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"I leave to my mullatto slave Nanny $25 and a bed on which I commonly lye; Also my black gown and liberty to live with such of my daughters as she may choose..."

Why search these records?

  • Court - Historic ourt records can provide unexpected information about civil suits, foreclosures, tax delinquencies and other legal issues.

  • Land - Land records can provide the names of buyers and sellers, location and source information.

  • Probate - Probate (or surrogate) records can provide detailed information about wills, guardianships, adoptions and changes of name. Wills not only convey insights about a person's possessions, whereabouts and standard of living, but also about their family and friends. They also shed light on the culture of the time, as in the box above, which is an excerpt from a probate record dating before the Civil War.
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