Edward Penny died in 1824 in New York. A brief abstract of his will is as follows:

Wife: Phebe.
Oldest son: Benjamin.
Son: Ammiel.
Oldest dau.: Esther Marvel.
Daus.: Thankful Horton, Phebe Carpenter, Hannah Townsend, Rachel Penny.
Son: Edward Jr.
Grandson: Voleny Marvel.
Exec.: son Bangs? Penny, son Edward.
Wit.: Abner Thurber, Betsey Thurber, Isaac Townsend.
Dates: March 20, 1824, Probate Sept. 22, 1824. Vol. 7, P. 262.

I'm looking for Voleny Marvel. First of all, I'm quite sure his last name is actually Marble, and I've seen this in a few other sources about his name. I don't have a birth date for his mother, Esther, but I do know she was born between 1778 and 1782. What I'm trying to figure out is if I can get an idea of Voleny's birthdate based on the fact that he was included in the will.

Edit: I should have included the actual will, which can be found at FamilySearch. I have included the section with his name, along with my attempt to transcribe, below.

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And further I do give conditionally to my Grandson Volney Marvel the sum of One hundred dollars in case my son Edward should decline to give a good & sufficient title of a certain piece of land lying in the town of Charlestown in the County of Montgomery which he my son Edward now has a title for & in such case the said Volney is to pay to my son Edward on the receipt of such Deed the sum of One hundred dollars, then this gift to the said Volney is to be null & void otherwise to be paid out of my real estate after my decease.

  • 1
    Thank you for adding the text of the actual will. I have edited your transcription to fill in some of the gaps.
    – Harry V.
    Jun 14, 2015 at 11:40
  • What does the first date, March 20, 1824, refer to?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jun 14, 2015 at 16:44
  • I'm not quite sure. It might be the day the will was entered into probate? It is almost exactly 6 months before the Probate date. Jun 14, 2015 at 18:26
  • 1
    @JanMurphy Two dates are usually associated with wills: the date the will was written, and the date probate was granted. 20 Mar 1824 is the date the will was written. You can confirm this by looking at the end of the will on FamilySearch at the link provided
    – Harry V.
    Jun 15, 2015 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


0 (i.e. born before 20 Mar 1824). Anyone can be left a bequest in a will regardless of age - 1 day old or 100 years old. They need not even be born yet to be left a legacy.

A will may or may not stipulate how the bequest should be handled in cases where the legatee is a minor. In those cases, the legacy may be paid out, for example, at age 21 or at marriage, but if no such details are included, then it is impossible to estimate the age of the legatee based solely on the fact they are mentioned in a will.

In my opinion, the wording of the will suggests that Volney is perhaps an adult or close to adulthood, but unfortunately there are no real indications of his age.


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