Meet Arabella Charlotte Kneeland, nee Fishbourne.
Arabella was my 4th cousin 4x removed, baptised in Tullow Parish Church, Co. Carlow in 1844. I found her by exploring forward one of the more distant twigs of the Revell branch of my family. However, if I was one of her American descendants just beginning my research and happened across her will proved in Queens County, New York in 1925, I would have considered it my lucky day.
New York, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 on Ancestry claims to have over 5 million records - people or images? The bundle of papers relating to Arabella's estate amounted to 145 pages (albeit with some duplication.) Arabella was relatively wealthy when she died in 1924 so there is a great deal of due legal process drily documented in those pages. This was mainly to both ensure that her will and codicil were lawfully enacted and that every last dime of her wealth was properly accounted for and taxed accordingly.
Now this is where it gets interesting as when Arabella married American John Henry Kneeland in 1871 in Ireland, there was an Irish marriage settlement that referred to that of her parents, Edward Eustace Fishbourne and Elizabeth Revell, when they married in 1841. Elizabeth's father, William Revell had settled interests in lands on both her and her sister Mary and the leases referred to go back to the late 18th century. By the time of Arabella's marriage, we also sadly learned that she had had 2 other siblings who both died as infants and her mother was also dead, leaving her as the sole beneficiary. Arabella and John Henry, who predeceased her, had at least 2 sons, Charles Eustace Kneeland and Frederick Revell Kneeland, who were both executors and the main beneficiaries of her estate. A stray reference to Frederick being her "4th" child also hinted at perhaps a set of intervening twins who died as infants?
All of this information was meticulously recorded in the form of copies of the marriage settlement, littered with other names e.g. trustees, that will have you off hunting for more family connections. 4 generations of one family from one source is pretty good going.
It took me ages to transcribe and cross-reference all the information in those 145 pages, but the lesson here is that the old adage of "following the money" in genealogy is especially true when it comes to wills. So, with the oft-lamented dearth of surviving Irish wills, be sure to follow up any other relatives especially if they passed in away in jurisdictions that were likely to record as much information as these extremely diligent American county clerks.