New York guardianship records

 
 
 
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MillsTA
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New York guardianship records

I am researching the parentage of Almond McHenry (b. 1821), Allegany, New York. In the 1831 will of Sara Mulhullon, Almond McHenry her grandson, is listed first in a list of Henry McHenry's children. Also listed were the two other grandchildren, listed as children of Danial McHenry. All of these grandchildren inherited a portion of Sara's estate. Danial and Henry McHenry inherited nothing. In 1833 Danial McHenry was appointed guardian of his two children. The guardianship included information about real property and a bond was required for both children's guardianship. In 1834 Henry McHenry was appointed guardian of Almond Mchenry and the appointment included information about real property and a bond was required in this instance as well.

I have been researching guardianships in general. From what I have read these types of guardianships had to do with inheritance, not the children being orphans. Am I assuming correctly? There is speculation with many researchers as to the parentage of Almond because of this guardianship record. Many believe Danial McHenry was Almond's father based on this guardianship record and evidence Danial had an out of wedlock relationship with a Christian Mulhullon, whose headstone indicated she died in 1821 (Almond's birth year) and was consort of a Danial McHenry.

I believe the guardianship application has nothing to do with Almond being an orphan. I believe Henry McHenry was appointed guardianship of Almonds inheritance, not guardianship because he was Danial's orphan. If Almond was the illegitimate son of Danial and Henry took guardianship of Almond at some point was a guardianship required by law? Even if Danial was alive? Was this done?

Am I making a correct assumption about these guardianship records? I have images of the Sara Mulhullon will and images of all three guardianship records which were accessed via FamilySearch catalog.

EE
EE's picture

TAMills wrote:

From what I have read these types of guardianships had to do with inheritance, not the children being orphans. Am I assuming correctly?

Yes. Guardianship focused on the inheritance, not physical custody of the child. Grandparents had varied reasons for leaving an inheritance to a child, bypassing the child's parents. For example, if the father were a known spendthrift or gambler, by leaving the property to his child with him as legal guardian, the father would be answerable to the court for his handling of the child's funds--year after year until the child reached legal age. If the inheritance were simply left to the father, then he could freely spend the inheritance with no brakes on any habits that might leave the child penniless and without support. (Obvious point: I'm not implying that's the case here. I'm just giving one example.)

And yes. When a minor child had an inheritance and a living father, that father was typically appointed guardian of the inheritance. Typically, of course, does not mean always. Very thorough research on the family members and dynamics between them will likely shed more light.

The Editor

MillsTA
MillsTA's picture

Editor,
After more research into the McHenry'ss and Mulhollon's (spelling varies), I remain somewhat confused by differences in wording of the guardianship records of the McHenry children.

The 1833 guardianship request of Danial McHenry's son, William, identified Danial as his father and the person making the request. Is there a reason for being this specific when Danial was already identified as William's parent in the 1832 will of grandmother Sarah Mulhollon? In the guardianship request of Danial's daughter Lucretia he is NOT identified as her father. Does identifying or not identifying a guardian as a parent matter? All guardianship requests were made to the same Surrogate Court in Allegany County, to the same Surrogate judge

The 1834 guardianship request of Almond McHenry does not identify Henry McHenry as his father and Henry is making the request. Henry IS named as Almond's father in the 1832 will of Sarah Mulhollon, though. Should I question this paternity because Henry was not identified as the father in the guardianship record? As well, no guardianshp records were located for the other three children of Henry McHenry. I believe these children were all older than Almond (above 14 years old) and did not require guardianship of their inheritances. Is it that simple, or could there be another reason? Perhaps death or marriage events, of these three children, took place between the date of the writing of Sarah Mulhollon's will and her death about a year later? Research on this issue is ongoing. These possible events may have left Almond as the only remaining child of Henry McHenry at the time the guardianship was requested in 1834. Henry and family removed from Allegany County, New York sometime after this record was created. The family, including Almond, made their way to Missouri where Henry McHenry purchased property in Caldwell County in 1838. Almond married there about 1842-1843. He would have probably been about 21 years old then.
.

Another matter is bothering me. Am I correct in assuming that the named grandchildren of Sarah Mulhollon, children of Henry McHenry, are then the children of a deceased daughter of Sarah Mulhollon? This deceased daughter is not identified in the will. And, can I assume Henry and the deceased daughter were married? I am searching for a marriage bond, her deceased father's estate, cemetery record or ANYHTING identifying this deceased daughter.

Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated!
Teresa Mills

T.A.Mills

EE
EE's picture

Teresa wrote:

The 1833 guardianship request of Danial McHenry's son, William, identified Danial as his father and the person making the request. Is there a reason for being this specific when Danial was already identified as William's parent in the 1832 will of grandmother Sarah Mulhollon? In the guardianship request of Danial's daughter Lucretia he is NOT identified as her father. Does identifying or not identifying a guardian as a parent matter?

Teresa, you go on to say that both guardianship requests were submitted to the same court and same judge. Were they both written by the same attorney?  Sometimes, little differences like that can reflect the habit of one attorney versus another. Even with the same attorney, they could simply be an inconsistency from one time to the next.

You also write:

The 1834 guardianship request of Almond McHenry does not identify Henry McHenry as his father and Henry is making the request. Henry IS named as Almond's father in the 1832 will of Sarah Mulhollon, though. Should I question this paternity because Henry was not identified as the father in the guardianship record?

No, I would not question Henry's paternity of Almond on the basis that one document explicitly calls him father and the other is silent on the matter. If, perhaps, Y-line descendants of Almond have a different Y-signature than Y-line descendants of another son of Henry, you would have reason to question whether grandmother Sarah might have been naively mistaken when she wrote her will. But, the evidence you have at hand does not suggest non-paternity, in my opinion.

Another matter is bothering me. Am I correct in assuming that the named grandchildren of Sarah Mulhollon, children of Henry McHenry, are then the children of a deceased daughter of Sarah Mulhollon? This deceased daughter is not identified in the will. And, can I assume Henry and the deceased daughter were married? I am searching for a marriage bond, her deceased father's estate, cemetery record or ANYHTING identifying this deceased daughter.

That's the most obvious interpretation. Well, part of it. Considering that Sarah McHolland named two grandsons, each carrying the surname McHenry and each with different fathers, would suggest that two daughters of Sarah married two men named McHenry. There's also another seeming possibility that perhaps you've ruled out: that Sarah McHolland might be the mother of the two McHenry men by a previous husband. 

Meanwhile, if the McHenry men did indeed marry two daughters of Sarah, then I would not assume those daughters were dead by the time of the will. If Sarah had left property to living daughters who were married, then the husbands of those daughters were entitled to take control of the property--including the right to dispose of it. (Theoretically, the wife's consent would be necessary for a sale; but I've yet to see an instance in which a wife, when questioned as to whether she was giving consent "of her own free will" responded, "No. I don't agree and I know that having said so, when I get back home, I'll be made to regret it. Also, in many locales, while the wife's consent was necessary for a sale, it would not be for a mortgage.)  Recognizing the limitations of a wife's legal situation, many grandparents did leave property to the children of living daughters, trusting that court oversight of the father/guardian was the best option.

The Editor