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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

Using newspapers for probate research

There is a research angle I have neglected to include in all my guides and advice about following the probate trail: newspapers ads. States that required administrators and executors to publish public notice of estate sales have given us another source to look at -- and with the proliferation of digitized state newspaper collections online, this can be quick and easy. Last weekend I was idly doing some newspaper searches to clean up my data. I found the newspaper ad for estate sale of negroes for William Miller (d. 1849 Upson County) that named all the people to be sold. I bounced it against my extract of probate records and found "Milly and child" sold to so-and-so. Milly's youngest child had not been named in any of the various inventories appraisals and reports to probate court. But! The newspaper named her: "Milly and child Katy" -- without checking the newspaper legal ad, Katy would still be anonymous in my database

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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