WILLIAM A. MILLS (Perry, Georgia) E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are posted his helpful discussions which can be applied to ALL Georgia County Research.
Libraries with Houston County Materials
Please note: I do not show a street address on all of these libraries, as I only have a Post Office Box address on them. I feel certain that you can get an actual street address from the Internet, if you need it.
If you are aware of other libraries than these, which are known to have collections of books and other resources pertaining to Houston County, Georgia, please share this info with the members of this Houston-L list. My listing is far from complete. Take care & happy hunting!
U. S. LIBRARIES HAVING COLLECTIONS OF BOOKS & RESOURCES PERTAINING TO HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA
Probate Records: Overview
1. WILLS & LETTERS TESTAMENTARY:
There is an index at the front of the Will Books and the Letters Testamentary Registers.
A Will is a written and legal expression of the individual's wishes for himself and his property at the time of his death. The Will usually describes the estate and gives the names and relationships of heirs or beneficiaries. The Probate process is as follows:
2. APPRAISEMENTS & SALES:
There is an index at the front of the Appraisements & Sales Books.
Once the Will was proven and recorded, and the executor appointed, the court appointed a group of men to appraise the property of the deceased. The appraisement listed everything the deceased owned, and the value of it. Here is where you will find the true circumstances of the family.
Some Wills specified that certain property of the deceased was to be sold. Others specified that the residue of the estate, after all the legacies had been distributed, was to be sold. This record listed every item sold, the buyer's name, and the price it was sold for.
3. ANNUAL RETURNS & VOUCHERS:
There is an index at the front of the ANNUAL RETURNS & VOUCHERS books.
Annual Returns were the reports made annually by the executor or administrator to the Probate Court concerning income and expenses of an estate. The executor may have had to first sell some of the property to clear any outstanding debts. He submitted accounts to the court of all transactions pertaining to the administration of the estate. These records are recorded in the ANNUAL RETURNS & VOUCHERS BOOKS. They can identify persons known by the deceased during his lifetime, including family members, friends, and creditors.
4. ADMINISTRATORS BONDS, TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATORS BONDS, LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION, & TEMPORARY LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION:
There is an index at the front of these Record Books regarding the administration of intestate estates.
The Probate process is as follows:
5. GUARDIANS BONDS & LETTERS OF GUARDIANSHIP:
There is an index at the front of the above named Record Books regarding Guardians.
The Court of Ordinary (Probate) would appoint guardians to care for minor children or incompetent adults. In some cases, a parent was appointed as the guardian for his *own* child. In most cases, the court required the guardian to post a bond to ensure that he would properly complete his duties, and provide for the minor's needs. The bond required the guardian to pay a fee to the court if he failed to adequately care and provide for the minor. One or more persons were required to co-sign the bond as sureties or securities. These individuals were often members of the family or closely associated with the family.
The Guardian Record Books may include:
1. Letters of Guardianship, showing the appointment of a Guardian. 2. Guardians Bonds. 3. Sale of property to provide for a minor's needs. 4. Accounts of the Guardian's services and support in behalf of the minor. 5. A final account when the child comes of age and a Guardian is no longer needed.
Part 4 of this series, deals with the administration of intestate estates. Part 5 deals with Guardians, orphans, and deceased parents of minors.
The first place that most genealogical researchers search for, is the Will of their ancestors. However, many times there is no such Will. With the exception of a Will, Administrators & Guardians Bonds contain some of the most *valuable* genealogical information about your ancestors. For this reason, I have spent the last 2 years abstracting (summarizing) and compiling all of the pre-1900 Administrators & Guardians Bonds of Houston Co., GA. I have published 2 volumes so far:
1. 1852-1870. 2. 1871-1900.
I have saved the 1821 to 1851 Administrators & Guardians Bond Abstracts for last. This book is in very poor condition, and the Clerk of Court had the *worse* penmanship that I have ever seen. It is almost unreadable. And to compound matters even further, the Administrators & Guardians Bonds are *mixed* together in the same Record Book. This is almost unheard of!
When a person is abstracting records, they usually follow a regimented format for transcribing the data. When I get around to abstracting the info from this book, it will almost surely be a very confusing adventure. I have already obtained a grant to produce this book, but haven't had the ambition and patience to begin it yet. It will take about a year to compile this info into a book.
I usually have to explain to most folks, exactly what Administrators & Guardians Bond Abstracts are. In essence, they are the "gold that I have panned" out of the intestate (without a Will) estate accounts.
The time period between 1865 and 1870 is one of the most difficult to trace, for those seeking the names of an orphan's parents. And since the Civil War was just ending in 1865, and this country was going thru the Reconstruction Period up into the 1870s, America was basically in a transitional period.
You would be amazed at the number of widows and orphans who made an exodus out West, usually heading to Texas and various points in between. Therefore, I am going to post the 1865 to 1870 Guardians Bonds from Book "A", pages 110 thru 154.
This information is part of a book entitled: HOUSTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, ADMINISTRATORS & GUARDIANS BOND ABSTRACTS 1852-1870: By William A. Mills. Copyright 1998.
2000 Copyright - William A. Mills