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Sunday, July 27, 2014

What if a Child went Unnamed inn the Last Will and Testament?

Look for waterways, creeks, rivers in deed descriptions
You see some strange things in the old Wills.  In esse means that the wife is pregnant. All of the children are not always named.  That is because their portions were given to them in earlier transactions, such as deeds.  The American settlers used the right of primogeniture. That is, the firstborn son inherited the plantation. If there was insufficient acreage to distribute among the other children, then other sons went on to find respectable occupations, such as ministers of the gospel. If there was several parcels of land, look for bequests and deeds passing on to the sons-in-law, siblings, cousins and even distant relatives in the old country.  Bequests given to relatives in London, for example,  is a clue of where your ancestor came from and the next place to look.  But what if a child went unmentioned?  Children died early, succumbed to contagious measles, influenza, tuberculosis, fevers and the like. If you visit the graveyard, you will find clues as to what illness was prevalent in the area.  I have seen a number of children's graves mentioning the death was by measles.  If your ancestor's children died the same year, then it is quite likely that measles was the culprit. Also, there are a number of personal reasons that the child went unmentioned.  Daughters frequently received jewelry and slaves upon their marriage.  However, here is where to search:  Inventories, Annual Returns, Sales, and Receipts for the name of the unnamed child.  Deed Records for "Deeds of Gift" to the husband for the benefit of his wife.  It is best to examine all of the deeds and write down which particular tract of land each person owned.  Then, go to the Tax Digest and endeavor to learn what happened to that land, from one year to the next.  This is particularly easy to trace, if the acreage consists of odd numbers, such as 364 acres. The family acreage is passed to family members before it is finally passed on.  In other words, if we do a title search on the property, there is a good chance of learning what finally happened to the old home place and who owns it today.  Granted, the early descriptions in the deeds are bereft of exacting information, but there were not that many people around.

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  7. (Graduates database from ca 1830 to 1925)
  8. (Digitized Wills in counties of: Carter 1794-1830; Jefferson 1802-1810;Johnson 1839-1900;Unicoi 1878-1887; Washington 1779-1800)
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