Ellen passed away on 14 November 1896, at age 63, a widow, at the time of her death, with William passing away thirteen years earlier in 1883.

Will of Ellen Calnan (Boyle)

I, Ellen Calnan of Violet Town, widow, hereby make this my last will and testament. I hereby give, devise and bequeath unto my daughters, Catherine Ellen, Laura Anne, Mary Agnes and Phoebe Sophia, all my estate and property whatsoever and wheresomuch situate and I hereby appoint my daughter, Phoebe Sophia, executrix, of this, my will, dated 11th day of November 1896.
Signed by the said Ellen Calnan by her making her mark in the presence of us two present at the same time, who in her presence at her request, and in the presence of each other, have hereinto subscribed out names as witnesses and we desire that the said Ellen Calnan, heard us read over this document and she appeared to thoroughly understand the same and acknowledged it as her last will and testament.
(signed by J.A. Lawry, Solicitor, Violet Town and John McShane, Farmer, Violet Town.

The following advertisement duly appeared in the ‘Argus’ newspaper, published in Melbourne on the eleventh day of December 1896.

‘Notice is hereby given that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof, application will be made to the Supreme Court of the Colony of Victoria, in it’s Probate jurisdiction, that Probate of the will of Ellen Calnan, late of Violet Town, in the Colony of Victoria, widow, deceased, may be granted to Phoebe Sophia Calnan, late of Violet Town, aforesaid spinster, the sole executrix named in, and appointed by, the said will.
Dated this eighth day of December 1896, Brown and Lawry Violet Town, solicitor for the applicant.

Land 100 acres 30/- per acre £150
7 milk cows about £2 £ 14
2 horses £ 15
Dray harness £ 5

VPRS 28/POUnit 826 Item 64/650

11 Comments
  1. It always fascinates me how much there is to learn from these legal documents. One more piece to the puzzle.

  2. Very interesting. I wonder, was Phoebe the oldest daughter? And were these daughters the only children left at the time of Ellen’s will?

    • Phoebe was the youngest daughter. She was living at home at the time. The Will was made just a few days before her death so perhaps Phoebe was the only one close by. There were four sons still living at the time of her death which did puzzle me. Perhaps the sons got their share of the farm when it was sold five years earlier. Thanks for your interest

  3. I love it when I find documents like this. They bring so much insight into their lives.

  4. A wonderful find — not only for the family members named but for the land and agricultural details that provide context for Ellen’s story.

    • It’s these document that make it possible to put a human story to our ancestors lives. Thanks for visiting Molly

  5. Bradley permalink

    Ellen Calnan nee Boyle was my great great great mother also small world

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