Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Die Another Day

Nuncupative wills are usually deathbed type wills, statements orally declared before an acceptable number of witnesses, before the death of the testator. In the Act Books they are usually found with a header of "Nuncupative" or "Memorandum". Not all nuncupative wills are deathbed related, a good example of one is James Hall who died in 1637 who stated three times that he wanted a certain piece of land to go to his oldest son. Apparently he had signed over the land previously to his second wive’ s children. There was also a caveat filed by his second wife and another relative named as executrix.

A Caveat is where a creditor or family member requested of the courts that no action of a testator’s estate be taken without notification of the former parties. Caveats are also frequently entered in the Act Books, although there may also be a Caveat Book.

Word of the Week:
Masarde: A drinking cup originally made of maple wood, later made of silver or pewter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Tradition is a very important part of genealogy. At our family, we show up at somebody's house at about 10:00 AM Christmas morning. We then proceed to make pigs of ourselves eating appleskivers, little round golf-ball shaped pancakes of Scandinavian cuisine. My father started this tradition from an old family recipe. Recipes can be handed down through many generations. What our ancestors ate and tasted is just as important as a good picture, don't let them be lost. Have someone gather all the family recipes and put them in a book.

Word of the week:
Æbelskiver (Danish), Ebelskiver (Norwegian), Äppleskiver (Swedish): A round pancake filled with apple pieces, butter, powdered sugar and other goodies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Obscure Probate Record

Probate Accounts
Probate Accounts are financial records of disbursement of assets after someone has died whether intestate or with last will and testament. It usually lists creditors and debtors of the decease, and sometimes the heirs and other relatives.
England and Wales have two volumes of indexes in the British Record Series, A-J, Vol. 112 and K-Z, Vol. 113. In the Family History Library in Salt Lake City they are listed as cat# 942 B4b v.112, 113, they are also listed in Google books (search for “British Record Series” “probate accounts”) however they are only listed and not available for full view. Most of the names in these two indexes are mainly in Kent and Lincolnshire but are scattered throughout England and Wales, with only two from Rutland and none from Westmorland. The years range from 1521 to 1851, with the majority in the middle between the years of 1581 and 1701. The actual records are all filmed and referenced in the indexes.
Sometimes this is the only record for a certain person and can be a great source of information.

Word of the Week:
Bink: a bench

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Will Happen to the Kids?

Guardianship over minors
Curations and tuitions allowed minors to have adequate room, food, drink, clothes and education during their minorities, when one or both of the parents had deceased.
A curation arises primarily for male children between the ages of 14 to 21 and for female children between the ages of 12 to 21.
A tuition arises for children younger than the age of curation; there is some overlap of ages.
Curations and tuitions were filled out on individual papers, sometimes found mixed in with original wills and administration boxes. Some were then submitted to the Act Books. A few courts maintained separate boxes for the curations and tuitions.
If you’re lucky enough to find a curation or tuition, it can indicate approximate age, guardianship or apprenticeship. Many times a curation or tuition was not needed as the widow or relict was given default custody. But as in the case where the widow remarried, a Bond of Tuition or Curation was sometimes issued to protect the assets and welfare of the child or children.

Word of the week:
Codware: pillowcases

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last Will and Testament

Wills, Administrations, Codicils and Sentences

Searching of probate records are an essential part of genealogical research. No research is complete till thoroughly perusing one of the best sources available. Many dead end lines have continued, through the stumbling block of the Commonwealth time period and through the beginning boundary of the parish records and Bishop’s Transcripts. Most lines couldn’t possibly go beyond 1550 if not for probate records.

Will and Testament
In medieval times a will was the legal statement of a person pertaining to the disbursement of land, real estate or land interests, while a testament was related to the disposition of movable property, goods and chattels. Gradually they were combined, but even in the sixteen hundreds some were still separate documents.

Administration or Admons
Administrations are documents relating to a will or an intestate person (one who has left no will), naming the administrator or administrators of the estate or goods of the deceased. The probate court would grant Letters of Administration or Administrative Bonds to the testator’s executors or as in intestate to next-of-kin, friend or principal creditor. The Bonds or Letters of Administration were then entered into an Act Book.

A codicil is an addition or supplement to a will adding to, taking from or an alteration of the provisions.

A sentence is a decree or judgment pertaining to a will or administration.

Word of the Week:
Messuage: A parcel of land with a cottage or dwelling house and all adjoining buildings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Genealogical Mayhem

Solving Inconsistencies

All facts from previous researchers should be checked for inconsistencies and errors. Some will eventually be found, conflicting statements, events out of place or time. For example marriages when one of the couple is 7 years old or a women having children at the age of 57. People from Chicago, New Jersey, USA (maybe there is a Chicago in New Jersey?) or born in New England in the fifteen hundreds. Fixing and repairing these errors are crucial to your own credibility as a genealogical researcher. When solving these errors with facts and sources, new information and knowledge can be revealed sometimes leading to a previous unknown ancestor or occasionally developing a feeling of friendship toward your ancestor.
Some genealogical programs will find many of these errors in their lists or custom list reports. Another way is to list people by location instead of by name. Seeing all the places together can sometimes show differences in spelling or wrong counties, etc.. Go through the sources (if any?) listed by the previous researcher, don’t spend too much time because in 10 generations you have over 2000 ancestors. Work mainly on the ones that have obvious errors.

Unconvincing the Convinced

Don’t argue with your relatives, gather your facts and evidences put it on a CD and send it in the mail. Let them read it on their own. If they still don’t accept it, well, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. You might consider publishing your results on the internet, listing all your sources.

Word of the week:

Quie, Quay, Quye: A young heifer.