I recently traced a difficult lineage. Well, they are all tediously difficult. To discover the actual relationships, it was necessary to dig into the lives of the grandparents, parents and siblings back to ca 1700. What does this mean? People led their lives according to personal and economical factors. All of this is discovered in daily routines. The personal side of it is church membership records, notations of baptisms, births, deaths, visiting the old cemetery, etc. Economically, people were agriculturists. Owning a farm or plantation was no minor feat. It involved keeping extensive records at the plantation. Also, deeding lands to children and other relatives. The last will and testament included extensive inventories, notes, receipts, and everything essential to the needs of the family. When my ancestor left no last will and testament, I was unable to discover the parents of a particular ancestor, it became necessary to read the wills of his siblings. The details discovered were little tidbits of information. However, when all of it was put together, the puzzle filled out. Every person mentioned in an estate or will is some sort of relative or friend. Also, what is not mentioned is important. For example, an ancestor died in 1815 and the filing of this estate was simply mentioned in the county Minute Book. Okay, so it was noted that his death had occurred by an executor was appointed. I never found the actual will, because the county records were burned. Next order of business: Learn more about the executor. It seems that the executor was a revolutionary war soldier from Connecticut, about the same age as my ancestor, and died in the same county. The deed records of that county should be more telling.
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