Friday, August 17, 2012

Darned Son-in-law

Records say the darnedest things

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about our pasts.

Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, even downright laughable.

Yes, Records say the Darnedest Things.”

Records Say the Darnedest Things: Darned Son-in-law

A coworker shared this will with me:

Buy for himself a good stout rope

                           Summerdale Phila. Dec. 4th 1906

I the undersigned George S Wolff being of sound mind
& body write this my last will and testament
Fifty cents (50¢) be paid to my son-in-law Chas W Wensel
a native of Huntingdon Pa. to enable him to buy for himself
a good stout rope with which to hang himself & thus rid
mankind of one of the most infamous scoundrels that ever
roamed this broad land or dwelt outside of a penitentiary

Yes, records say the darnedest things.



Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Wills 302:175-6, no. 2249, George S. Wolff will, proved 10 November 1908; Register of Wills, City Hall, Philadelphia; Family History Library microfilm 1,311,083.

The full text of the will can be found in “Sidelight: A Disgrunted Father-in-Law,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 97 (March 2009): 16.


  1. That made me laugh! Aren't there people you would love to say this to?

  2. I wonder if the son-in-law or the executors were obligated to ensure George's _entire_ bequest was carried out?

  3. I love my son-in-law. But this is really a great document for all those who don't. My husband is still laughing.

  4. Sons-in-law not son-n-laws. Sorry,this English teacher is still correcting grammar :)

    1. Dear English Teacher,

      I know; I know. I just couldn't bring myself to say "sons-in-law."

      --The Insider


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.