Home of 8 Genealogy Websites! Ancestor databases in: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia!
Every Ancestor Leaves Something Behind. Did you find it?
Tracing ancestors is more than compiling a chart of names and family group sheets. Discovering the heritage is not simply a picture of a leaf or tree, but rather real people who existed. Many people trace their ancestry to patriots of the American Revolution and to the first Colonists to America. But there is one thing certain: somewhere, someone immigrated to this country and began writing the story of their lives.
It all begins in county records, where the first land grant was acquired or deed filed of record. Then taxes were paid and recorded on tax digests. Sons and daughters were given in marriage and these certificates filed at court houses or posted in old newspapers. Later on, people died, leaving estates to be dealt with. Wills, inventories, sales, receipts and annual returns surrounded this process, all filed in the county court house. It is where the genealogist begins to unravel the details of a story somewhat inconsistent with family legends and tales. It is the truth. In essence, it is a gift bequeathed to all of the heirs going forward. By that, I mean that the eyes of your descendants will have privy to the information hundreds of years into the future. For this reason, it is also your story.
Perhaps now is a good time to discover the details of the dreams of your ancestor, the love which he bore his children., and the heritage which was bequeathed to you. List of Traced Virginia Families on this website
4 Big Clues for Genealogists
Your ancestor may not have left a last will and testament, however, the estate may be recorded at the court house. After a death, an administrator was appointed, inventory made, and other records began to accumulate. Of most important note is the Annual Return which was filed every year until the last heir was paid. The first return records payments to funeral directors and miscellaneous expense leading to the funeral. Postage is even purchased where relatives from other areas were contacted. If you think is trivial, take note of were the letter was sent. This is your First Big Clue of other places to search.
The name listed on the annual returns and the amounts should be carefully gone over because they were neighbors who owed your ancestor debts, or relatives being reimbursed for a number of interesting items. Eventually, there is a substantial amount listed beside a name. That is the Second Big Clue. This is a payment to an heir. All heirs are not paid at once or listed on the same page. There is property to be sold which is not necessarily the home place, rather additional farms, and is listed on the inventory of the estate, the acreage and the name of the county. That is the Third Big Clue where to search next.
One continues year after year with the examination of the Annual Returns. Surnames other than that of the ancestor appear on each page. That is the Fourth Big Clue. Each name should be carefully examined and determined whether or not it was a friend, or an in-law. To learn the latter, go to the county records and determine if that person was married to one of the daughters. Married daughters could not inherit in her name: it has to go to their husband who was responsible for her legal affairs!
A Critical Tool to Help Genealogists
When researching probate records, do you also search the "vouchers?" This search is singly more important than anything else because the vouchers are "receipts"s; from heirs and other interested persons. Every male name should be examined in the marriage records to determine how or if he was related to one or more of the daughters. While visiting the family burial plot, it is wise to write down the names of adjoining plots, in the event those names appear later. One may not always find a book of vouchers because sometimes miscellaneous records were contained in folders and designated as "Loose Estates." No stone should be left unturned for anything and everything concerning the demise of your ancestor.
The Holston Settlements in Western Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee
The first Holston settlement on the Holston River (in Virginia) became the county of Sullivan, Tennessee. A southern settlement was on the Watauga River in Washington County, North Carolina.
These settlements were the culmination of the treaty of Hard Labor during 1768 with the Cherokee Indians as well as the experimental survey which was had of the Virginia-North Carolina line in 1771. The settlers were from Pennsylvania. All of the unsettled country was believed to be part of Virginia. The reason is the topography itself, where the Blue Ridge mountains separating Virginia from Tennessee. The highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Mitchell, was almost impassable. When the explorer, James Robertson, crossed that range in 1770, he was lost in mountains which could not be tracked and wandered for fourteen days without food. When the watershed (a basin-like landform defined by highpoints and ridgelines that descend into lower elevations and stream valleys) changed from the Alleghany Mountains to the Blue Ridge, however, it left an open valley into which to send a population from Virginia into the undefined northern border of North Carolina. After the settlement of the valleys from Harrisburg to Hagertown were settled, backwoodsmen from Pennsylvania poured into tidewater Virginia, pushing their settlements up the Shenandoah River. Thus, a new settlement was established near the Giles and Montgomery Countinies lines called New Castle. There was a fort there, but the settlers were sometimes inside the fort and sometimes working on the land which they had claimed in the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains. A common agricultural practice was to raise small patches of corn during the summer and retreat into the fort during winter, or back to the Holston settlements. Some cultivated their crops using a mere hoe while others used a rude implement made of a forked limb, one prong sharpened to scratch the loose soil, and the other to fasten the horse to, and the main stem answered for a handle. The horses, when not in use, were belled and turned out to feed at large on the nutritious cane and wild grass. Th rifle of the pioneer and his dog were mostly his stock in trade, and furnished him an abundant supply of game of all kinds, from the buffalo down to the smaller varieties. The streams furnished fish in any quantity and of the most delicious flabor. They were all marksmen, and dressed in buckskin breeches with skins of other animals for other garments, and coonskin caps to cover the head with the tail hanging down behind. The women wore skins and linsey instead of crinoline, and short gowns and petticoats instead of balmorals and hoop-skirts. Source: An Account of Wilburn Waters from Annuals of Southwest Virginia.
Montgomery County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Property Taxes,
Montgomery County was established in 1777 from Fincastle County and was named after General Richard Montgomery of the Revolutionary War, killed in 1775 while attempting to capture Quebec City, Canada. County seat: Christianburg, Virginia. Early Settlers: Jasper Garlick, John Robinson, Henry Price, Isaac Taylor, Enoch Muirhead, Charles Stapleton, Alexander Baine, Adam Wiser, Joseph McDonald, Michael Drake, Thomas Lewis, William Deweese, William Lyons.
Montgomery County Records available to members of Virginia Pioneers
Images of Will Book 1, 1796 to 1809
Testators:Allen, Nicholas; Baine, Alexander ;Beckett, Richard; Bowles, William ;Boyles, Daniel ;Brook, Palserly ;Brown, Margaret; Burnett, James ;Copher, Joseph ;Cubbage, George ;Davis, John ;Deweese, William ;Drake, Michael ;Garlick, Jasper ;Heavener, Philip ;Howell, Benjamin;Lawrence, John ;Lewis, Thomas ;Lyons, William ;McDonald, Joseph ;McDonald, Susanna ;Muirhead, Enoch ;Owens, David ;Pepper, Samuel ;Price, George ;Price, Henry ;Price, Michael ;Rayburn, John ;Robinson, John ;Read, George Jr. ;Scott, John ;Shell, Jacob; Shell, John Sr. ;Shovelbarger, Jacob ;Smith, Frederick ;Smith, Matthew ;Stapleton, Charles; Taylor, Isaac ;Taylor, Isaac(2) ;Taylor, William ;Thompson, John ;Wade, David ;Wall, Adam ;Waterson, John ;Weddle, Benjamin ;Wiser, Adam;
Images of Wills, Book 2, 1809 to 1817
Testators:Baker, Josiah; Barkett, Gardner ;Bratten, James ;Burk, Samuel ;Connor, Daniel ;Deyerle, Peter ;Dulaney, Samuel; Farmer, Thompson ;Frazer, Henry ;Gardner, John Sr. ;Goodson, Thomas ;Graham, Jacob ;Harless, David ;Huff, Absalom; Henderson, John; Kent, Jacob ;Kester, Philip ;Kirby, William ;Lykins, Marcus ;McNeely, William ;Pate, Christina; Rayburn, James ;Robinson, Gertrude ;Scott, Matthew ;Shell, Jacob ;Shelton, Lawrence ;Smith, Margaret ;Taylor or Traylor, George; Taylor, John ;Thompson, James ;Townsley, James ;Walwood, William;West, Isaac ;White, Richard;Wood, James
Indexes to Probate Records
- Index to Wills, Estates, Deeds, 1796 to 1809.
- Index to Wills, Estates, Deeds, 1809 to 1817.
- Property Tax 1782
- Property Tax 1787 to 1789