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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Actual Images of Old Wills and Estates vs. Abstracts in Books #southcarolinapioneersnet

Actual Images of Wills vs. Abstracts
By Jeannette Holland Austin
Jeannette Holland Austin
It used to be the former style for genealogist to abstract old wills because of the tedious and almost impossible task of reading and digitizing it. Hence, there are many books which have been written with abstracted county wills for every State. This is convenient. However, a great deal of information is lost by not having every word of the document. When someone died, the will was brought to the county court house where the decedent resided. The clerk then recorded the document in his own hand-writing, followed by the date of probate. There are lots of goodies recorded by the clerk. You get names of witnesses, codicils, petitions of heirs, surrogate courts where the will was also recorded, inventories, sales, annual returns, receipts and vouchers of heirs, and on and on. "The devil is in the detail." No truer statement applies than in genealogical research. So what happened to the original will? It was filed in a special place at the court house. These documents ended up in basements and storage areas until they mildewed and died. The handwriting of the clerk represented the style of the era, with all of its flourishes and dots. Best to learn that a character which resembles a p was probably a double s. Wills were filed in the order they were presented to the court. In other words, by deaths. So, what you are viewing is the deaths of friends, neighbors and relatives during their own particular era. Richland Co. SC Genealogy Resources

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