On 21 May 1858, Edward Harper died in Grouville parish, Jersey; he made a will 3 days before he died (accessible via the Jersey Archives site at https://catalogue.jerseyheritage.org/collection/Details/archive/110090231) which left everything to his wife Dorothy Walters, on condition that she paid 5 shillings for the poor of Grouville parish, and £50 to her granddaughter Sophia Gilbert when she attained her majority. [Sophia was not Edward's grand-daughter; he had no descendants.].

As the will was made so shortly before he died, and he was described as a 'landed proprietor' in the 1851 census of Jersey, I believe that there were probably sufficient funds etc. in his estate to cover the specific bequests with a remainder to his wife (who was his sole executor).

Dorothy died in March 1859 (9 months after her husband) of 'Decay of nature' (Old age). She had no surviving children, but between 1 and 4 surviving grand-children (whose ages ranged from 16 to 30, all in England).

There is no will made by Dorothy Harper or Dorothy Walters that I can find in the Jersey Heritage catalogue.

It is of course possible that she never got round to making a will of her own, but if that had been the case in England and Wales, there would at least have been an admon to help understand who sorted out her estate. And I would also be able to look at Death Duty registers.

How can I learn what happened to her estate, and whether any of it went to her grandchildren?

1 Answer 1


There may have been letters of administration granted after Dorothy's death. If so, the letters granted for the period October 19th 1848 - May 26th 1906 are held in Volume D/Y/A2/1 at Jersey Archives.

From the information available on their site, it's not clear whether these have been individually indexed to be searchable online. Searching the database for "letters of administration" gives surprisingly few hits. It may be worth calling the archive to check.

In addition, according to the FamilySearch Wiki, from 1851 in Jersey fixed property such as land or houses would have been dealt with separately by means of a Will of Realty. According to the Jersey Archives website,

"... all transactions of immovable property such as land and houses ... from c.1800 onward can be searched through the PRIDE database available at the Jersey Archive"

That database also doesn't appear to be available online, so it may be worth emailing the archive. The person that reads it may be feeling helpful...

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