How to Find the Children of the Intestate Ancestor

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

I found the site of this old Smith plantation in Monroe County. Only the chimney remained. However, across the street was a walled cemetery. My removing briars and digging in the dirt revealed the old sunken grave of a relative who died shortly after 1824, a person I had been searching for in census, etc. records. There was no will, deed, etc. found for him anywhere.

Did your relative die without making a last will and testament? That can mean a lot of things. One possibility is that the decedent may have already divided up his properties and this information may be found in the county deed records. The first thing which happens after a death is that an administrator is appointed by the Court of Probate. The administrator’s duty is to post bond (found in probate records) and file Annual Returns every year during which the estate is being administered. The local newspaper publishes notice of the estate for three concurrent weeks. It is a good idea to search the newspapers because if they are selling off the plantation, it will publish “the location”. From there, you acquire a county map and start searching for the old home place which might have a graveyard planted somewhere in the old yard, woods, on even a nearby community church. Thus, locating the old home place is a valuable tool to learning more.

It is frequently difficult to locate the names of the children of persons who died intestate (without a last will and testament naming the heirs). One method is to examine the details of his estate, viz: annual returns, estate sales, vouchers, etc. Another is the deed records. It was and is a common practice to make a "Gift Deed" to the children prior to death. For persons who had small estates, this method was a simple division of different tracts of land to the sons. Other items consisted of furniture and slaves, usually given to the daughters. The Gift Deed is proof of descent. There are many reasons to search the deed records and to take note of the activities. (1) Relatives and in-laws were frequent witnesses to transaction. (2) To determine the period of residency by particular counties. (3) The place of birth of the children can be determined by when and where the ancestor resided. (3) The approximate death date can be determined by the date of the last deed transaction and place of burial. Simultaneously, tracking the ancestor via Tax Digests assists in the same manner, particularly viewing the "names of tax defaulters" because something occurred that year, like a move, or death.

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The Public Stocks

By Jeannette Holland Austin

stocks and pillory

There is a story woman who complained that she was placed in front of her house with a stick tied in her mouth. This was known as a "scold." Sometimes a person was fastened to what was known as a "ducking stool" at one end of a seesaw plank, and ducked in a pond or river! Some crimes were punished by making the offender stand up on a stool in some public place, while fastened to his breast was a large placard on which his crime was printed in coarse letters, as "LIAR" or "THIEF." In some colonies the use of public whipping posts were applied against hardened offenders. The culprit was seated on a bench in a public place, his feet projecting through holes in a plank (or the pillory) where he had to stand up with his neck and wrists painfully confined in a similar way. These last two modes of punishment were a source of no small amusement to the throng who gathered about the victim and jeered. Nevertheless, this type of public shame sufficiently served to deter crime.

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New Additions to North Carolina Pioneers.com

Dobbs County Deeds 1759-1792 (index only)

Lenoir County Colonial Records (Images)

Robeson County Wills 1787-1847; 1847-1869 (Images)

Bertie County Lan Grants 1751-1757 (images, listed by surname)

Wayne County Wills, Inventories 1782-1791; 1793-1795 (images)

Johnston County Deeds 1746; 1754-1755; 1750-1754 (index only)



Index to Georgia Wills-See Names of your Ancestors

Seven Tory Prisoners Taken at the Home of Mrs. Mary Devane

The Cape Fear River.

Every pension has a story. We have but to write down the names of officers an battles and piece together the veteran’s comments. If you cannot find anything further on the soldier, he would have followed the officers and been listed in local musters. During the Revolutionary War many Americans served terms of three months, then returned home to plow or harvest crops. Also, they hired substitutes for various reasons. Such was the case of Britain Powell who first enlisted under Colonel James Kenon, Major John Moulton, Captain Shadrack Stallings and Lt. Elijah Bowen during the Spring of 1777/1778 as a Lieutenant Horseman. He rendezvoused at the Duplin County Court House for about two years when his wife became ill and hired Lewis Penear as substitute. Afterwards he volunteered again and was serving under Captains Aaron Williams and H. Holmes when he helped to take seven prisoners at the home of Mrs. Mary Devane on the Black River (New Hanover County). He was in the army of Colonel Hawkins serving as a minuteman during the pursuit of Tories up and down the North East River. Later, joined the regiment of Colonel William Washington of the Continental Line and marched to South Carolina.

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The Siege of Charleston

Stories Gleaned from Traced Families

At times the occupying army was actually larger than the total population, and such was the case in Charleston, South Carolina. The British soldiers handled the solution over-crowding by using obsolete or damaged ships as prisons. Survival on one of these ships was scary indeed, as disease, dysentary, fevers and starvation took its toll. Apparently, a lack of sufficient guards offered some opportunity for prisoners to climb overboard and swim ashore. They also sent prisoners to St. Augustine, Florida where officers were given the privilege of free access to the streets.

Brave Soldiers Not Forgotten

Isaac Perkins enlisted as a private in the Continental Line of the North Carolina Regiment in 1777 in the company of Captain Silas Sears Stevenson and marched to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The 10th Regiment was disbanded and Perkins joined the 2d Regiment, company of Captain Clement Hall of the Northern Campaign. The company marched into South Carolina where Perkins was captured and taken to Charleston as a prisoner. Fortunately, Perkins managed to escape and return to North Carolina where he served in the Militia until peace was declared.

The Battle of Alamance; The Brave General Isaac Gregory of Fairfax Hall; Orphan Boy Fights Major Battles during Revolutionary War; The Siege of Charleston; The Battle of Cross Creek; The Treatment of British Prisoners during the Battle of Kings Mountain; John Penn, North Carolina Patriot; The Battle of Guilford Court House; The Battle of Eutaw Springs; The Battle of Rockfish Branch on the Cape Fear River; Patriots in North Carolina, a Precurser to the American Revolution Soldier from Rockingham in Battle of Camden ; Minutemen Played a Crucial Roll in the Revolutionary War; Villains in the Revolutionary War; Every Revolutionary War Pension has a Story; An Eyewitness to the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis"Mad" Anthony Wayne; Colonel Benjamin Cleaveland, Hero of Kings Mountain

Look for the Names of your Ancestors on Monuments

By Jeannette Holland Austin

The Egyptian past marks an intriguing civilization in our history, especially afer the hierglyphs are interpreted.

Throughout the ages, mankind has recorded history in a number of ways, viz: clay tablets, brass plates, papyrus, cement, etc. The practice of erecting monuments is universal and dates back to ancient times.

The cuneiform writing of the Sumerians, Egyption hierglyphs, Cretan hieroglyphs, Chinese hieroglyphs, Indus script and the Olmec script of Mesoamerica are but a few methods used in the preservation of historical events and populations. Not to mention monuments, gravestones, foot stones, markers, obelisks, plaques and cairns which were included in ancient cities, towns and kingdoms across the map.  The old evidence of civilization, no matter how peculiar the writing, serves as historical evidence of people and events. And America came along and adopted that same practice. In the graveyards, we have the slate and granite tombstones. The slate stones tend to break and fall. Sometimes these are found buried in the dirt, so it is a good idea to scrape around in the surrounding terrain. Woodsy areas often sprout old tombstones, so don’t forget to check out the woods. I have found old slate stones propped up in old barns. Thus, past practices should be taken into consideration during the search.

Once, while visiting the Gwinnett County Court House, I noticed a monument in front which told about the militia driving out an Indians war party in 1834.  The list of those who fought included the children of one of my ancestors!  For years I had searched for the names of his children and here was the date and place of an event which recorded their deaths!   The monuments are a great help to remembering historical events which occurred in other times. 

That makes the vandalism and destruction of our historical monuments as one of the worst atrocities in all of the history of mankind on this earth!

New Additions to Southeastern Genealogy.com

Williamson County Wills 1801-1813; 1813-1818

Wayne County Wills 1848-1856;1856-1868

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