Thomas Coyne’s Will Settles It

Thomas Coyne’s Will Settles It

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In the ongoing drama over who is related to my 3rd great uncle, Patrick Dolan, I have a new puzzle piece.  You may remember from my previous posts  that Patrick’s will was filed in 1906, but lost in the San Francisco earthquake.  It was refiled after the dust settled.

I originally thought that because of the fight that took place between the Coyne, Collis, and Wall cousins of Massachusetts and Mary Meincke in San Francisco over who was the rightful heir to Patrick Dolan’s estate that the families didn’t know each other.  I assumed that when an announcement of the refiled probate was published in Massachusetts newspaper by order of the court, that was when the East Coast cousins learned about Patrick Dolan.

I even doubted the relationship between the East Coast crew and Patrick Dolan.  Since I could find no mention of these cousins in any records besides Patrick’s contested probate, I wondered if something underhanded was going on.

But, I was wrong.  I was able to obtain a copy of will of Thomas Coyne, Patrick Dolan’s alleged nephew.  He died in 1906 eight months after the death of Patrick Dolan.

It is this statement in Thomas Coyne’s Will that has got me all conflabbered…

Snippet from Thomas Coyne's Will
A portion of the Will of Thomas Coyne tells me everything I need to know about his knowledge of Patrick Dolan

The portion reads:

“2nd To my sister, Bridget Wall, all my right, title, and interest of every kind and description whether as heir-at-law or otherwise in and to the estate of Patrick Dolan, deceased, whether said estate be real, personal, or mixed.”

It is clear that the Coyne’s and Wall’s were already part of the estate dealings. This leaves me with even more questions than I started with:

  1. What happened between 1905 when Patrick died and 1906 when his will was lost and his probate refiled?
  2. Why were relationships that were clear in 1905 suddenly in dispute in 1906?
  3. Was Mary (Kelly) Meincke trying to swindle the East Coast cousins out of their share when she in the role of administratix refiled the probate claiming herself and her siblings the only heirs?
  4. How were the Coyne and Wall cousins able to prove they were “more” related to Patrick than his nieces and nephews in San Francisco?
  5. There should have at least been the two Dolans, Michael and William, who were named in Patrick Dolan’s obituary among the heirs.  Why didn’t they contest the refiled probate to get their share?

It seems each time I feel there are no more clues to this story another one surfaces.  I’m not sure what other records might help me.  I keep hoping one of the Coyne descendants will surface to tell me I’ve got it all wrong.  Until then, I’m going with my own conclusions..

At any rate, I have the answer to my original question.  Thomas Coyne, and we can assume his brother, Patrick and sister, Bridget (Coyne) Wall, were fully aware of their uncle Patrick when Thomas wrote his own will.  Furthermore, they were aware that Patrick had passed away.  Thomas deliberately put the statement in his will to ensure that his sister, Bridget, got his share.  Looks like the East and West Coast Dolan were not the best of friends, wouldn’t you agree?

There’s a lot I need to learn about estates, wills, and probate. This is an area of research that I have not spent much time in.


Further Reading on the topic of Patrick Dolan’s contested estate:

Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website,

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