Monday, September 22, 2014

A Child in Esse

Baby from Colonial Era
It is not uncommon for a wife to be expecting a child at the time that her husband write his last will and testament, or dies intestate.  To learn if this was the fact, one should look for the language "in esse" in the will.  The legal language for pronouncing that a child is to be born is "in esse".  In a Last Will and Testament bequests are left for the "child in esse".  It means "in existence".  Otherwise, a complete study of the probate records is indicated.  If the person died intestate (without a will), then the letters of administration, annual returns, vouchers, receipts, sales, inventories, etc. should be closely examined for any activity which resembles the birth of another heir.  This includes Inferior Court cases which might be on the books as well as Minutes of the Inferior Court.  There are some census records which could help.  Say, the husband died in 1841.  The 1850 census should reveal the name of the widow and all of her children.  Then there is the orphans' court where bonds are given and guardians are appointed.  Old newspapers (announcing births and deaths), cemetery plots which contain infant graves, and so on, need to be carefully considered.  One of the most interesting facets of researching in Virginia, are the long, well-written wills which name everybody.  This is the best source for learning little tid-bits of information which help to form the puzzle. Easy to read wills and estates are available online at Virginia Pioneers

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  7. (Graduates database from ca 1830 to 1925)
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