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The Will of Anna Maria Van Cooten

Again with assistance from family in the UK, I have obtained a copy of the will for Anna Maria Van Cooten dated 6 September 1872. Anna Maria (or Maria Anna) was the sister of John Lucius Van Cooten. I have transcribed the will.

In her will she appointed Sarah Jane Primrose as her executor. She refers to Sarah as ‘friend’, although Sarah Jane was the sister of Anna’s brother Eugene’s wife Emily. Anna leaves money to her sister Rosalie Virginia Gooman or Goonan (as best as I can make out) widow of Hubits, St Martins, Guernsey. In an old family letter, Ida Gorsuch says that Rosalie Virginia “Married a Mr L Garnham”. I’ve never been able to validate this, and it is now possible that Ida heard the name and assumed the spelling. I need to recheck the Guernsey census information for 1871 to see if I can find her. Neither of these names seems common on Guernsey.

Anna also left money to her cousin Elizabeth Smithers residing at Villa Marina, Promenade des Anglais, Nice. I’ve not come across Elizabeth before, but presume that she is the daughter of one of Martha Keane Smithers’ brothers – Henry, John or Sydney as far as I currently know. Promenade des Anglais is a current street in Nice.

Anna left money to two other cousins on the Van Cooten side. These are Alice Playter and Eliza Van Cooten who are residing together at Plaisance, East Coast, Demerara. I presume that Alice is the daughter of JLC Playter and Cornelia Bennett Van Cooten – both referred to in Hendrik Van Cooten’s will. This bequest seems to indicate that Anna Maria has some communication with family in British Guiana. I don’t know who Eliza’s parents are.

The remaining legacies are all to friends in England – Georgina Elmer in Pimlico, Alice Lee in Sussex, and Mary Ann Painter residing with Anna Maria in Gravesend. I need to check census information for these people to verify that I have correctly deciphered these names. I also need to find the 1871 census information for 57 Milton Road, Gravesend to see who is residing there – I’ve been unable to locate Anna Maria in the 1861 or 1871 censuses.


Comment from Carole Rule
Time January 6, 2008 at 5:00 pm

As a graphologist I am always disappointed when I read about someone’s handwriting and there is no image. But I can see you have been really diligent in your search on Anna Maria.

Comment from rodney
Time January 7, 2008 at 4:37 am

I’m a little unsure of the copyright issues here, so I haven’t put a scan of the will on line. From a graphology point of view, the copy of the will that I have is a registered copy, so it is in the hand of some unknown scribe, rather than Anna Maria herself.

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