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The Last Will and Testament of Frederick Greer Hanna

March 4, 2011

I have started going through an old document file I had put away in the mid-1990s, and haven’t yet looked at since.

In it I found a photocopy from a microfilm obtained at the State Library, of the probate documents for Frederick Greer Hanna, my great-great Grandfather, who died at Menzies on 12 July 1919.

It is a typed document, with a typed transcript of his Will, signed in Brighton, Victoria on 12 October 1894, before he came with his wife and children, to Western Australia.  It leaves everything to his wife, Rosina Hanna.

It is only a typed transcript and lists the names of the three witnesses, who would have signed the original, but their signatures do not appear on the transcript.

At the time I found this document, I would not have paid much attention to the signatures, not recognising any of the names.  More recently, I discovered that Frederick had a sister in Victoria, Rachel Malcolmson Hanna who married George Suffern.  She placed a death notice in the newspaper in Victoria when Frederick died, noting that he had lived in Brighton for many years – to inform Victorian residents of his death.

Her name appears as a witness to his will.

The other names are Archie Ferguson and Marion Laurence.

When I came across this document in the file, I looked at those names, and still didn’t recognise them.  And then I thought ‘interesting that Marion Laurence has the same name as my great-grandmother, Marion Hanna.  And then I thought ‘who else had the same name as Marion Hanna?  Ahh her mother’s sister – the child of HER mother’s first marriage (or at least, born before Rosina Lynch married James Hammond).

Rosina’s death certificate listed two children – Marion 39 and Rosina 30.  No surnames.  I have been unable to locate Marion – no birth entries, and no marriage entries with any of the possible surnames she may have had or gone by.

But this might be her.  A surname at last.

And yet so far, searches of the Victorian Births Deaths and Marriages index has turned up nothing.

And then I re-read this entry and realised I had mis-spelt Marion’s name above.  I had typed Lawrence.  But the typed transcript definitely says Laurence.  So I wondered… and went back to the Victorian index and entered Lawrence in the search… and lo and behold John Laurence married Marion Philips, daughter of Rosina Lynch and John Philips, Gold miner, on 3 September 1873.  His surname is written in the register as Laurence, but the handwriting is such that the indexer has read it as Lawrence.

Marion records that she was born in Sydney.  Who is John Philips?  His name first appeared to me in Rosina (Lynch) Hammond’s death register entry, as her first husband.  But her first husband was Elijah Ealden.  And when she married James Hammond, she was Rosina Ealden.

I am very excited to have made this discovery.  I have searched Marion with all the possible surnames she might have had – but perhaps I searched Phillips and not Philips.  I will go back and try again.

You can read more about my search for this family here, here, here, here, here and here.

I will keep looking.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2011 8:43 am

    brilliant! I can’t help but feel delighted when you get one of these breakthroughs.

    • Michelle permalink*
      March 6, 2011 9:38 am

      Ha! Me too. After berating myself for not looking in the file first and so on. I had completely forgotten that I had Frederick Hanna’s will – probably because when I got it, it left everything to his wife – nothing to discover there, and I didn’t recognise the names. It’s only since I’ve found out about Rachel Suffern (and the name of Rosina’s other child) that they make sense. Now I can’t wait to find out who Archie Ferguson is. If you have your sister and your sister-in-law witness your will, who is the third?

  2. Willow permalink
    April 27, 2015 8:27 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog.
    Frederick Greer Hanna is also my great great grandfather I believe.
    How interesting.
    Kind regards,

    • Michelle permalink*
      May 28, 2018 9:50 pm

      Hi Willow – thank you for commenting. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply – I have obviously approved your comment, but have just noticed it (again). I was sick in 2015 that might be why. – If Frederick Greer Hanna is also your great great grandfather, that would make us some kind of cousins. I’d be interested to chat and find the connection if you are 🙂


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