[APG Public List] Background on anywhere at any time...

Craig Kilby persisto at live.com
Fri Aug 13 14:24:49 MDT 2010


As a follow up to this, I just today completed a small project for the Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library in Lancaster County, Virginia. As I wrote a while back, we abstracted, compiled and put on line all the Estate Book records for 1835-1865. (See http://mbwm.org/estates.asp) This record set is apart from wills, and well over half of the decedents during this period died without wills. This set includes inventories, accounts of sale, divisions of slaves, final distributions and other miscellaneous material. It is a real gold mine.

There was one estate book missing from this series (another period apparently had no estate book, during the Civil War). Though Estate Book 39 (1850-1854) is missing, its contents could be gleaned from the Index to Fiduciaries. This identified about another 50 decadents who had not shown up previously, and lots more information (at least in terms of documents) for people who died with a will but had no extant estate papers. If for no other reason, it provides an approximate date of death for those "missing" people for whom no other death record may exist.

I'm glad you brought this topic up because all too often people fail to look at these types of records. And they are indeed fascinating material in terms assembling an overview of a communities wealth, and who-was-who and who-was-not-who.


On Aug 13, 2010, at 12:21 PM, Michael Hait wrote:

> Another suggestion, if there appears to be a lack of first-hand accounts:
> Estate inventories provide a list of the items that everyday people from all income levels keep in their homes.  Obviously, in any time period no less than today, higher-income families have more "recreational" possessions while lower-income families have just the "necessities."  In-depth examination of estate inventories in the time period in question can create a portrait of exactly what life was like.
> Michael Hait
> michael.hait at hotmail.com
> http://www.haitfamilyresearch.com
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Ray Beere Johnson II" <raybeere at yahoo.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 11:47 PM
> To: "APG Posting" <apgpubliclist at apgen.org>
> Subject: [APG Public List] Background on Darien,Georgia: 1736? - 1760 or Perhaps A Bit Later
>>    This is slightly off topic, but I believe historical accuracy in _any_ setting serves genealogy well. And there is public relations value in demonstrating that genealogical research can be helpful in other spheres.
>>    A fellow member of a certain writing site is planning a historical novel set in Darien, Georgia. She has the dates, facts, names, and so on that she needs. She is having trouble finding answers to more basic questions: what did settlers do every day? What was their culture like? They were often fighting: what was it like to be a soldier in that type of battle? She wants to _understand_ their lives, but is "either finding [...] big-picture military facts, or [...] daily life grade school lesson plans that say 'Colonial life was hard.'"
>>    She would prefer first hand accounts if possible. I've done what I could, but almost all my research was in New England, and most of the rest was in New York. If anyone knows of published material, online transcripts, or anything else that might be useful, and is willing to help, please send the information to me off list and I'll forward it to her.
>>                             Ray Beere Johnson II

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