17 July 2015

Don't Diss and Dismiss These Records! Minutes

Those minutes, sometime referred as Miscellaneous Orders and Decrees. They are probate court records of proceedings and decrees.

The minutes contain very rich information particularly about the estates and guardianships but can contain other information.

Let's look at one case in particular to illustrate the importance of not limiting yourself to will books only.

Let's read this will in its entirety.
Jonathan Gilbert, volume 1, Wyoming County, New York will book (court, 10 November 1856).


There was a request for a special guardian to be appointed for a minor.  And the contestants are named but no relationship given: Dorcas True, Hannah Howard, Hannah Spellman and Laura Stannard against Sarah Gilbert the executrix.

Ok, so far no relationship at this point of these contestants. Just these heirs are named:
wife Sarah, to get all property with certain exceptions
Lucy M. Carpenter and Edwin M. Carpenter, children of niece Jennet Crawford. Edwin is to get much of the estate. However in event of Edwin's death before he reaches age of 21 years, it is to go to nephew Hiram Gilbert. Stephen True is to be appointed trustee for Edwin in event his wife Sarah dies before Edwin reaches 21 years of age.

Proving the will is the next step. The will is dated 29 December 1854. There was a mention of an earlier will that was destroyed because it was not to Jonathan Gilbert's wishes.

Still nothing is said about these 4 contestants' relationships. Guess that is all? Let's look at the minutes because a petition had been made for guardianship. 

What do we find in the record in the minute book?

Hannah Howard and "other contestants" are mentioned, still no relationships... hmm... let's see if there any further record in the minute books?

Huh? Still no mention? Keep going...

Now we find Sarah Gilbert had since remarried to Nathan Davison.

Now to the final settlement, still not much is know about these 4 contestants except for this one. Further starter research yielded two things.  Sarah Gilbert now Davison may have been previous married a few times.  Here's the census...

This will remain a research matter for another time. Confusing family... What is certain - Jonathan Gilbert is son of Jonathan Gilbert and Hannah Converse, and had one son named Noah H. Gilbert. Moses and James Richardson are probably son of Sarah Gilbert from her previous marriage to a Mr. Richardson.