Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mixed Records in Estate Files: William Carter (1867)

When browsing documents in an estate file, you would think that all the records contained in that file would belong to the estate of the person recorded on the file's name. While looking at documents for the estate of my husband's 2nd great grand uncle, William Carter, I was surprised to find that the first five documents actually had nothing to do with his estate. Or was there some connection less obvious?
"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," 
index and images, FamilySearch 
( : 
accessed 29 Aug 2013), 
William Carter, 1867; Image 5/32.

To the right is the main document in question. It is an application of Guardianship made by Effie Carter Dove on behalf of James Harrington Carter, Lena Stanley Carter and Willie Benjamin Carter, dated 1 June 1917.

How does a document drawn up fifty years after the deceased's file is closed end up within that file?

Let's start by taking a look at the relationship held within this document. Effie Carter Dove. She was the daughter of Enoch & Abigail (Hyman) Hargett, b. abt. 1892. She married first William Benjamin Carter, Sr.; and following his death, she married Jacob Dove. Using this information, we can see that she was the mother of these children, Willie Benjamin Carter being named for his father, who died abt. 1911; however, she did not make the petition until she was remarried. But that still doesn't answer the question of how this document would end up in William Carter's estate file of 1867.

William Carter was the great grand uncle of William Benjamin Carter, Sr. through the George Carter, Sr. branch. Their common ancestor is Isaac Carter (md. Sarah Perkins).

While these children might be considered heirs at law of William Carter's Estate (1867), there is no direct connection made through the documents contained within the file itself.

So the question remains...why would the records of William B. Carter, Sr.'s heirs be filed in the William Carter (1867) file? Could it be something as simple as they were both named William Carter? Perhaps.

This leads me to believe that in searching for estate records, it might necessitate browsing all the records for a given surname in a given locale to weed out the possibility of other such mix-ups. Otherwise, we might overlook some valuable evidence hiding within the folder of some other deceased ancestor.

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