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

The Will of Daniel Williams, Granville Co., NC (1759)

Here is the will of Daniel Williams of Granville Co., NC. Daniel Williams was married to Ursula Henderson. They were the parents of my Henry Williams of Caswell Co., NC. I found two other Williams wills in Granville Co but I am not sure how they connect if at all to my Daniel Williams family. They are William Williams and Thomas Williams.

Williams, Daniel–wills to wife 3 negroes loaned to her for her lifetime, 12 cattle, one horse, feather bed and furniture, household goods, which I do not give away herafter, and at her death to be equally divided between my seven children: Merya Goodman, Henry Williams, John Williams, James Williams, Joseph Williams, Mary Mitchell, Daniel Williams; to my son-in-law Benjamin Goodman, 200 acres of landing being the land whereon he now lives at Capt. Mitchells line; to son John Williams, 350 acres which I purchased of Richard Bullock; to sons James and Joseph Williams, 800 acres of land in Halifax county, Virginia to be equally divided between them; to son Daniel Williams, 400 acres being land and plantation whereon I now live; to daughter Marya Goodman, for her lfietime, 3 negroes and, at her death, to go to her children; to son Henry Williams, 2 negroes and the use of a mullatto fellow to serve to age 21 years; to son John, 3 n3groes; to son James, 3 negroes; to daughter Mary Mitchell, 4 negroes; to son Daniel, 4 negroes; to my wife Ursula William, I lend for her lifetime 6 sheep, 12 hogs and, at her death, to be divided to my seven children; to my youngest children, James, Joseph, Mary Mitchell, and Daniel Williams, all rest of cattle, sheep, and hogs to divide between them; to son James, a horse and a feather bed and furniture; to son Joseph, a stallion, a feather bed and furniture; to daughter Mary Mitchell, a horse; to son Daniel Williams a horse and a mare, a feather bed and furniture; to son James Williams, land on Anderson swamp containing 400 acres; to son Joseph, land on Hico road and branches of Island creek—400 acres; my executors are to sell my crop of tobacco and pay my debts and to get 8000 ten penny nails and 8000 eight penny nails and give them to James and Joseph Williams and whereas Henry Williams and Marya Goodman have had pewter bought for them, it is my desire that John, James, Joseph, Mary Mitchell, and Daniel are to have pewter bought for them in equal amount by my executors and if any surplus from these sale, to be divided in eight parts for my wife and children; after wife’s death, all that is left to be divided to them.Exrs: my wife, Ursula Williams, John and James Williams

Wts: Luke Waldrup, William Sims

Source: Abstracts Of Granville County, NC, Unrecorded wills, 1746-1771, by Zae Gwynn
Page 64–Nov. 15, 1759–proved Dec. court 1759

The Will of William Williams, Granville Co., NC (1763)

Williams, William–wills to son Charles Williams 250 acres of land on south side of Tarr river, also my part of the wagon and the two horses belonging to the wagon, a feather bed and furniture; to son Stephen Williams, plantation whereon I now live containing the 143 acres on north side of Tarr river and a feather bed and furniture, a horse and my saddle; to daughter Lucy Pitman, wife of Samuel Pitman, 5 shillings; my wife Elizabeth to have use of plantation and dwelling house whereon I now live for as long as she is my widow or for life and at her death, the land to go to the aforesaid Stephen Williams; the movable property divided between Charles and Stephen Williams.

Exrs: my son Charles Williams and friend Francis Fowler

Wts: John Williams, John Morris

 
Source: Abstracts Of Granville County, NC, Unrecorded wills, 1746-1771, by Zae Gwynn
Page 66-April 3, 1763–proved Feb. 1765
 
 

Related posts:
Will of Daniel Williams, Granville Co., NC (1759)
Will of Thomas Williams, Granville Co., NC (1761)

The Will of Thomas Williams, Granville Co., NC (1761)

The Will of Thomas Williams, Granville Co., NC:

Wills to my wife and son Roger Williams, all estate with wife having use of same for the term of her widowhood or lifetime; to son Roger, a negro slave; to son Thomas, a negro slave and my mill and plantation ; to son William, a negro slave and upper part of my land divided between sons Thomas and William; to son Samuel, 2 negroes; I leave to wife and son Roger 100 pds. Virginia money to purchase 2 more negroes for her use during her widowhood and then, at her death, one of them to son Thomas and the other to son Roger Williams; to wife and son Roger all stock, household goods, etc., but if she remarry, then divided to my four children.

Exrs: my wife and my son Roger Williams

Wts: William Burrow, John Burch, Saml. Lancaster

 Source: Abstracts Of Granville County, NC, Unrecorded wills, 1746-1771, by Zae Gwynn
Page 65-Feb. 12, 1761–proved Aug. court 1761
 
 

Related posts:

Will of Daniel Williams, Granville Co., NC (1759)

Will of William Williams, Granville Co., NC (1763)

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