Trends Change. Actual Images of Wills are Truer than Abstracted Records
Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
During the 1940s, Rich's in downtown Atlanta had only one solid means of advertisement, and that was the Atlanta Journal. But things changed and now the trend is to shop over the internet. Likewise, genealogy is growing in this medium. It used to be that old wills and estate were transcripted (into books) and published. It was a simplier means of reading the records, rather than digging through old documents. But now the tedious and almost impossible task of locating old documents and reading them is becoming easier. They are beind digitized online. On South Carolina Pioneers, an easy name index provides links to the doccuments. Not that we should not continue to use the abstracts, however, there are issues, such as the fact that the clerk copied the original document into a ledger. Sometimes mistakes were made, misspelled names and names omitted. Yet, a great deal of information is lost by not having every word of the document. When someone died, the will was brought to the county court house where the decedent resided. The clerk then recorded the document in his own hand-writing, followed by the date of probate. There are lots of goodies recorded by the clerk. You get names of witnesses, codicils, petitions of heirs, surrogate courts where the will was also recorded, inventories, sales, annual returns, receipts and vouchers of heirs, and on and on. "The devil is in the detail." No truer statement applies than in genealogical research. So what happened to the original will? It was filed in a special place at the court house. These documents ended up in basements and storage areas until they mildewed and died. The handwriting of the clerk represented the style of the era, with all of its flourishes and dots. Best to learn that a character which resembles a p was probably a double s. Wills were filed in the order they were presented to the court. In other words, by deaths. So, what you are viewing is the deaths of friends, neighbors and relatives during their own particular era.
A Full Moon is Rising over Genealogy
A new computer program can decipher the written language used in Biblical times!
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the program automatically translates written Ugaritic, a language which consists of dots and wedge-shaped stylus marks on clay tablets, a script which was last used ca 1200 B. C. in western Syria.
The discovery was made by archaeologists excavating the port city of Ugarit in the late 1920s. Language specialists took two years or ore to decipher the script, a job which the software quickly accomplished. The new program compared symbol and word frequencies and patterns in Ugaritic with those of a known language, in this instance, the closely related Hebrew. Although Ugaritic is a simple writing system, the next step would be to help crack other ancient scripts.
Hopefully, we will advance to deciphering modern writing, such as Latin and Colonial scripts found in old wills and documents. Cursive writing is an art being lost as this generation is not learning to read the beautiful cursive writing of colonial scripts.
From a genealogists viewpoint, software which would quickly decipher, say, an old Will dated in the 1500s, would be quite useful! Source: https://relay.nationalgeographic.com
Deciphering Colonial Wills and Documents on the Computer is Coming!
Richland County South Carolina Wills
Richland County was formed in 1785 as part of Camden District. In 1791 a small portion of it went to Kershaw County. The county seat is Columbia, which is also the state capital. In 1786 the state legislature decided to move the capital from Charleston to a more central location. A site was chosen in Richland County, which is in the geographic center of the state, and a new town was laid out. During the War Between the States General William T. Sherman captured Columbia and burned the town and parts of the county on February 17, 1865. Early Settlers: Richard Adams, Casper Coon, John Belton, Benjamin Everitt, John Dodd, Christian Kinslery, Samuel Jackson, William Partride, Mathias Libecap and others.