What Wills Can Tell You About Folk’s Stuff

The following teaser is from a very interesting article, written by Carrie Kirby and posted in the November 11, 2015 online edition of the Christian Science Monitor. Check it out!

Louisa-May-Alcott-Will-350pw

Thinking about Shakespeare’s seemingly odd bequests made me realize that what people list in their wills says a lot about what they value.

So when Ancestry made a searchable database of 170 million will and probate documents available to its subscribers, I eagerly dove in. Of course, most Ancestry members use this information to learn more about their family members; the site touts these records’ value in particular for African Americans searching for family history, since wills from the slavery era may name their ancestors as property.

Read the full article.

Wills of Scottish Soldiers Killed in WWI to Go Online

The following excerpt is from an article in the February 24, 2014 edition of NewsNetScotland.com:

The wills of 26,000 Scottish soldiers who died in the Great War are to be made available online for the first time as part of centenary commemorations marking the outbreak of WWI, the First Minister Alex Salmond announced today (Monday, February 24).

Among the 26,000 individual wills are 2,584 from the Gordon Highlanders, including those of Privates Alexander Craig and John Wood from Portlethen, just two of about 9,500 men who died during the conflict.

During WW1, when a will was processed by military authorities it was sent to the Commissary Office in Edinburgh to be preserved in the National Records of Scotland. During 2014, the last wishes of 26,000 fallen Scottish First World War soldiers will be made available online by the National Records of Scotland.

Read the full article.

Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas

gpc5176Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas: A Complete Digest of the Records of All the Countries of the Western Hemisphere is the most comprehensive collection of information on colonial period records covering the entire Western Hemisphere, both North and South America. As far as I know, there is no other single reference for records sources covering the colonial periods for the entire hemisphere.

This book examines the colonial period from the earliest European colonization in the Western Hemisphere until:

  • the American Revolution for the thirteen colonies
  • statehood was obtained for other U.S. states
  • Latin American countries which did not declare independence from Spain and Portugal until 1808 or later
  • Caribbean countries and dependencies through about 1810
  • the abolition of the slave trade, for slavery related records, including dates of emancipation

For each country, the author Christina K. Schaefer, provides an historical background and brief sketches of the records themselves, plus descriptions for the principle holding of the major repositories. Record groups are broken down into similar categories for each country. Common sections include church and ecclesiastical records, census records, notarial records, governmental and municipal records, military records, land records, etc. A list of suggested readings rounds out each chapter.

At 814 pages, this reference is indeed extensive. It may be literally impossible to cover every possible resource in a single project. Still, Schaefer has provided a treasure trove of information vital to genealogical record finding. If you need colonial period records for anywhere in the Americas, this book can help.

 

Table of Contents

Preface

Part One: Going Beyond the Line, a Chronology

  • Chronology of colonial history
  • Dates of the first colonial governors

Part Two: Latin America

  • Introduction

Colonies founded by Spain

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Colonies founded by England, France, The Netherlands, and Portugal

  • Brazil
  • The Guianas
  • Belize/British Honduras
  • The Falkland Islands

Part Three: The Caribbean

  • Introduction
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • The British Leeward Islands
  • The British Windward Islands
  • Cuba
  • The French Antilles
  • Hispaniola
  • Jamica
  • The Netherlands Antilles
  • Puerto Rico
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • The Virgin Islands

Part Four: The Thirteen Colonies, Maine, and Vermont

  • Introduciton

New England Colonies

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Middle Colonies

  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland

Southern Colonies

  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

Part Five: Other U.S. States with settlements prior to the Revolution

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Part Six: Canada

New France

  • Introduction to New France
  • Quebec
  • Ontario

Acadia

  • Introduction to Acadia
  • Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
  • Prince Edward Island

Other North American Colonies

  • Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Rupert’s Land

Part Seven: Resources for Further Research

  • Religious groups in the New World
  • Africa and the New World
  • Colonial sources in Denmark
  • Colonial sources in France
  • Colonial sources in Great Britain
  • Colonial sources in Germany
  • Colonial sources in The Netherlands
  • Colonial sources in Portugal
  • Colonial sources in Spain
  • Colonial sources in Sweden
  • Colonial sources in Switzerland
  • Foreign records at the Library of Congress

Index

 

Although technically out-of-print, Family Roots Publishing has several cases of this book in stock – all at a very special price! Order Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC5176; Price: $47.96 [20% off the cover price].

FamilySearch.org USA Death and Probate Record Databases Update

Here are recent USA death and probate related records databases updated at Family Search.org. We have also updated the following records on this site:

 

 

THE FOLLOWING MARRIAGE RECORD RELATED DATABASES WERE POSTED OR UPDATED AT FAMILYSEARCH.ORG SINCE 25 July 2012:

 

Texas, Comanche County Records, 1858-1955Browsable Images – Not indexed yet – Records from Comanche County, Texas including births, marriages, divorce minutes, court records, probate records, and scholastic census records – 321,875 images as of 30 August 2012; up 730 images from 19 June 2011.

Tennessee, White County Records, 1809-1975 -Browsable Images – includes marriages, 1950-1975; chancery court records 1825-1937, and circuit court records, 1809-1900. The county court records include primarily probate records. The chancery and circuit court records include disputed estate and property records, some wills, and divorces. 203,799 images as of 26 September 2012.

Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Towns Records, 1579-2001 – Browsable Images – Vital and town records acquired from local town clerk offices. These include birth, marriage, and death records. 1,239,396 images as of 27 September 2012.

Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907  – Imaged Records – Name index and images of birth, marriage and death returns acquired from the State Board of Health, Division of Vital Statistics and the state archives. Records are organized alphabetically, then chronologically within a name. The collection is divided into three parts, Vital Records Prior to 1892, 80 towns, Vital Records, 1892-1907, and Delayed returns for births, deaths, and marriages, 1670-1891. At present, only the 1892-1907 vital records have been indexed. 634,833 records and 2,466,220 images as of 28 September 2012.

Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-2003 – Browsable Images – Part of set used under Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954. The collections consist of a name index and images (index cards) of town clerk transcriptions of births, marriages and deaths for the years 1760 to 1954. Indexing continues on records outside this year range and will be added to the collection as they are completed. Images for the years 1955 to 2008 courtesy of Ancestry.com and the Vermont State Archives. The records in this collection are for the years 1760 to 2003. 1,162,117 images as of 4 October 2012.

North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-1984 – Browsable Images – Images of death records and marriage licenses recorded in Davidson County, North Carolina. Some of the individual volumes include an index and there are comprehensive indexes to some of the records. 79,128 images as of 14 October 2012.

[NEW] Idaho, Twin Falls County Records, 1906-1988 – Browsable Images – Death index, probate index, marriages, deeds, homesteads, patents discharges, and coroner’s records from the Clerk of District Court, Clerk and Recorder offices in Twin Falls. This collection is being published as images become available. 91,387 images as of 25 October 2012.

[NEW] Idaho, Lemhi County Records, 1868-1964 – Browsable Images – Marriage, coroners, deeds, declarations of intention, discharges, estate files, school census and student records from the county courthouse in Salmon. This collection is being published as images become available. 129,909 images as of 3 December 2012.

[NEW] New Hampshire, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1636-1947 – Browsable Images – Include birth, marriage, and death records. 402,443 images as of 7 November 2012.

Montana, Chouteau County Records,1876-2011 – Browsable Images – Images of Chouteau County records held at various repositories. Records located in the Museum of the Northern Plains (River and Plains Society) include voter registers, school district records, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church records, Riverside Cemetery records and newspapers clippings of births, marriages and deaths. Records held by the Chouteau County Courthouse include birth, death, probate, naturalization, deeds and school census records. This collection is being published as image become available. — 241,430 images as of 17 November 2012.

[NEW] Oregon, Marion County Records, 1849-1976 – Browsable Images – Includes marriage, birth, land and property, probate, naturalization, tax and old age pension records from the Marion County Clerk. – 406,225 images as of 19 November 2012.

Colorado, Denver County Probate Case Files, 1900-1925 – Browsable Images – Probate case files acquired from the Colorado State Archives in Denver. The collection begins with case number 6407. Files regarding insanity records and adoption material were restricted by the state when the records were acquired and are missing from this collection. – 1,544,153 records as of 30 July 2012.

[NEW] Texas, Deaths (New Index, New Images), 1890-1976 –  Index and images – of Texas statewide death certificates–including delayed certificates, foreign deaths, and probate obituaries–from the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin. The delayed records are grouped with regular death certificates and, although frequently located in the final few volumes of a given year, can sometimes be found interspersed throughout a volume set- 4,543,234 records and 8,892,130 images as of 11 August 2012.

[NEW] Illinois, Cemetery Transcriptions, 1853-2009 – Browsable Images – Images of cemetery transcriptions and records in Illinois. Although the collection currently contains records from Elmwood cemetery in Centralia, more cemeteries will be added. The time period and coverage varies by cemetery; 5,040 images as of 14 August 2012.

[NEW] Idaho, Obituaries, 2007 – Browsable Images – Digital images of originals collected and housed by the Idaho Falls Regional Family History Center. Obituaries are from various Idaho newspapers printed in 2007. This collection has multiple arrangements: by Idaho city or town, mixed cities and name, and by out of state deaths of Idaho natives; 9,165 images as of 14 August 2012.

Maryland, Probate Estate & Guardianship Files 1796-1940 – Name index and images of probate estate files from the Register of Wills office in the county courthouse. Currently, the following counties are represented in this collection: Calvert (1882-1940), (1838-1940), Cecil (1851-1940), Kent (1749-1940), Prince George’s (1796-1940), and Queen Anne’s (1833-1940), Wicomico (1868-1940) and portions of Allegany (1779-1946) – 72,764 records and 1,485,033 images as of 15 August 2012; up  9,797 records and 268,008 images since 9 September 2011.

Kentucky Probate Records, 1792-1977Index and Images – Index of probate records created in Kentucky county courts. Probate records include wills, bonds, inventories of estates and other records. Date and record coverage varies by county. The current collection includes records for Caldwell, Henry, Hickman, Russell and Trimble counties. This is an ongoing project that is 32% complete. More records will be published as they become available.t – 12,429 records and 623,942 images as of 17 August 2012; records were added after 24 August, 2011.

[NEW] Mississippi, Probate Records, 1781-1930 – Browsable Images – This collection includes probate records filed in Mississippi county courts. A few records may go beyond 1930, but most records in this collection were created between 1850 and 1930. The records include wills, administrations, inventories, court minutes, guardianships and other records of estates – 4,302,124 images as of 31 August 2012.

Ohio, Stark County Coroner’s Records – 1890-2002Imaged Records – Images of Coroner’s Inquest books, reports, and case files from the courthouse in Canton, Ohio. This collection is being published as images become available – 57,110 images as of 7 September 2012; up 956 images as of 29 November 2011.

[NEW] Texas, Probate Records, 1800-1990 – Browsable Images – This collection contains images of probate records from seventy-five different counties in the state of Texas. The content and time period of these records vary by county – 1,164,427 images as of 12 September 2012.

North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1964Imaged Records – Index and images of estate files from North Carolina counties. The originals were filmed at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History. The estate records contain loose papers relating to the settlement of estates including such matters as provision for heirs including minor children as well as distribution of funds, land and property, including slaves – This project was indexed in partnership with the North Carolina Genealogical Society and Library – 122,940 records and 2,984,447 images as of 25 September 2012; Up 23,410 records and 540,831images since 13 June 2012.

Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996Browsable Images – Probate records and estate files from county courthouses in Ohio. The content and time period varies by county. – 6,996,317 records as of 27 September 2012; up 3,199,343 records since 5 June 2012.

[NEW] Florida, Probate Records, 1784-1990 – Browsable Images – Collection of probate records, including case files, wills and other documents created by the probate courts of various Florida counties. Probates were generally recorded in the county of residence. The records in this collection were created 1784-1990, but the content and time period of the records varies by county – 660,294 images as of 27 September 2012.

[NEW] Alabama, Probate Records, 1809-1985 –  Browsable Images – This collection includes digital images of various probate records created in the county courts in Alabama. It includes wills, administrations, guardianships, estate inventories, bonds and other records – 317,438 images as of 27 September 2012.

California, County Birth and Death Records, 1849-1989Imaged Records – Registers, records and certificates of county birth and death records acquired from county courthouses. This collection contains some delayed birth records, as well. Some city and towns records are also included. Records have not been acquired for Contra Costa, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Modoc, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Siskiyou, Solano, Tulare and Ventura counties. This collection is being published as images become available – 2,919,335 images as of 4 October 2012; up 1,694,678images since 15 June 2012.

Missouri Deaths and Burials, 1867-1976 – Name index to death and burial records from the state of Missouri. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 58,813 records. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.

Michigan Deaths and Burials, 1800-1995 – Name index to death and burial records from the state of Michigan. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 1,355,265 records. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.

Iowa Death and Burials, 1850-1990 – Name index to death and burial records from the state of Iowa. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later. a – 398,901 records as of 11 October 2012.

New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947Imaged Records – Name index and images of New Hampshire death records. Records consist of index cards that give the name of the deceased, date and place of death, plus often much more information, such as age, place of birth and names of parents. With the town and date of death, the original records can usually be located – 581,056 Records and 1,061,560 images as of 14 October 2012.

[NEW] Maine, Knox County, Probate Estate Files, 1861-1915 – Browsable Images – Estate files located in the Knox County Probate Record Office in Rockland, Maine. This collection is being published as images become available – 58,109 images as of 14 October 2012.

Idaho Death Certificates, 1911-1937 – The certificates are arranged numerically by file number, with a rough chronological arrangement by death date, i.e. month and year – 106,484 Records and 108,834 images as of 8 November 2012.

[NEW] Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1975 – Browsable Images – This collection includes records of probate proceedings from Georgia counties. The records include estate files, inventories, wills, administrations, minutes, guardianships and other records related to probate – 2,224,833 images as of 8 November 2012.

Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate files 1686-1881 Browsable Images – Probate estate files of Plymouth County located at Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston. The files are arranged by number then alphabetical by surname. The files cover the Series 1, 1686-1881. This collection is being published as images become available  – 358,878 images as of 10 November 2012; up 207,874images since 20 December 2011.

[NEW] Maine, Androscoggin County, Probate Estate Files, 1854-1918 – Browsable Images – Probate estate files arranged by case number, docket index books arranged by case number and date and an alphabetical card index acquired from the Androscoggin County Courthouse in Auburn –  258,605 images as of 10 November 2012.

[NEW] Oklahoma, Probate Records, 1887-2008 – Browsable Images – Probate records and estate files from Oklahoma counties. The content and time period varies by county – 6,042,924 images as of 13 November 2012.

[NEW] Arkansas, Probate Records, 1817-1979 – Browsable Images – Collection of probate records, including estate files and other documents created by the probate courts of Arkansas counties. Probates were generally recorded in the county of residence. This collection covers probate records created 1817-1979, but the content and time period of the records varies – 939,415 images as of 13 November 2012.

[NEW] Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967 – Broswable Images – Probate estate files of Plymouth County from two different sources: the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the archive of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts – 302,640 images as of 14 November 2012.

Washington, County Probate Records, 1853-1929Browsable Images – This collection includes county probate records from the Washington State Archives Northwest Regional Branch in Bellingham. They include records from Jefferson, Skagit, Island, Whatcom, San Juan, Clallam and Snohomish counties. This collection is being published as images become available. – 587,055 images as of 19 November 2012; up 392,672 images as of 15 June 2012.

[NEW] New Hampshire, County Probate Records, 1660-1973 –  Browsable Images – Probate records from Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, and Sullivan counties – 524,272 images as of 19 November 2012.

[NEW] New Hampshire, County Probate Estate Files, 1769-1936 – Browsable Images – County probate estate files for Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, and Rockingham counties. This collection is being published as images become available – 874,310 images as of 19 November 2012.

Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629-1983 – Browsable Images–Images of probate records from court record collections housed at the Register of Wills in Maryland. Probate records often include wills, and other records dealing with the administration of estates including bonds, inventories, guardianships, real estate, and various indexes to the records. Includes the following counties: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, and Worcester. Also includes records from Baltimore City. This collection is being published as images become available.– 1,227,099 images as of 19 November 2012; up 147,592 images since 22 June 2012.

[NEW] Maine, Death Index, 1960-1996 – Indexed Records – Death index,1960-1996 by the Maine Department of Human Services from the Maine State Archives. Data for 1996 is not complete – 401,960 records as of 19 November 2012.

[NEW] New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980 – Browsable Images – Images of probate records from various court houses in New Jersey. Most records end in 1920 but some counties have records up to the year 1970 – 1,913,824 images as of 21 November 2012.

Maine, County Probate Records, 1760-1979 – Browsable Images – Images of probate records from various court houses in New Jersey. Most records end in 1920 but some counties have records up to the year 1970 – 503,068 images as of 21 November 2012.

[NEW] California, Probate Estate Files,1833-1991 – Browsable Images – Estate files of the Probate and Superior Courts in the counties of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Napa, Sacramento, San Benito, and Solano. The date ranges of the files will vary – 2,056,187 images as of 22 November 2012.

Texas Deaths, 1977-1986Imaged Records – Images of Texas statewide death certificates, including delayed certificates, from the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin. Additional certificates will be added to the collection as they become available. Certificates for 1978 are currently posted by county. – 108,598 records and 1,378,084 images images as of 27 November 2012; up 30,187 records and 372,212 images since 10 July 2012.

[NEW] Tennessee, Putnam County Records, 1854-1955 – Browsable Images – This collection includes records from the circuit and chancery courts of Putnam County. The records include disputed property and estates, wills, divorces and records of other civil proceedings – 121,173 images as of 27 November 2012.

[NEW] Montana, Beaverhead County Records, 1862-2009 – Browsable Images – Images of various record types from the county clerk and recorder offices in Dillon, Montana. Records include voter registration, land and property records, and birth and death records. This collection is being published as images become available – 71,761 images as of 27 November 2012.

Ohio, Summit County, Coroner’s, Hospital and Cemetery Records, 1882-1947Browsable Image Records – Admittance cards,1915-1947 and employment cards,1915-1940 of the Edwin Shaw Hospital; burial permits,1915-1947 of the Briar Hill Cemetery and coroner’s inquest books, 1882-1922 for Summit county- 12,047 images as of 29 November 2012; up 669 images as of 13 January 2012.

Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920 – Browsable Imaged Records – Massachusetts births, marriages and deaths, 1916-1920 and state amendments to vital records, 1841-1920 located at the state archives in Boston. This collection is being published as images become available – 742,594 images as of 29 November 2012; up 17,531images since 17 April 2012.

[NEW] Maine, Oxford County, Probate Estate Files, 1805-1915 – Browsable Images – Images of probate estate files located at the Oxford County Courthouse in South Paris. The collection is divided into three parts: 1805-1819, 1820-1899, and 1900-1915. Most of the files are arranged by file drawer number then by name – 177,447 images as of 29 November 2012.

New York Queens County Probate Records, 1899-1921Browsable Images – Images of probate records and proceedings from the Queens County Surrogate’s Court in Jamaica, New York. – 1,256,056 images as of 30 November 2012. Up 301,189 images since 22 February 2012.

New York Orange County Probate Records 1787-1938Browsable Images – Imaged Records of probate records and estate files from the Orange County Surrogate’s Court in Goshen, New York. At this time this collection does not have a name index or any finding aid. – It is published by volume and year range – 867,442 images as of 30 November 2012; up 38,009 images since10 July 2012.

Montana, Yellowstone County Records, 1881-2011 – Browsable Images – Images of vital, probate, deeds and discharge records from the county courthouse in Billings. This collection is being published as images become available – 124,478 images as of 30 November 2012.

[NEW] Louisiana, Orleans Parish Will Books, 1805-1920 – Browsable Images – The Will Books for Orleans Parish courts include copies of all wills filed in Orleans Parish, 1805-1920. The will books comprise 39 bound volumes. Each volume is individually indexed at the front of each book. The will books were created in several courts including the Court of Probates (1805-1846), Second District Court (1846-1880) and Civil District Court (1880-1920). Volume 31, No. 11 is missing; 17,971 images as of 30 November 2012.

Washington State County Records 1856-2009Browsable Imaged Records – The collection consists of various records including official actions, probate records, indexes, etc. The records are from various counties in Washington State, 1856-2009. This is an ongoing collection. The counties will be added to the collection as their records are available. Browse the collection to determine current record and county coverage. 2,400,761 images as of 3 December 2012; up 475,931 images since 22 March 2012.

Vermont, Franklin County Probate Records, 1796 to 1921 – Browsable Imaged Records – Images of probate papers located at the Public Records Office, General Service Center, Middlesex. – 222,759 images as of 24 April 2012 – up 15,761 images since 24 April 2012.

Ohio, Jefferson County Court Records, 1797-1940Browsable Imaged Records – Birth and probate records from Jefferson County, Ohio. This collection is being published as images become available. An index is being created in cooperation with the Jefferson County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society and will be published as it becomes available. Contact the county courthouse to get the case number for a deceased person – 591,571 images as of 5 June 2012. Up 417,630 images from 5 June 2012.

[NEW] New York, Buffalo, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Records, 1812-1970 – Browsable Images – Images of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Buffalo, New York. Only burial records go beyond the 1950s. This collection is being published as images become available; 3,240 images images as of 5 December 2012.

[NEW] New Jersey, Calvary United Methodist Church Records, 1821-2003 – Browsable Images – Church records of the Calvary United Methodist Church (formerly known as Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church) in Keyport, New Jersey. This collection is being published as images become available. Includes funeral records – 2,631 images as of 5 December 2012.

Idaho, Minidoka County Records 1913-1961Imaged Records – Marriage, naturalization, land and property, probate, school and military records located at the county courthouse in Rupert. Includes Register of Estates 1913-1929 and 19562-1961 and Marriages Affidatits 1927-1961, Marriage license stubs 1913-1921, Marriage records 1929-1955, and Marrige Register 1908-1962. This collection is being published as images become available – 42,995 images as of 5 December 2012; up 1,283 images since 16 December 2011.

Iowa, Fayette County Probate Records 1851-1928Imaged Records – Fayette County probate case files located at the Fayette County courthouse in West Union. This collection is being published as images become available – 230,855 images as of 7 December 2012; up 144,006 images since 31 May 2012.

BillionGraves Index – Indexed Records – Name index of burial records courtesy of BillionGraves which is an expansive family history database of records and images from the world’s cemeteries, all tagged with GPS locations. Volunteers around the world capture images of headstones in a cemetery and upload them to the site; 2,382,367 records as of 7 December 2012; up 1,015,156 records since 7 July 2012.

[NEW] Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848-1935 – Browsable Images – Images of probate estate case files from various counties in Wisconsin. This collection includes Fond du Lac County (1848-1917), Green County (1848-1885), Jackson County (1897-1935), La Crosse County (1877-1935), Pepin County (1900-1935), Shawano County (1861-1933) and Trempealeau County (1900-1920). This collection is being published as images become available; 871,878 images as of 9 December 2012.

California, San Mateo County, Colma, Italian Cemetery Records 1899-2011Imaged Records – Index cards and daily log book of the Italian Cemetery in Colma. This collection is being published as images become available – 32,247 images as of 10 December 2012; up 113 images since 29 September, 1011.

Wills of 9,000 World War I Irish Soldiers to Go Online

The following excerpt is from the November 4, 2012 edition of IrishCentral.com:

The wills of 9,000 World War I Irish soldiers who fought in the British Army will be posted online this week the Irish Sunday Times reports.

Many of the wills are very short said Hazel Menton, an archivist who has worked on the project for three years.

“The information is limited, but it is this very lack of detail that reminds us of a group of men who have been largely forgotten. “The men would simply write in the space provided to whom they wished to leave their effects,” said Menton.

“As many of the soldiers were very young, and they did not have wives or children, they left everything to a parent, siblings or friends serving with them.”

Read the full article.

Hat tip to ResearchBuzz.

Scottish Wills & Testaments from 1902 to 1925 Go Online

The following news release was received from Grant Millar at Brightsolid:

· From inmates of poorhouses to owners of mansions – a fascinating portrait of Scottish life during the early 20th Century and a major new family history resource

A colourful picture of life in Scotland in the early 20th Century is revealed today, with the release of the Wills and Testaments from 1902 to 1925 by the National Records of Scotland on the ScotlandsPeople website.

The new records, 392,595 in total, document the last wishes of 267,548 individuals who lived and died in Scotland during this period. The collection also includes the wills of Scots who died outside Scotland, but still had assets in the country. As inventories of moveable estate (savings, cash, furniture, stock, etc) are also included, you can discover the fine details of people’s worldly possessions in this era.

People from all social classes are included in the records – from famous industrialists and philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie and George Coats, to the impoverished inmates of the nation’s poorhouses. With more than 35 millionaires included in the records, you can learn how the members of this Scottish ‘Rich List’ ultimately chose to divide up their wealth. Conversely, simpler and cheaper procedures for recording wills meant that estates below £500 were also included.

The records also highlight the effects of major historical events on people’s lives, with the wills of World War One soldiers, suffragettes and people who perished on the Titanic and Lusitania included in the collection. In addition to helping general historians with their research, the new records will also be invaluable to genealogists, who can use these documents to learn more about family relationships as well as the close friendships that their ancestors enjoyed.

Audrey Robertson, Acting Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“We’re proud to be marking the tenth anniversary of ScotlandsPeople by creating a major enhancement of our popular resource for Scottish family history. The 400,000 additional testament entries from 1902 to 1925 will open up exciting new avenues for people in search of their Scottish ancestry.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:
“ScotlandsPeople is a wonderful gateway to Scotland’s wealth of archives that tell the story of our nation and its people. These wills and testaments offer a compelling and moving insight into the lives of Scots a century ago and provide a powerful connection to our past. I welcome the addition of so many more wills to the digital resources that can be enjoyed by the people of Scotland, and people of Scottish descent everywhere.”

The Wills and Testaments are available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) and at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh. These new online records will be interesting both to people in Scotland and to the Scottish diaspora across the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the rest of the world.

Inheritance in America

Inheritance in America bookInheritance is a hot topic these days, as certain temporary tax adjustments are set to expire, reverting such items as inheritance taxes back to higher levels. People and politicians, alike, argue over what is an appropriate manner for distributing the wealth of an individual to their heirs, named or biological. How much should the government take? Even when there are established wills, the courts are often involved to dispute the validity and/or perceived correctness of financial and estate dispersal. Inheritance issues are not new. Examining these issues begs the question, “How has inheritance affected the lives of our ancestors; thus, affecting our own lives and, perhaps, even the country as a whole?”

Before 1982, no one had ever really tried to answer these questions. Then, a team of experts worked together to find an answer. Answers to questions on the transmittal of wealth, capitalism, family notions on money and the idea of providing for future generations are often assumed based on current opinions, but do they hold up historically? Experts Carol Shammas, a Professor of History and Women’s Studies, University of California-Riverside; Marylynn Salmon, Reasearh Associate, History Department, Smith College; and Michel Dahlin, Associate Professor of History and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Colorado System, worked together to find the historical answers to these questions.

The published results of their study is Inheritance in America: From Colonial Times to the Present. This study crosses the academic fields of social, family, and economic history, examining customs and patterns of inheritance among families. “The authors discuss the first intestacy statutes, analyze the testamentary behavior of colonial wealthholders, and consider the impact of the Revolution.”

Other areas examined in the study, and covered in these results, include the effect on inheritance as women’s roles and rights have changed over time; plus, long-term trends in charity, women’s control of finances, and the use of dynastic devices. Questions on inheritance, and political movements to change and reform tax laws can often be traced to a simple fact that “the bulk of household wealth in America, perhaps as much as 80 percent of it, is derived from inheritance, not labor force participation.” Birth, not effort, is the largest indicator of future wealth in a country that prides itself on capitalistic opportunity.

Genealogists will find this study an enlightening. Answers found in this historical review of wealth could easily shed light on family histories which details changes in financial standings but lack the historical perspective in which to place them. Now, answers can be found and correlated through this review on Inheritance in America.

Note: “Appendix B is of special interest, as it covers the Inheritance Laws in place in the United States in 1890, is in table-form, and printed alphabetically by state.”

 

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Preface

Introduction

The History of Inheritance in America

Part One: Inheritance under Family Capitalism

Chapter One: English Inheritance Law and Its Transfer to the Colonies

Chapter Two: Colonial Testamentary Practice and Family Capitalism

Chapter Three: Tension in the System: Changes and Attempted Changes in Postrevolutionary Inheritance Law

Part Two: Family, Property, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism

Chapter Four: Inheritance Law and the Rights of Women and Children in the Nineteenth Century

Chapter Five: Testamentary Behavior in the 1790s and 1890s

Part Three: State Capitalism and Inheritance Today

Chapter Six: The Federal Estate Tax and Inheritance

Chapter Seven: Demographic Change, Old-Age Policy, and the Family

Chapter Eight: Inheritance Law and the Unfinished Revolution

Chapter Nine: Testamentary Behavior in the Late Twentieth Century

Conclusion

Inheritance, the Family, and Capitalism

Appendixes

A: Samples of Probate Records from Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and Los Angles County, California

B: Inheritance Laws 1890

C: Inheritance Laws 1982

Notes

Index

 

Order Inheritance in America: From Colonial Times to the Present from Family Roots Publishing: Price: $24.95.

Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas

Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas. See a review below:

Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas: A Complete Digest of the Records of All the Countries of the Western Hemisphere is the most comprehensive collection of information on colonial period records covering the entire Western Hemisphere, both North and South America. As far as I know, there is no other single reference for records sources covering the colonial periods for the entire hemisphere.

This book examines the colonial period from the earliest European colonization in the Western Hemisphere until:

  • the American Revolution for the thirteen colonies
  • statehood was obtained for other U.S. states
  • Latin American countries which did not declare independence from Spain and Portugal until 1808 or later
  • Caribbean countries and dependencies through about 1810
  • the abolition of the slave trade, for slavery related records, including dates of emancipation

For each country, the author Christina K. Schaefer, provides an historical background and brief sketches of the records themselves, plus descriptions for the principle holding of the major repositories. Record groups are broken down into similar categories for each country. Common sections include church and ecclesiastical records, census records, notarial records, governmental and municipal records, military records, land records, etc. A list of suggested readings rounds out each chapter.

At 814 pages, this reference is indeed extensive. It may be literally impossible to cover every possible resource in a single project. Still, Schaefer has provided a treasure trove of information vital to genealogical record finding. If you need colonial period records for anywhere in the Americas, this book can help.

 

Table of Contents

Preface

Part One: Going Beyond the Line, a Chronology

  • Chronology of colonial history
  • Dates of the first colonial governors

Part Two: Latin America

  • Introduction

Colonies founded by Spain

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Colonies founded by England, France, The Netherlands, and Portugal

  • Brazil
  • The Guianas
  • Belize/British Honduras
  • The Falkland Islands

Part Three: The Caribbean

  • Introduction
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • The British Leeward Islands
  • The British Windward Islands
  • Cuba
  • The French Antilles
  • Hispaniola
  • Jamica
  • The Netherlands Antilles
  • Puerto Rico
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • The Virgin Islands

Part Four: The Thirteen Colonies, Maine, and Vermont

  • Introduciton

New England Colonies

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Middle Colonies

  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland

Southern Colonies

  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

Part Five: Other U.S. States with settlements prior to the Revolution

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Part Six: Canada

New France

  • Introduction to New France
  • Quebec
  • Ontario

Acadia

  • Introduction to Acadia
  • Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
  • Prince Edward Island

Other North American Colonies

  • Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Rupert’s Land

Part Seven: Resources for Further Research

  • Religious groups in the New World
  • Africa and the New World
  • Colonial sources in Denmark
  • Colonial sources in France
  • Colonial sources in Great Britain
  • Colonial sources in Germany
  • Colonial sources in The Netherlands
  • Colonial sources in Portugal
  • Colonial sources in Spain
  • Colonial sources in Sweden
  • Colonial sources in Switzerland
  • Foreign records at the Library of Congress

Index

 

Order Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC5176.

31 Named Slaves Included in Document from Estate of Thomas W. Riviere, Upson County, Georgia – 1859

31slavelistI ran across an interesting document today – being offered for auction online. The Estate document includes a list of 31 named slaves being rented out by the estate of Thomas W. Riviere of Upson County, Georgia. It is dated December 14, 1859.

The following description is posted at the auction website:

December 13-14, 1859, Manuscript Document, Being an Accounting of the Sale of a Large Estate in Upson County, Georgia, Including the Hiring Out of 31 Named Slaves, Extremely Fine.
This marvelous, original, handwritten, estate sale listing, fills 12 pages (352 entries), on 12″ x 8″ blue, lined paper, recording the estate of Thomas W. Riviere, deceased. The last 2 pages of this document contain a listing of rented lands and 31 named slaves, who were rented out along with their families. This document is sharp and clean, with almost no toning except on the outside (back) page, which is blank aside from some court docketing. A fantastic document, possibly of great value in genealogical research. (6 sheets)

The above illustration is the first page listing slaves, of two being offered for sale. I transcribed the data dealing with the slaves from both pages as best I could. I have replaced ditto marks with the word or name found above those marks. I am assuming that the name found after that of the slave is the party to whom the slave is being rented, with the amount of the rent being the last item on the line.

Following is the list:

  • Man – Elias & his family – Mrs. C. Reviere – $25.00
  • Man – Albert – Mrs. C. Reviere – $125.00
  • Woman – Lydia & 7 Children – Mrs. C. Reviere – $25.00
  • Woman – Louisa & 3 Children – Mrs. C. Reviere – $5.00
  • Woman – Amanda & 3 Children – Mrs. C. Reviere – $5.00
  • Woman – Mourning & 5 Children – Mrs. C. Reviere – 50.00
  • Girl – Ellen – Mrs. C. Reviere – $75.00
  • Girl – Clarissa – Mrs. C. Reviere – $50.00
  • Harriet & Thomas – Mrs. C. Reviere – $100.00
  • Caroline & Children – Mrs. C. Reviere – $25.00
  • Man – Ben – D.R. Beall – $119.50
  • Man – Nelson – IF Riviere – $130.00
  • Man – Burrill – Jno W Beall – 85.00
  • Man – John – Wm Carnaway (sp) $131.00
  • Man- Buck & wife Amanda – JWF Hightower – $205.00
  • Man- Will & Harriet – James F Lewis – $230.00
  • Man – Turner – George W. Ray – 141.00
  • Man – Isaac – Abner Abercrombie (sp?) 143.00
  • Man – Aaron – BW Jackson – 106.00
  • Man – Neely – Thos R. Reviere – 138.00
  • Man – Howard – Nissian (sp?) Barrett – $139.00
  • Man- Irwin – John N Howell – 120.00
  • Boy – Greene – Geo W Lanford – $52.00
  • Girl – Martha – JW Bellah (sp?) 48.00
  • Girl – Miranda – John Thompson – $80.00
  • Girl – Jane – Wm P. King – $110.50
  • Girl – Susan – IW Suggs – 101.00
  • Girl – Adeline – Jos F Lewis – $80.00

Francis & Thomas Reviere signed the document as the administrators of the estate.

The auction is at liveauctioneers.com, and will be held at 9 a.m. on February 15, 2009. You may register at the site, and bid at any time. The documents are expected to sell for $300 to $400 dollars, but bidding starts at only $1. No bids have been placed as of the moment I’m writing this.

Wiltshire Treasures & Wiltshire Wills – New English Websites

The Wiltshire & Swindon History CenterThe staff at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham, England have posted Wiltshire Treasures, a terrific new website which incorporates the catalogs from eight local museums as well as art and photographic collections owned by Wiltshire County Council. There are currently over 170,000 records on the Free searchable site. In most cases the entry found after doing a search will be a catalogue reference. These references are descriptive, so you can get a pretty good idea of the artifact. However, in some cases you will find photographs of the item.

I did a search on the surname “Wallop,” and got 17 hits, including an entry and photograph of a needlework sampler madeHannah Wallop needlework sampler by Hannah Wallop, a school girl in Castle Combe, Wiltshire in 1851.

Wiltshire Wills & Probates – Indexes & Digital Documents
The Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, also based at the history centre on Cocklebury Road, has also launched its new pay-per-view format for accessing digital images of what will be over 100,000 Wiltshire wills and probate records, ranging from the time of Henry VIII to 1858. About 25% of the documents have been posted thus far. Free access is available to the index, which actually gives quite a lot of information all by itself. If the researcher finds an image of interest, and the document has been scanned and posted, it will cost £5 for each individual will downloaded (Starting January 26 – free until then!).

I proceeded to do a search for the surname “Wells,” getting 125 hits. Following is a screen shot of a few of the search results. Note the little picture of a camera found in the far right of the image. This indicates that an image of the will is available. Cool.
Wiltshire Wills

Read more about the ceremonial county of Wiltshire, England at Wikipedia.org.

Read more about Swindon, Wiltshire County, England at Wikipedia.org.