Friday, May 21, 2010

The Gold Mine

Working on my St. Augustine community family history project, I have just finished transcribing some documents from a probate file for a couple who were quite advanced in age for their time (circa 1809; the gentleman was some 90 years old) in which there appear the sort of documents we genealogists consider gold.

Because the couple apparently died intestate and there was a wrangle among heirs, the file contains copies of birth and baptism documents, marriage documents, and death records from the parish church.  It is a gold mine, as now I know the names of the children (from more than one marriage; apparently the last wife was number three), the names of the parents of the husband and the wife, the wife's date of birth, their date and place of marriage, along with the name of the officiating priest and the witnesses, and their dates and places of death.

In those days, "copies" meant handwritten transcriptions, attested by sworn statements to have been true and faithful copies of the original, along with the location of the original in the records (page number and other information).

And I'm not finished yet.  It is possible that I should be glad this couple died intestate, for if there had been a will, there probably would not have been a need for all these other documents to establish relationships.

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