A Peek into the NC State Archives: Loose Documents of Estate Records

In a previous post, I outlined how to search for wills that are housed at the NC State Archives. In this post, I’d like to talk about another collection that is part of the NC State Archives: “The Series of Original Loose Documents of Estate Records.” This collection contains a serious of documents pertaining to the estates of deceased persons in NC. This collection is sorted by county, then alphabetical by last name.

Documents contained in these files include administrator bonds, affidavits, inventory and estate sales receipts, legal proceedings, division of assets to legatees, etc. These files can be reviewed out by filling out a call slip. The call numbers start with a 3-digit prefix assigned to the county of interest. Randolph County’s 3-digit prefix is 081. Then the next 3-digits are assigned to document type. For estates, that number is always 508. The last number of the call number is the box number that contains your ancestor’s file. This last number is left blank on the call slip. You will put your surname on the call slip instead. They will bring you the box that contains the surname for the county of interest. For example, I might find the loose documents of the estate of Abiah Godwin in Randolph County using the following call number: 081.508.5. Box 5 containing the surname Godwin.

Below is an example of documents contained in the file of Abiah Godwin, Randolph Co., NC (In order of appearance in the file):

Receipt of money brought forward from the sale of estate of Abiah Godwin

Receipt of money brought forward from the sale of estate of Abiah Godwin

Page 1 illustrates how much money the administrator of the estate brought before the judge, probably from the sale of items in the estate. The administrator brought in 79 pounds, 3 shillings, and 11 pence. 39 pounds, 6 shillings, and 8 pence were awarded to the administrator for his duties as administrator leaving 39 pounds, 16 shilling, and 3 pence to be divided between Abiah Godwin’s 7 legatees…5 pounds, 13 shilling, 7 pence awarded per legatee.

Settlement of the Estate of Abiah Godwin, Deceased

Settlement of the Estate of Abiah Godwin, Deceased

Page 2 is a scan of what was on the back of the first page. It reads “A settlement of the estate Abiah Godwin, Deceased.”

Receipt of monies owed administrator

Receipt of monies owed administrator

Page 3 is a receipt of monies owed to Samuel Godwin from the estate for his duties of administrator.

Inventory of estate of Abiah Godwin, page 1

Inventory of estate of Abiah Godwin, page 1

Inventory of estate of Abiah Godwin, page 2

Inventory of estate of Abiah Godwin, page 2

Pages 4 and 5 contain an inventory of the estate of Abiah Godwin taken on 4 Feb 1796, consisting of furniture, pots, farm stock, kitchen goods, etc.

Affadavit of Administrator, Samuel Godwin

Affadavit of Administrator, Samuel Godwin

Page 6 contains the affidavit of Samuel Godwin who presented the inventory to the courts.

Related Posts:

NC State Archives: Original Wills

Looking for Wills at the NC State Archives

This post has been updated due to changes in the North Carolina State Archives website. Please read my updated post here.

 

I consider Mitchell’s “Will Index” to be my #1 resource material to researching NC families. It is a two volume set that sits out on the main counter at the NC State Archives. It can be searched online using the NS State Archives MARS search Engine. This is how I went about finding the last will and testament for Henry Williams:

Go to NC State Archives webpage

Click on the MARS Catalog link on the left side and a new window will open. It may take a couple of minutes to completely load. You will see the main search page. I have included a screen shot below:

Main MARS search page

Main MARS search page

Next I type in “Henry Williams” in the search box and I put a check mark beside the Mitchell Will Index listing. Then I click on the search button.

The database loads the Mitchell Will Index and reports back that there are 7 hits in the County Records Part 1 section and 9 hits in the County Records Part 2 section. This index is alphabetized by county name. Counties starting with a letter in the first half of the alphabet are in County Records Part 1 and those in the second half of the alphabet are in County Records Part 2. The actual published copy of the index is alphabetized by last name.

If I wanted to look for a will for Henry Williams in Caswell County, NC only, then I could type in “Henry Williams Caswell” into the search box and it would bring up 1 hit in County Records Part 1.

Search of Henry Williams in Caswell Co., NC

Search of Henry Williams in Caswell Co., NC

Hits

Hits

Click on the County Records Part 1 link and I get a display of 1 record for Henry Williams.

Information Results Display

Click on the blue “I” icon in the first line

Will Record of Henry Williams, Caswell Co., 1796

Will Record of Henry Williams, Caswell Co., 1786

The record depicts information for this Henry Williams. The will was recorded 1786 in Caswell Co., NC. The call number and MARS Id number are not important.

Once you find the will date, person’s name and county, you can go to the Archives and look through the will boxes. They are organized by county first, then alphabetized by last name. Before you can look through the records you have to fill out a call slip. The call numbers start with a 3-digit prefix assigned to the county of interest. Caswell County’s 3-digit prefix is 020. Then the next 3-digits are assigned to document type. For wills, that number is always 801. The last number of the call number is the box number that contains your ancestor’s file. This last number is left blank on the call slip. You will put your surname on the call slip instead. They will bring you the box that contains the surname for the county of interest. For example, I might find the will of Henry Williams, 1786, Caswell County, using the following call number: 020.801.25. Box 25 containing the surname Williams.

The archivist will give you the whole box and you can only take out 1 file folder at a time. You must keep all documents inside the folder in order at all times. You can request copies be made by filling out a copy request form. Copies are $0.10 a page.

Related Posts:

NC State Archives: Loose Estate Papers

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