Will of Robert Latimer, New London, Connecticut, 12 August 1727

Robert Latimer was my 8th great-grandfather on my one and only New England line. His detailed will and later estate inventory reveals a prosperous man, with numerous tracts of land, herds of livestock, and luxury items such as featherbeds "check'd coverlids" and 24 books. The tracts of land mentioned are easily identified as being on … Continue reading Will of Robert Latimer, New London, Connecticut, 12 August 1727

Cousin Joe

Yesterday, during coverage of Joe Biden's presidential win, I heard his full name for the first time. "Joseph Robinette Biden Jr." And I thought, I'm sure I've heard that middle name (which is his mother's maiden name) before. I checked my database, and indeed, my 5th great-grandmother was Rachel Robinette Beasley, daughter of a John … Continue reading Cousin Joe

Will of John Burney, Guilford County, North Carolina, 22 August 1794

John Burney was the father of this John Burney and my 6th great-grandfather. I have been researching him for the last week—going down a Scots-Irish rabbit hole!—and I have more information to write about, but I first wanted to make his will available as a separate post. Note the mention of "my Negroe man Jeffrey." … Continue reading Will of John Burney, Guilford County, North Carolina, 22 August 1794

Will of John Burney, Robertson County, Tennessee, 6 January 1819

William Latimer was a prosperous Middle Tennessee farmer, and my 4th great-grandfather. His wife, Catherine, had been one my brick walls, until, as part of my Pandemic Project of identifying female ancestors, I came around to examining the Latimer line again. So many Ancestry tree hints identify people without providing any evidence to support the … Continue reading Will of John Burney, Robertson County, Tennessee, 6 January 1819

Will of Winifred Perry Darnall, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 31 August 1929

Winifred Perry Darnall was my 6th great-grandmother, and wife of Joseph Darnall. Some of the slaves that were bequeathed to her by her husband in 1812 appear in her 1829 will. An estate record shows who bought them after her death.William Darnall, Elizabeth Smith, and Joseph R Darnall were all Winifred's children. The deceased Jane … Continue reading Will of Winifred Perry Darnall, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 31 August 1929

Will of Joseph Darnall, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 12 August 1812

I am still working on my Rives line, and yet more wills and estate records have popped up. Joseph Darnall was my 6th great-grandfather, born in 1741 in Culpeper County, Virginia. His daughter, Jane or Jennie Darnall, married Nathaniel Cunningham. Joseph died in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in 1812. Joseph's wife and Jennie's mother, Winifred … Continue reading Will of Joseph Darnall, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 12 August 1812

Will of Nathaniel Cunningham of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 26 Oct 1830

Nathaniel Cunningham was my 5th great-grandfather. I have actually posted his will before, however, that was transcribed from a barely legible copy in a court record. Recently, I found the original will, which is not only easier to read, but differs slightly from the copy. This version makes clear that Nathaniel effectively put his property … Continue reading Will of Nathaniel Cunningham of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 26 Oct 1830

Reconstructing an Enslaved Family from Court and Probate Records

Slaveholding families held much of their wealth in human capital. And so, they often argued about slaves. When they did, they left court records which provide a lot of information about both themselves and the enslaved people that they were arguing about. David Neal's family is a case in point. In his will, dated 4 … Continue reading Reconstructing an Enslaved Family from Court and Probate Records