Did you Find the Old Neighborhood?

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Need some fresh clues? Then discover the old neighborhood where the ancestors resided. This is easily done in the old Wills and Estates of any given county. It is a good policy to read every last will and testament during the ancestor’s lifespan because these people were neighbors and relatives. They witnessed documents, purchased lands from one another and married the daughters and sons. Did you notice the names in the inventories of estates, those persons who purchased personal items? How about the names of witnesses on deeds? Another source of information is the in the naming of the children. People used surnames as the means of naming children because they were remembering their relatives, both near and distant. They left some clues for you to search out. The easiest thing to do in searching for Virginia ancestors (for example) is to examine the book Virginia Wills and Administrations by Torrence. Select all of the surnames you wish to research in the counties where your ancestors resided. In fact, the most thorough research would involve reading every last will and testament in the counties where your ancestor resided. This is the old neighborhood! Do not forget the adjoining counties because as counties were formed, they were also divided off into other counties. Virginia Pioneers.net has a growing online collection of old wills and estates dating from the 1600s. That makes it easy to perform extensive research and dig out more clues.