Thursday, August 1, 2013

Using Estate Files to Document Family Relationships on


The other day I had a Facebook exchange with a fellow genealogist regarding the valuable resource of This researcher was looking for estate records for South Carolina, and since my husband's maternal line descends from Horry County, I continued to tell her about the records on, until I rediscovered why I had chosen to work on my husband's paternal line from North Carolina:
not all states' records are represented equally on the site, by far! 

Browsing records by location
In case you've never searched using the "browse the records" method, here is the process:

  1. After signing in and clicking on the "Search" option, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the country file you would like to explore. For this purpose, I'll be clicking on "United States."
  2. On the left side of the screen you will find a listing of states to select from. I'll be clicking on "South Carolina" for the purpose of this demonstration.
  3. There are two options provided for Probate Records here: "Bound Volumes, 1671-1977", and "Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964." This looks promising!
  4. First we'll take a look at the Bound Volumes. Robert Livingston, the master of Frank Livingston and family, lived in Little River, Horry, South Carolina, USA. So, let's take a look and see if we can find Horry County here. Click on "Browse Images." Sadly, you will find that Horry County is not among the available records.
  5. So, let's go back and search "Files and Loose Papers." Again, Horry County is not listed here. The available records are from the following counties: Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Barnwell, Charleston, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Fairfield, Greenville, Lancaster, Laurens, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Oconee, Richland, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg, and York
Browsing North Carolina records, Name variations
North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979 contains 4, 120, 631 images. Currently, I am working on Carter, Dove and Perkins records; but, the primary emphasis at this time is the Estate File of Isaac Dove. 

He was the father of three women who married into the Carter, Fenner and Godette families, and two sons who married Carter and Gaudett women. Note the two different spellings of the Godette family here; yet, they are of the same family. Another spelling variation I have found is Godett. Sometimes there are spelling variations for the same people within the same document. The same is true of given names, evident especially in Isaac Dove's daughter Susannah's name variations: Susannah, Susan and Sukey.

The county records are organized alphabetically by surname. 

What's coming up on In Black and White...
While some of the records I will be sharing here on the blog are related to my BCG porfolio, I will not be discussing them within the context of the family. That would be a violation of the terms of certification. I will, however, share transcriptions of records I am working on. 

As far as building my family tree documentation within Legacy 7.5, I will share with you how I've attached records to the individuals recorded within the pages of the estate files. This can be done with other databases as well. By keeping record images attached to the vital and event statistics they support, it becomes easier to work on proving relationship and establishing estimated dates when no specifics are stated.

I hope you'll return soon!

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