The following article was written by and is copyright by Michael John Neill.
The message to the mailing list indicated an ancestor had owned considerable property and that there was a large estate or guardianship filed after the ancestor died. The poster wanted a “local” to do a lookup in the county records and find the files. I was going to the courthouse within in the week, and the lookup would take no more than a few minutes. Armed with an approximate date of death for the ancestor, I looked for the records. I used a year range from ten years before the estimated date of death until twenty years after the death date. There was no estate record for the property-owning ancestor. There was no guardianship case filed under the names of any of his children. All reasonable spelling variants were searched. I reported this back to the original message poster. They insisted there “”had” to be a record and that the ancestor “had” to have owned property and that I "had" to be wrong. And it was possible that I was.
But I remembered a few rules from genealogy and from life. Death and taxes are one of the few things that apply to most people. An ancestor has to reproduce to have any descendants. Most other things are optional. A little more work on the poster's ancestor was necessary.
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