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Estate Database
Posted by: Donna Hurst-Helmuth (ID *****3849) Date: June 03, 2010 at 13:22:24
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The Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library has a new searchable database. Check out their website:

"The Lancaster County Estate Records 1835-1865 Database is the culmination of a 3-year project by the Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library to study, abstract, compile, and share information from the original Lancaster County Estate Books for use by a variety of genealogy and history researchers. One goal is to reveal these rarely-used and often-overlooked Estate Books for the valuable primary sources they are. Another aim is to help African-American researchers identify ancestors in a period of slavery just prior to the Civil War. This project was made possible by a three-phase matching grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

The database contains information abstracted from estate records, wills, and other court documents related to individuals who died (decedents) in Lancaster between 1835 and 1865. The 1343 documents referenced in the database include estate inventories, sales, accounts, distributions, divisions of property, wills, and occasional court orders, land causes, chancery suits, and guardianship records. The abstracted data comprises key information about 520 decedents and their 1755 beneficiaries, 318 spouses, and 3019 slaves. It also captures details about finances, real estate, household goods, and other property.

The core of information was abstracted from Lancaster County Estate Books #35, 36, 37, 38, 40, and 41 covering 1835 to 1865. Note: Estate Book #39 for 15 April 1850 to 14 December 1853 is missing from the courthouse records and no Estate Book is known to have existed for March 1862 to April 1863. The database also includes information from Will Books 28, 29, and 30 and other court records such as Order Books, Land Causes, Chancery Suits, and Guardianship Books."

Great information here - be sure to check it out!

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