Act now to preserve data

There are changes coming soon — possibly very very soon — to the matching system at AncestryDNA that may make some of the folks who’ve tested there lose some bits and pieces of information they have now.

AncDNA3This isn’t going to be altogether a bad thing, since the theory is that most of the things that will drop out of sight will be bits and pieces that are unlikely ever to lead to a common ancestor. In short, the hope is all of our matches will be better, stronger and more accurate.

But there are some aspects that will be problematic, and folks need to act now to minimize any collateral damage from the change.

Here’s what’s happening: AncestryDNA is revising its system for evaluating matches in two ways. First, it’s revising its phasing data to more accurately identify bits and pieces of DNA that are genealogically significant. Second, it’s changing its matching system to use actual segments from start to end rather than artificially designated windows.

What does that mean? In plain English, some of the people who are showing up as matches at AncestryDNA right now will stop showing up as matches. Not huge numbers (not like the last time AncestryDNA revised its system and some folks lost as many as 90% of their matches) — but some. At the same time, some people who now don’t show up as matches may appear in the match list. So in terms of sheer numbers of matches, there isn’t going to be any big change.

AncestryDNA says no-one who now appears as a second cousin or closer will drop off anyone’s match list. And it’s promised that we will be able to download data on anyone in the current match list where we’ve either added a note to that match’s record or added a star to the record for our own research.

But — and here’s a big but — many people who show up now as matches at one level will drop into a lower category of match level: for example, some people now showing as third cousins will drop into the fourth cousin category, and a very large number now showing at the fourth cousin level are going to drop into a lower match category — the fifth to distant cousin category.

This matters for two reasons: it’s going to impact shared match reporting and it’s likely to impact circles and new ancestor discoveries (NADs).

Shared matches is a real concern. Remember that feature works this way: for any match, on the review match page, there’s a button to see shared matches. But when you click on that button, to see anyone you and this match have as a common match, you only get a list of those who match you at the fourth cousin or closer level. Since a lot of our matches are going to stop being counted as fourth cousins and start being counted as fifth to distant cousins, we’re going to have a lot of shared matches that won’t show up in that list any more.

Circles and NADs are also potentially going to be affected, and the estimate is that most people will lose one circle and one NAD because of the changes in their matches.

Until the whole change is rolled out, of course, we won’t know the full impact, but there are some things we can all do right now to minimize any fallout from the changes.

So here’s the action plan:

1. Make a screen capture or other record of every DNA Circle you have, and make sure you make a note of every person who’s now in those circles.

2. Make a screen capture or other record of every NAD you have, and make sure you make a note of every person who’s now in those NADs.

3. Go to your DNA Matches list, click on the link for Shared Ancestor Hints and star every single one of those. Those are the folks with whom you share both DNA and a tree hint, and you don’t want to lose their data even if they fall off the bottom of your match list. If you star them now, you’ll be able to download the data down the road.

4. For those Shared Ancestor Hint folks, screen capture as many of the shared match lists as you want to preserve — remember that some people showing up now as shared matches are definitely not going to show up as shared matches after the change because they’re going to drop to a lower fifth to distant cousin category.

5. If you have time, energy and interest, screen capture as many of the shared match lists for other folks without Shared Ancestor Hints at the fourth cousin level as you can.

And whatever you do, don’t delay. This change is coming fast — it could be within days. It won’t be more than a week or 10 days away, and it could be as soon as tomorrow or the next day.

So act now to preserve this data… just in case.

For more information, see Blaine Bettinger’s post, “AncestryDNA Plans Update to Matching Algorithm,” at The Genetic Genealogist, and Roberta Estes’ post, “Upcoming Ancestry DNA Update – Urgent!!!,” at DNA-eXplained.

Posted in DNA | 28 Comments

We know, in The Legal Genealogist’s family, what seems like so very much about my fourth great grandparents, William and Elizabeth (Jones) Buchanan.

Question mark symbol dice rolling 3d illustrationWe know, for example, that they were married in Rutherford County, North Carolina, 223 years ago today,1 and that their family was recorded on the 1800 U.S. census of Morgan, Rutherford County, NC. William was shown as head of the household, age 26-44. Based on age and gender, his household could have included his wife Elizabeth Jones, his sons George B. and William (males under age 10), and his daughters Mary J. and Elizabeth, my third great grandmother (females under age 10).2

We know that, in 1809, William sold an estimated nine acres of land to Daniel Rinehart,3 and believe this may mark the end of the Buchanan residence in Rutherford County and the beginning of their residence in nearby Burke County.

We know that they were in Burke for the 1810 census. William was listed as head of a household on that census in Morganton. Based on age and gender, his household could have included his wife Elizabeth, his sons Leonard, Arthur, John and James (males under age 10), his sons William and George B. (males age 10-15), his daughters Patsy, Sally and Anne (females under age 10), and his daughters Elizabeth and Mary J. (females age 10-15).4

We know they were still in Burke County in 1820, when William was listed as head of a household on the 1820 U.S. census. Based on age and gender, his household could have included his wife Elizabeth, his sons Joseph Alexander, Lewis and Clement (males under age 10), his sons Leonard and Arthur (males age 10-16), his son John (male age 16-18), his sons James and William (males age 16-26), his daughters Ruth and Nancy (females under age 10), his daughters Patsy and Sally (females age 10-16), and his daughter Anne (female age 16-26). We think that John was likely double-counted as age 16-18 and age 16-26.5

They continued to live in Burke County in 1830,6 but the area where they lived had become part of the new county of Yancey by the 1840 census. 7

He and Elizabeth appeared on the 1850 U.S. census of Yancey County, enumerated 26 August 1850. William was shown as an 85-year-old farmer, born in Maryland. Elizabeth was shown as age 79, born in Virginia. Their children Sally and Patsy were listed as living with them. Both Sally, shown as Sarah, 39, and Patsy, shown as Martha, 37, were shown as born in North Carolina.8

And we’re pretty sure William died before 1860, probably in Yancey County, while Elizabeth lived through the 1860 census9 and reportedly died on 21 May 1861 at Mitchell County, NC, at age 86.10

Yes, we know a lot.

And we know almost nothing.

Was he called William or Will or Willy or Bill or Billy? Was she Elizabeth or Eliza or Lizzie or Liz?

Did they truly get along with each other as dear and best friends or was theirs more a marriage of convenience? Did they love their children fiercely, dote on and spoil their grandchildren?

Did they gossip? Tell tall tales? What made them laugh? What made them cry? What did they believe in? What were they afraid of?

What were they like, really, as people?

Oh, for a time machine… because those are the stories I’d most like to hear, the questions I’d most like to have answered.

Yes, I love knowing the names and dates and places.

But there’s so much more that I want to know. Just what else did I get in my family history because of the roll of those family dice?


  1. Bible Record, contained in Affidavit, Ben Buchanan and Burns Turner, 29 January 1931, reproduced in in “Buchanan Family Tree,” Families of Yancey County 10: (September 1993) 67. This affidavit, setting out a “true and exact copy as appears in the old family Bible of Mrs. Naomi Sparks of Estatoe, NC,” was executed before the Yancey County Clerk. The affidavit matches, in most particulars, a transcription purportedly of the same Bible by a school teacher, David Stamey, some years later. The whereabouts of the Bible today are unknown.
  2. 1800 U.S. census, Rutherford County, North Carolina, Morgan District, p. 99 (stamped), line 16, William Buhannan household; digital image, ( : accessed 18 March 2007); citing National Archive microfilm publication M32, roll 33.
  3. Rutherford County, NC, Deed Book 25:36-37, recorded 12 May 1809; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh
  4. 1810 U.S. census, Burke County, North Carolina, Morganton, p. 322 (penned), line 7, William Buchannan household; digital image, ( : accessed 5 July 2003); citing National Archive microfilm publication M252, roll 39.
  5. 1820 U.S. census, Burke County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 55 (stamped), line 2, William Buchanan household; digital image, ( : accessed 14 March 2003); citing National Archive microfilm publication M33, roll 83.
  6. 1830 U.S. census, Burke County, North Carolina, p. 199 (stamped), line 19, Wm Buckhannan household; digital image, ( : accessed 13 September 2003); citing National Archive microfilm publication M19, roll 118.
  7. 1840 U.S. census, Yancey County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 256 (stamped), line 9, Wm Buchanan Sr household; digital image, ( : accessed 14 March 2004); citing National Archive microfilm publication M704, roll 374.
  8. 1850 U.S. census, Yancey County, North Carolina, pop. sch., p. 413 (stamped), dwell. 432, fam. 457, William Buchanan household.
  9. 1860 U.S. census, Yancey County, North Carolina, population schedule, Bakersville Post Office, p. 394 (stamped), dwelling 330, family 330, Elizabeth Buchanan household; digital image, ( : accessed 30 December 2004); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 919.
  10. George Baumbach, “Colonial Pettypool-Poole-P’Pool Families” ( : accessed 7 June 2003) (2011, online only through Wayback Machine,; 2003 website copy in data files).
Posted in My family | 7 Comments

Good news, bad news

So The Legal Genealogist is off today to sunny Santa Rosa, California, for this weekend’s spring seminar of the Sonoma County Genealogical Society.

But before the plane boards (a bit delayed due to those flight crew rest rules), we need to revisit those inheritance tax records that came up earlier this week.1

OACThese are called the Collateral Inheritance Tax Records, and there’s some good news-bad news we need to go over.

The good news is that some of these have been digitized and are available online. The Sonoma County records for example, are in the collection entitled “California, Wills and Probate Records, 1850-1953” on What you’ll find there is four volumes: volumes 1-3, for the period 1906-1908, are with the Probate Court Minutes, Volumes 59-61, 1919-1920, starting at image 632 and going through to the end at image 893; while volume 4, 1906-1935, is in a separate set of some 65 images (including cover sheets).

The records for San Francisco are also online in the Ancestry collection: some 587 total images (including cover sheets) for the Collateral Inheritance Tax Receipt Books, 1893-1921, are online there.

The bad news is that not all of these records appear to have been digitized — or even microfilmed. It’s hard even to find out what records may still exist. I stumbled across the Sonoma County records getting ready for this weekend’s presentations, and only found the San Francisco records by searching for terms like “California collateral,” “California inheritance” and California tax in the FamilySearch catalog.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t similar records for other California counties. There are inheritance tax receipts for the County of Los Angeles; arranged chronologically, for the years 1909-1911, held by the Seaver Center for Western History Research a the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.3 Three volumes of inheritance tax receipts for 1906-1020 for Sacramento County are at the Center for Sacramento History.4

So what it really means is you may need to hunt for these records. One place to look, of course, any time you’re looking for California records is the California State Archives, but don’t overlook the Online Archive of California, with its catalog of contributing institutions from around the state.

It also means you may need a road trip or to hire someone to act as boots on the ground. And the possibly bad news when you find them is that not all of the record books are the same and not all provide the same level of information. The Sonoma County books on Ancestry, for example, distinguish neatly among beneficiaries, listing relationships. The San Francisco County books on Ancestry show who paid the tax and it was often the executor, administrator or attorney for the estate on behalf of the estate or the heirs — with the heirs not named.

But the good news is that records like those in Sonoma County do provide a wide array of information about a wide array of people, and not just the very wealthy folks like Teresa Wensinger, featured in the earlier blog posts. Just as some examples of the more ordinary folks you’ll find in the records:

• The 1906 estate tax for Sarah J. Jamison showed an estate worth just a bit more than $5,000, naming a sister Margaret Marshall and a brother Thomas J. Shields to receive $2500 each, and four grandchildren: Rachael and James Jamison and Rachel and James Bethel, to receive $10 each. The result: we pick up Sarah’s likely maiden name of Shields and the fact that she likely had at least one son (a Jamison to produce Jamison grandchildren) and one daughter who married a Bethel (to produce Bethel grandchildren).5

• Anna Jenkins’ entire estate was only worth $750, but her tax record named her husband John, sisters Sarah Rikert and Alice Thompson of Petaluma, Mary Dempsey of San Francisco, and Josephine Proctor of Occidental, and brothers William and Samuel Weeks of Santa Rosa. Again, we pick up that likely maiden name (Weeks) — and can put a likely maiden name to each of those married sisters.6

• Looking at the inheritance tax record for Joseph Dominiconi, we find that his father Giovani Dominiconi lived in Switzerland, and his sisters Rachel Dominiconi and Mary Sabini in Santa Rosa.7

• The 1906 tax form for Sarah Pierce named four nieces: Mary Numan of Oakland, Mary Lange of Oakland, Mary Gunn of Petaluma and James Pierce of San Francisco who I suspect was really a nephew. It noted specific bequests to those four with the remainder, share and share alike, to a bunch of McDowell nieces and nephews: Mary Ann, Margaret, Teresa, Kate, Sarah, Carrie, Charles, Alfred, George and Thomas. The whole estate wasn’t valued at even $3,500.8

• Mary Crose’s 1906 estate in Santa Rosa named a daughter Annie and son Albert, both of Santa Rosa, and two married daughters, Nellie Harris and Allie Gilbert of San Francisco. The total value of that estate — just $400.9

So the bad news is that these records are not going to be the easiest things to find for all parts of California. The good news is that they’re worth finding if they still exist, even if your family isn’t in the one percent bracket like the Wensingers were.


  1. See Judy G. Russell, “When the tax man cometh…,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 12 Apr 2016 ( : accessed 15 Apr 2016). Also, ibid., “Teresa’s story,” posted 13 Apr 2016.
  2. “California, Wills and Probate Records, 1850-1953,” database and images, ( : accessed 15 Apr 2016).
  3. Collection Guide, “Los Angeles County Government Records,” Online Archive of California ( : accessed 15 Apr 2016).
  4. Ibid., “For the Record : Catalog of the Public Records, City of Sacramento, Sacramento County 1848-1982.”
  5. Sonoma County, California, Collateral Inheritance Tax Record, Record 4101, Sarah J. Jamison (1906); “California, Wills and Probate Records, 1850-1953,” ( : accessed 11 Apr 2016).
  6. Ibid., Record 4105, Anna W. Jenkins (1906).
  7. Ibid., Record 4109, Joseph Dominiconi (1906).
  8. Ibid., Record 4118, Sarah Pierce (1906).
  9. Ibid., Record 4030, Teresa Wensinger (1906).
Posted in Resources | 3 Comments

Supreme Court cases!

Ancestors from Tennessee, anyone?

If so, oh boy, is there a neat new resource you have got to check out.

TNSCtIt’s an online index and ordering system for Tennessee Supreme Court case files.

And while we can’t sit there in our bunny slippers at 3 a.m. and read the case files online, we can sit there and read about the cases and decide whether we want to order them — and even find out how much a particular case file will cost.

And considering that these records were sitting in an attic covered in coal dust and utterly unusable just a few years ago, the fact that we have even this much access is nothing short of miraculous.

The files themselves are described by the Tennessee State Library and Archives this way:

The files located in the Tennessee Supreme Court Cases represent an especially valuable resource for historical and genealogical research at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The volume of cases is extraordinary, with well over 10,000 boxes of material in storage. Chronologically, the cases encompass the period from about 1809 to approximately 1950. The scope of subjects discussed in the cases is equally impressive, comprising the full range of criminal cases as well as land issues, debt, slavery and estate disputes, among many others. The content of the case files range from very brief records to a complete summary of all the proceedings, sometimes involving hundreds of pages. Transcriptions of trial testimony from the lower courts, when they exist, usually appear in cases beginning in the late nineteenth century. Within the cases, one can discover details that throw light on personal data, community life and family relationships, making the Supreme Court cases an inestimable tool for genealogists.1

And how they got to be prepared and indexed? That’s described this way:

Once stored in the attic of the Tennessee State Capitol building, the Supreme Court records came to the Library & Archives in dire need of restoration. Curled and brittle, covered in coal dust from the furnace pipes that fed into the Capitol’s storage space, the records were all but unusable. Our archival technical staff has worked tirelessly toward the preservation of these records for more than a decade. Staff members have meticulously cleaned off the dust and grime, carefully flattened and recorded the contents for more than 50,000 cases.

The archivists will continue this project indefinitely, as there are well over 10,000 boxes of material in storage. However, what has already been done constitutes an extraordinary achievement. The result of the archivists’ work is an impressive, usable state record collection and a searchable online database for researchers.2

So… what kinds of goodies can you find in these records? The Legal Genealogist ran some family surnames known to have been in Tennessee at one point or another through the database and came up with these gems:

• In 1916, the case of Joseph M. Davenport, Guardian of Thomas J. Davenport, non compos mentis v. Jennie M. Davenport et als., reached the court out of Shelby County: “Defendants are relatives of the complainant and his ward. Thomas J. Davenport conveyed property to his brother Julius and his wife Jennie. The balance for the conveyance was to be paid in promissory notes of $41.80 each. In November, 1914 Thomas Davenport was seriously injured in a car crash. In 1916 Thomas gave to his dying brother Julius about $2000.00 of the promissory notes, not having the mental faculty to realize he was giving away his own income. Complainant seeks to put lien on property.”

• In 1868, the case of Letrice M. Coover v. D. E. Davenport out of Marion County: “Coover sued Davenport for breach of marriage contract. Suing for damages in the sum of $50,000. They had begun courting in 1864, but he failed to tell her he already had a wife. Suit originally brought in Franklin County.”

• In 1831, the case of Isham Beasley v. John E. Baker out of Wilson County, over ownership of slaves: “The slaves in question were a twenty-eight-year old woman named Mary and her child Louisa.”

• In 1847, in Washington County, the case of Walter Waterford, by next friend v. John Baker & Adam Waterford: “Walter Waterford, a described man of color, complains by Lewis Garner. W. Waterford belonged as a slave and was sold to A. Waterford (dec.), brother of W. Waterford. An agreement was made that once W. Waterford paid back the cost of the sale, he would be emancipated. A. Waterford benefited from his labor for years and W. Waterford believes he made back the sum required for his freedom years before. A. Waterford’s son, David, now holds administration on the deed; seeking injunction until funds determined”.

• In 1845, the case of Zechariah Campbell, Sr. v. Zechariah Campbell, Jr., out of Campbell County: “Def. filed 6 writs of error on appeal to Supreme Court, over 6 judgments entered against him for $12.50 each, all related to Def’s alleged killing of a hog in the woods, on 6 separate occasions in Jan & Feb of 1844 & 1845, without complying with statute, which required him, within 2 days of said killing, to show the hog’s head & ears to a magistrate or 2 substantial freeholders. Penalty for violating statute: $12.50. All 6 are default judgments & Def. says entered before time had expired for him to answer.”

• in 1868, in State v. Campbell Duggan out of Sevier County: “Plaintiff is accused of disrupting a Methodist congregation by laughing, cursing, walking and other disruptive behaviors. On the same day, Samuel McCroskey was arrested for disrupting a Baptist Congregation.”

Clicking on the Order a Copy button next to any file will tell you exactly how much it will cost to get a paper file sent by mail or PDF images sent by email. In the State v. Campbell Duggan case, for example, there are 11 pages and the cost to have it sent to me in New Jersey was $10. In the Coover v. Davenport case, there are 113 pages and the cost was $56.50.

Seems a bit high until you consider the cost of a single trip to Tennessee… Puts the cost into perspective when you think of it that way.

Not to mention when you think of the goodies… lots and lots of goodies… in these records.

Good job, Tennessee!


Image: Tennessee Supreme Court, Nashville; Thomas R. Machnitzki, via Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-3.0.

  1. Tennessee Supreme Court Cases,” Tennessee State Library and Archives ( : accessed 14 Apr 2016).
  2. Search and order Tennessee Supreme Court Cases now online,” Tennessee State Library and Archives Blog, posted 13 Apr 2016 ( : accessed 14 Apr 2016).
Posted in Court Cases, Resources | 4 Comments

Behind the tax record

So… yesterday The Legal Genealogist wanted to make a point about the kinds of records that can be used to help reconstruct a family’s history.

Because I’m headed off this weekend to the spring seminar of the Sonoma County Genealogical Society, I chose — entirely at random — the collateral inheritance tax record of one Teresa Wensinger, who had property and family in San Francisco and whose estate was probated in Sonoma County in the early 1900s.

Nope, I’m not descended from Teresa. I’d never heard of her before yesterday.

But my friend Linda Harms Okazaki pointed out how neat it was to have this evidence of a life in the San Francisco area before the 1906 earthquake… and you know what I had to do, right?

I mean… seriously… we’re genealogists. We’re the family story tellers — and story keepers.

Which means, of course, I had to find out more about her…

Wensinger2And what a story there is here.

It turns out her husband Francis was an early settler in California — “a pioneer of 1849 and a man who has been identified with the commercial progress of (San Francisco) from its very infancy.”1 Francis was a banker, a real estate investor and “one of the leading Catholics of the city … very devout and charitable, and the different Catholic churches of this city are indebted to him for many generous gifts.”2

Pay attention to that last part. It’s going to come up again.

Francis died in 1900 and, after confirming gifts he’d already made, he left everything to his widow, Teresa.3

Teresa, now a childless widow, lived nearly six years longer than her husband, dying in December 1905. Her death notice appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 4, 1905:

WENSINGER — In Freestone, December 1, Teresa, relict of Francis Wensinger, a native of Ireland.

Funeral will take place Monday, December 4, at 10 o;clock, from St. Mary’s Cathedral, where a requiem high mass will be celebrated for the repose of her soul. Interment, Holy Cross Cemetery.4

On December 8th, the San Francisco Call reported on the handwritten will of Teresa Wensinger, written in 1901. It said that the “Santa Rosa Woman Remembers the Poor; Mrs. Wensinger Leaves Large Part of Estate to Charity.”5 Individual legacies were made to family members — nieces, nephews and the like — and to various institutions and to a nun in Ireland, with the “residue of the estate … left to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco.”6

Now the share of one particular nephew, Louis O’Farrell, was “left to his wife … and children, for whom it is declared O’Farrell has not provided.”7

And you know what happened next, right?

I mean, we could practically have written the rest of the story without even seeing the records.

Louis didn’t much like the fact that he wasn’t getting any cash himself at all. And he was particularly put out that even considering what was going to his wife and kids, their part of the estate was not nearly as much as the Catholic Church was getting.

And he sued to set aside the will on the grounds of undue influence. Specifically, he accused the Archbishop of San Francisco of personally interfering and inducing his aunt to cut him out of the will and to leave so much of her property to the church.8

The case actually went to trial in April 1908, with testimony starting on April 24 and continuing well into May. The Archbishop of San Francisco himself, Patrick W. Riordan, took the stand on May 20 to deny allegations of unduly influencing the widow.9

The newspaper accounts aren’t entirely clear as to what happened between May and June 1908, but they are clear as to how the case concluded: “Compromise in Wensinger Case: Contestant Accepts Cash Settlement for Claims on Estate.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle, O’Farrell was to receive $9,000 in cash in settlement of his claims.10

The case disappears from the newspapers with the announcement of the settlement… well, at least until late in 1910, when the Church ended up filing a suit to quiet the title to some land in San Francisco that O’Farrell was still claiming an interest in…11

You have to love a good family fight. From a genealogical perspective, there’s nothing like it to produce records…


Image: “Santa Rosa Woman Remembers the Poor,” San Francisco Call, 8 Dec 1905, p. 14, col. 6; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).

  1. “Notable Deaths of the Day: Death of an Argonaut Who Was A Millionaire,” San Francisco Call, 25 Jan 1900, p. 5, col. 3; digital images, California Digital Newspaper Collection ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Wensinger’s Will Filed, San Francisco Call, 31 Jan 1900, p. 6, col. 6; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
  4. “Death Notices, Wensinger,” San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Dec 1905, p. 13, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
  5. “Santa Rosa Woman Remembers the Poor,” San Francisco Call, 8 Dec 1905, p. 14, col. 6; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
  6. Ibid.
  7. “Archbishop Named As Defendant,” San Francisco Call, 8 Dec 1905, p. 48, col. 1; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
  8. Ibid.
  9. “Bishop On Stand in Will Contest,” San Francisco Call, 21 May 1908, p. 4, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
  10. “Compromise in Wensinger Case,” San Francisco Chronicle, 25 June 1908, p. 3, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
  11. “Archbishop’s Suit to Quiet Title Submitted,” San Francisco Call, 2 Sep 1910, p. 7, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Apr 2016).
Posted in General, Resources | 2 Comments

… there are records

When Teresa Wensinger died in San Francisco, California, in December 1905, she left a substantial estate including property in Sonoma County.

Her real estate ultimately was valued at more than $190,000, and her personal property at more than $100,000.

But you won’t find those numbers in the will books or the probate minutes.

You could probably put the final tally together using the inventory of the estate… if you could find them, without a road trip to California.

But there’s an easier way.

An easier way that includes the exact names, addresses and precise relationships to the deceased of people to whom the estate was to be distributed.

Niece. Niece by marriage. Grand nephew. Brother. Husband’s grand nephew.

And the record of that easier way is already digitized and online.

The Legal Genealogist came across it last night poking around in the digitized records of Sonoma County in preparation for this weekend’s spring seminar of the Sonoma County Genealogical Society.

It’s called the Collateral Inheritance Tax Record, and the record of Teresa Wensinger’s estate in that record book is like one-stop shopping to produce a list of her closest kin and her estate value at the time of her death.1


From this one document, even if you couldn’t find anything else online sitting at your computer at 3 a.m. in your bunny slippers, you’d have a reasonably good picture of Teresa Wensinger.

You’d know, for example, that her maiden name very likely was O’Farrell. One of the beneficiaries of the estate was identified as a brother, George O’Farrell of Sonoma County.2

You’d know that she was almost undoubtedly a Catholic. Another of the beneficiaries of the estate was one Sister M. Ligouri O’Farrell of the Convent of Mercy3 and money was left to the Youths Directory in charge of Father Crowley, to the Children’s Day Home of the Sisters of the Holy Family, the Home for Old People of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Hospital for Incurables of the Franciscan Sisters.4

You’d know that she probably got along well with her husband’s kin, and was close to them as well as to her own. She left a specific bequest to her husband’s grand nephew — equal in amount to what she left to her own nephew.5

So… why was such a document created?

Because California started taxing estates in 1893.6 As amended in 1903, the statutes did not tax inheritances by parents, spouses, children, adopted children and the spouses of children,7 and exempted bequests to certain charities.8

All of the property was supposed to be valued and assessed and “The Clerk of each Superior Court shall keep in the office of the Superior Court, as a public record, a book in which he shall enter the returns made by appraisers, the cash value of collateral inheritances, and taxes assessed thereon, and the amounts received in payment.”9

Now don’t get me wrong: this one document isn’t the end of the Wensinger story. You’d still want to get the will, and the clerk’s copy of the will is available online.10 You can put together the list of beneficiaries from that.

You’d still want the inventory and the court minutes and the whole probate packet, if still in existence.

But as a place to start?

Tax records are among the very best that exist.

Don’t overlook them.


  1. Sonoma County, California, Collateral Inheritance Tax Record, Book 2, Record 4030, Teresa Wensinger (1905-1906); “California, Wills and Probate Records, 1850-1953,” ( : accessed 11 Apr 2016).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Oscar Tully Shuck, The Collateral Inheritance Tax Acts of the State of California (San Francisco : p.p., 1903), 1; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 11 Apr 2016).
  7. Ibid., at 6.
  8. Ibid., at 5.
  9. Ibid., at 14.
  10. Sonoma County, Cal., Will Book I: 211, Will of Teresa Wensinger (1905); “California, Wills and Probate Records, 1850-1953,” ( : accessed 11 Apr 2016).
Posted in Resources, Statutes | 5 Comments

The language of the law. Part Latin, part Anglo-Saxon, all confusing.

Emeric v. Alvarado

Emeric v. Alvarado

Some years ago, The Legal Genealogist addressed the question of what a moiety was in a land record.

And, of course, because a moiety in real estate creates a right to roughly equal shares,1 and because joint and common ownership gives all owners some rights to the land, that leaves open the question of who, ultimately, gets what part of the land.

And that, of course, is where partition comes in. A kind of record we see a lot, particularly in the probate records that are coming online fast and furious these days… but may not understand well enough.

So… what’s a partition?

We’ve talked about this before, but it was a long time ago,2 and sometimes we all need a reminder.

Partition, in a nutshell, is where the court steps in to decide who, ultimately, gets what part of the land. (And yeah, like much else in the law, it has other names: try actio communi dividundo3 on for size. Legal Latin also has a specific term for an action for partition based on an inheritance: actio familiae erciscundae.4 A writ of partition is sometimes called a de partitione facienda.5)

The definition of partition is, simply, the division of lands held jointly or in common by multiple owners into distinct portions, so that each takes sole ownership of a separate part.6

Usually, the party who wanted the land divided would file an action for partition. If the court granted it, it would issue a judgment, called a judgment quod partitio fiat,7 ordering the partition to occur. The actual division — deciding who gets what — was often done by a group appointed just for that purpose, called a commission of partition.8 In older records, those folks might be referred to as extensores.9 If the proposed division was accepted and approved by the court, one or more deeds of partition10 would be entered, giving each landowner single title to his or her part of the land.

For a GREAT example of partition, take a look at the California Supreme Court case of Emeric v. Alvarado, 64 Cal. 659, 2 P. 418 (Cal. 1884).11 It’s really a wonderful read. It’s a decision on an action to partition a ranch of nearly 18,000 acres known as San Pablo in Contra Costa County.

The opinion itself is an amazing history lesson: all about land grants in early California (the family patriarch, Francisco Maria Castro, applied for his grant in April 1823) and all about how land inheritance worked under the Mexican and Spanish laws in effect at the time.

Even better if you’re a descendant of Francisco Maria Castro or researching any part of his family, the opinion names his wife (maiden name included), all 11 of their children, the spouses of three daughters, six grandchildren (and the spouse of one granddaughter), and two great granddaughters (and the surnames of their spouses). And it gives the full names of 31 minors, with six surnames, with interests in the estate based on their ancestors for more research.

And you thought court records were dull…


  1. See Judy G. Russell, “Moiety,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 2 Jan 2012 ( : accessed 10 Apr 2016).
  2. See ibid., “Partition and Emeric v. Alvarado,” posted 3 Jan 2012.
  3. Henry Campbell Black, A Dictionary of Law (St. Paul, Minn. : West, 1891), 23, “actio communi dividundo.”
  4. Ibid., 24, “actio familiae erciscundae.”
  5. Ibid., 330, “de partitione facienda.”
  6. Ibid., 873, “partition.”
  7. See ibid., 655, “judgment,” subentry for “judgment quod partitio fiat.”
  8. Ibid., 24, “commission of partition.”
  9. Ibid., 464, “extensores.”
  10. Ibid., 873, “partition, deed of.”
  11. Court case citations, remember, are to the volume of a reporter and then to a page. So 64 Cal. 659 is to page 659 of volume 64 of the official California Reports, the official reporter for California Supreme Court cases. The second reporter cited (2 P. 418) is an unofficial regional reporter (volume 2 of the Pacific Reporter, published by West), and it’s available for free online at Google Books.
Posted in Court Cases, Resources | 1 Comment

Such memories, so long after

It was a death in the family 107 years ago.

And it rocked The Legal Genealogist‘s kin.

Perhaps not exactly today, though today does mark the 107th anniversary of the death.

News of that death, you see, would have taken some time to travel from Red Lake in Colfax County, New Mexico, to Frederick, in Tillman County, Oklahoma.

And it would have taken still more time for the news to travel from Frederick to Hollister, some 12 miles away, give or take a few.

Yet, years after the event, the impact of that news was still seared in the mind and the memory of one person affected… my grandmother, Opal (Robertson) Cottrell.

Martha Louise Shew Baird Livingston, born AL c1855, died NM 9 Apr 1909

Martha Louise Shew Baird Livingston
born AL c1855, died NM 9 Apr 1909

The death was that of my grandmother’s grandmother, Martha Louise (Shew) Baird Livingston, on the 9th of April 1909.

Martha Louise was born in Cherokee County, Alabama, the third child and only daughter of Daniel and Margaret (Battles) Shew. Her birth date? Well, that was in some February in the mid 1850s. (Her tombstone reads 1856.1 The 1860 census has her age then as six (birth year of 1854);2 the 1870 census as 17 then (birth year of 1853);3 the 1880 census as 25 (birth year of 1855);4 and the 1900 census says she was born in February 1855.5)

Her father Daniel was a farmer who appears to have died when Martha Louise was a very little girl. We know he was alive in 1854, when he signed a receipt for a federal land purchase,6 but he was not recorded with the family in the 1860 census and there is no record of him thereafter.

She was quite young when her first child, Eula, was born, in 1869, and there is some doubt as to the status of Eula’s parents at the time of her birth. In short, we have no clue whether Martha Louise and Jasper Baird were married — then, or ever.

We do know she was free, somehow, to marry Abigah Livingston in 1876,7 and to go on then to produce eight Livingston children — with the last, Arthur Carlton Livingston, born the same year that the first, Eula Baird, married Jasper Carlton Robertson. (And yeah, we actually do think the middle name was a deliberate choice.)

She lived in four states in her lifetime: her first many years in Alabama; then with Abigah and their children in Texas; then with Abigah and most of their children in Oklahoma; and then… and then… and then…

Sometime after Oklahoma became a state, Martha Louise became ill. Nothing that anyone could do for her in Oklahoma seemed to be helping. She couldn’t breathe.

What was left to try to help her was what so many people at that time tried to do: Martha Louise was sent off to a better climate, to the desert of New Mexico, in the hopes that what was almost undoubtedly tuberculosis could be brought under control.

It was not to be. And 107 years ago today her life came to a close.8

We don’t know how the news came to Frederick, Oklahoma, where most of the Livingston family was centered. But we do know, exactly, how the word came to Hollister, where Eula and her family were living.

We know because of a note written by Eula’s daughter, my grandmother Opal, on a page in a 1968 calendar. That may have just been what was available when she sat to write her recollections — not necessarily in 1968 — but whenever it was it had to be at least 59 years after the fact.

And what she wrote shows how much that was still fresh in her mind:

1909 –
Long before it got there we could see the buggy coming slowly
down our road — My Dear Uncle
Leva – 15 years old – bringing us the
sad news of my Dear Grandmother’s
Death – My grieving Mother – and my aunts & uncles – I am carried back through time and space to where you are – and I see you once more – as you were then – a large, close family, grieving for a Dear & loving Mother – my Grandmother Martha Livingston Buried in Cemetery Frederick Okla – 1909 …9

Would that we could all be remembered, so deeply, so well, so long after we take our final journeys…


  1. Tombstone, Martha L. Livingston, Frederick City Cemetery, Frederick, OK; photographed 2003 by J.G. Russell.
  2. 860 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, p. 315 (stamped), dwelling 829, family 829, Margaret Shoe household; digital image, ( : accessed 9 August 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 5.
  3. edule, Leesburg Post Office, p. 268(A), dwelling 15, family 15, Baird household; digital image, ( : accessed 11 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication M593, roll 7.
  4. 1880 U.S. census, Cherokee County, AL, population schedule, Township 11, Range 8, enumeration district (ED) 27, p. 387(A) (stamped), dwelling 5, family 5, A C Livingston household; digital image, ( : accessed 13 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T9, roll 6.
  5. 1900 U.S. census, Williamson County, TX, population schedule, Justice Precinct 2, enumeration district (ED) 125, p. 117(B) (stamped), sheet 9(B), dwelling 143, family 154, Abija Levingston household; digital image, ( : accessed 13 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, roll 1679.
  6. Affidavit, 12 Oct 1854, patent no. 17,317, final patent date 1 January 1859, in Daniel Shew (Cherokee County, Alabama) land entry file, Lebanon, Alabama, Land Office; Land Entry Files, Alabama; Record Group 49; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  7. Jordan R. Dodd, compiler, “Alabama Marriages, 1809-1920 (Selected Counties) (database on-line),” database, ( : accessed 13 Oct 2011).
  8. Linda Norman Garrison, Tillman County Personals: Abstracts from Frederick, OK Newspapers May 1902-June 1911 (Lawton, Okla. : Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 2009), citing Frederick (Okla.) Enterprise, 16 Apr 1909.
  9. Notes written by Opal (Robertson) Cottrell, c1968, Fluvanna County, Va.; digital image in the possession of J.G. Russell.
Posted in My family | 3 Comments

Is this juror your guy or not?

So you’re sitting there with your court records for the early days of the State of Wisconsin… and you see someone you think is your guy on a list of jurors.

The Legal Genealogist is confident, of course, that you are reading court records, regularly, for evidence of your ancestors, and that you’d be thrilled to find someone you think is your guy on a list of jurors.

But is this guy really your guy, rather than some other guy of the same name?

What clues would you have to look at to help make that determination?

I’m sure it will come as a huge surprise (she sez, tongue tucked firmly into cheek) that one place we always need to look is in the statutes of the day.

And I was poking around in those statutes, again, last night, as I was getting ready to head off for the Gene-A-Rama 2016 of the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, which gets underway in Wausau tomorrow.

And here’s what Wisconsin law said as of 1849.

First, to be a juror, there were things you had to be. By law, you had to be both a citizen of the United States and a “qualified elector of this state.”1 Which, at that time, meant that you had to be a male, age 21 or older, and either white or, if Native American, having “once been declared by law of congress to be (a) citizen” or a “civilized person … of Indian descent” and not a member of any tribe.2

So the guy on the jury list isn’t your guy if, say, he was born in Germany and hadn’t been naturalized yet. Or if he was African American. Or a member of any tribe. Or, of course, if he was 18 or 19 years old.

Second, there were things you couldn’t be, or you’d be exempt from jury service. And there’s a whole laundry list of people who were exempt by law from serving as jurors:

the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary and treasurer of the state, all judges of courts of record, acting commissioners of the board of public works, register and treasurer of the state land office, superintendent of public instruction, clerks of courts, registers of deeds, sheriffs and their deputies, coroners, constables, all officers of the United States, attorneys and counsellors at law, and solicitors and counsellors in chancery, officers of the university, officers of colleges, ministers of the gospel, preceptors and teachers of incorporated academies, one teacher in each common school, practicing physicians and surgeons, one miller to each grist mill, one ferryman to each licensed ferry, all superintendents, engineers and collectors of any canal or railroad authorized by the laws of this state, any portion of which shall be actually constructed and used, all members of companies of firemen organized according to law, all persons more than sixty years of age, and all persons not of sound mind or discretion, and persons subject to any bodily infirmity amounting to any disability ; and all persons shall be disqualified from serving as jurors who have been convicted of any infamous crime.3

So the guy on the jury list isn’t your guy if, say, your guy was 61 years old. Or if he was a clergyman. Or a constable. Or the clerk of a court or a lawyer.

He isn’t your guy if your guy was a fireman, or had any kind of disability, or had ever been convicted of a serious crime.

And he might not be the right guy if your guy was a teacher at a common school or a miller or a ferryman, depending on how many teachers the school had or millers the mill had or ferrymen the ferry had. (And you might look at the census for the county for 1850 to see how many teachers or millers or ferrymen there were to see if your guy might have been exempt…)

In this, as in so many cases, we can get the answers we need — or at least clues to finding those answers — in the laws of the time and the place.


  1. §1, Chapter 97, “Of Grand and Petit Jurors,” in The Revised Statutes of the State of Wisconsin … 1849 (Southport, WI: C. Latham Sholes, 1849), 510; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 6 Apr 2016).
  2. §1, Article III, Wisconsin Constitution of 1848, in ibid. at 9.
  3. §2, Chapter 97, “Of Grand and Petit Jurors,” in ibid. at 510-511.
Posted in Methodology, Resources, Statutes | 4 Comments

Laws to change names

“Oh,” so many people say, “there’s nothing to be found in those old law books that’s worth the effort of finding them.”

“Oh,” The Legal Genealogist hears time and again, “there’s really not going to be any genealogical information in legislative records.”

Oh, of course not…1 Nobody would ever be genealogically interested in the act passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature on the 6th of March in the year 1856.

It had but one section, and it read in its entirety:

That John S. Folds, commonly known as John S. Langrishe, shall hereafter be known in law, and called by the name of John S. F. Langrishe.2

names1That was just one of the statutes to similar effect that The Legal Genealogist came across last night, poking around in older Wisconsin laws in preparation for this weekend’s Gene-A-Rama 2016 of the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society.

On March 1st, the Legislature provided that “the name of Artemus Ewell George shall hereafter be Ewell George Munn, by which name the said person shall be called and known, to all legal intents and purposes.”3 And, that law went on, the child was to be the child and heir-at-law of Romanzo J. Munn and Louisa S. Munn, his wife.4

On March 7th, the Legislature passed a law that “The name of Mrs. Eliza Lucy Allison, of the town of Linn, in the county of Walworth, is hereby changed to Eliza Lucy Van Orden, and the name of James Henry Allison, her infant son, is hereby changed to James Henry Van Orden…”5

That same day, the name of James Thomas Jones, son of Hannah Jones, deceased, was changed to James Thomas Parkinson, and he was made the child and heir-at-law of Daniel M. and Mary F. Parkinson of La Fayette County.6

On March 20th, William Ramminger of Sheboygan became William Reichel.7

On March 22nd, “The name of Harriet Cowles of the town of Baraboo, in the county of Sauk, is hereby changed to Harriet Chapman, and the name of her infant daughter, Mary Emma Virginia Cowles, is hereby changed to Mary Emma Virginia Chapman…”8

On March 27th, John Dress became John Hubing, and the adopted son and heir of Nicholas and Margaret Hubing of Belgium in Ozaukee County.9

That next day, Ella P. Ward became Ella P. Ward Morris and the adopted daughter of Richard L. and Susan A. Morris of Fond du Lac,10 and Salena Richardson became Salena Wilson and the adopted daughter and heir-at-law of Charles and Elizabeth Wilson of Black Earth.11

Shall I do on? I can… In just this one volume, on just that one day — the 28th of March 1856 — the Legislature passed bills whereby:

• Adolphina Frantz of Grafton, in Ozaukee County, became Adolphina Frantz Downs.12

• Eva Viola Keene, daughter of the late Ephriam Keene, became Eva Viola Gill and the child and heir-at-law of Bolivar G. and Sarah S. Gill of Ozaukee County.13

• Elizabeth Van Antwerpen, daughter of Lovina Austin, became Sally Elizabeth Smith and the child and heir-at-law of Benjamin A. and Sally Smith.14

• Adam Jopst became Adam Jefferson.15

• Frank Edward Sherman became Frank Edward Bontello and the heir-at-law of Robert and Mary Bontello.16

• Emanuel Slade of Eagle in Waukesha County became William E. Slade.17

• Fred Elias Webster became Fred Elias Teetshorn and the adopted son and heir-at-law of Horatio N. Teetshorn and wife of Walworth County.18

• The name of Henriette Selsemeier, daughter of Charles Selsemeier and Fredericka Kirchbeck, formerly Selsemeier, was changed to Henriette Kirchbeck and she became the adopted daughter and heir-at-law of Wilhelm and Fredericka Kirchbeck of Herman.19

• George R. Rockwell and Martha H. Percel became George R. Nulph and Martha H. Nulph, the adopted children and heirs-at-law of Moses Nulph and wife of New Buffalo.20

• Frederick Delmot Gregory became Frederick Johnson.21

• Isabella Mary Maynard became Isabella Mary Rollin, and the heir-at-law of Thomas H. Rollin.22

• Philipp Albert became Philipp Hess, and the heir-at-law of John Hess.23

• Frederick Perry became Frederick Judivine.24

• Joseph Prinney became Joseph Johnson.25

• The entire Lewy family changed its named from Lewy to Louis: Jacob, his wife Rosa and their children Mathilda, William and Clara all went from being Lewy to Louis..26

•And three Hoffmans turned into Beckers: Frederick Joseph Hoffman, Matthew John Hoffman and Christine Leonore Hoffman of Milwaukee all changed their surname to Becker.27

• George Smith became George W. Smith, and the heir-at-law of Adam and Harriett Smith of Farmington.28

• Ella Olivia Hawes became Ella Hoffman, and the heir-at-law of Gilbert and Esther Hoffman of Whitewater.29

“Oh, but there’s nothing to be found in those old law books that’s worth the effort of finding them.”

“Oh, but there’s really not going to be any genealogical information in legislative records.”

Oh, of course not…

Unless your ancestor Joseph Prinney disappeared from the records in 1856…


  1. Yes. Yes, indeed. Tongue firmly in cheek.
  2. “An Act to change the name of John S. Folds to John S. F. Langrishe,” Chapter 11, General Acts Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin … 1856 (Madison: Galkins & Proudfit, Printers, 1856), 9; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 5 Apr 2016).
  3. §1, “An Act to change the name of Artemus Ewell George, and to constitute said child an adopted son of R. J. and Louisa S. Munn,” Chapter 14, in ibid., at 18.
  4. Ibid., §2.
  5. §1, “An Act to change the names of Eliza Lucy Allison and James Henry Allison to Eliza Lucy Van Orden and James Henry Van Orden,” Chapter 16, in ibid., at 20.
  6. “An Act to change the name of James Thomas Jones to James Thomas Parkinson, and to constitute the said James Thomas heir-at-law of Daniel M. Parkinson and Mary F. Parkinson, his wife,” Chapter 17, in ibid., at 20-21.
  7. “An Act to change the name of William Ramminger to William Reichel,” Chapter 25, in ibid., at 29.
  8. “An Act to change the name of Harriet Cowles and her infant daughter Mary Emma Virginia Cowles,” Chapter 29, in ibid., at 35.
  9. “An Act to change the name of John Dress, and constitute him the adopted son of Nicholas Hubing and Margaret Hubing,” Chapter 33, in ibid., at 38.
  10. “An Act to change the name of Ella P. Ward to that of Ella P, Ward Morris,” Chapter 34, in ibid., at 38-39.
  11. “An Act to change the name of Salena Richardson to Salena Wilson,” Chapter 37, in ibid., at 41.
  12. “An Act to change the name of Adolphina Frantz to Adolphina Frantz Downs,” Chapter 38, in ibid., at 42.
  13. “An Act to change the name of Eva Viola Keene, to Eva Viola Gill, and to constitute the said Eva Viola, heir-at-law of Bolivar G. Gill and Sarah S. Gill, his wife,” Chapter 44, in ibid., at 47.
  14. “An Act to change this name of Elizabeth Van Antwerp to Sally Smith, and to provide for her as the child and heir-at-law of Benjamin A. Smith and Sally Smith, his wife,” Chapter 46, in ibid., at 49.
  15. “An Act to change the name of Adam Jopst to Adam Jefferson,” Chapter 50, in ibid., at 62.
  16. “An Act to change the name of Frank Edward Sherman to Frank Edward Bontello,” Chapter 57, in ibid., at 67-68.
  17. “An Act to change the name of Emanuel Slade to William E. Slade,” Chapter 58, in ibid., at 68.
  18. “An Act to change the name of Fred Elias Webster to Fred Elias Teetshorn and constitute him the adopted son and heir of Horatio N. Teetshorn,” Chapter 59, in ibid., at 68-69.
  19. “An Act to change the name of Henriette Selsemeier to Henriette Kirchbeck,” Chapter 60, in ibid., at 69.
  20. “An Act to change the name of George R. Rockwell and Martha B. Percel to those of George R. Nulph and Martha H. Nulph,” Chapter 61, in ibid., at 70.
  21. “An Act to change the name of Frederick Delmot Gregory to Frederick Johnson,” Chapter 62, in ibid., at 70-71.
  22. “An Act to change the name of Isabella Mary Maynard to Isabella Mary Rollin, and that the same may be made the heir-at-law of Thomas H. Rollin,” Chapter 63, in ibid., at 71.
  23. “An Act to change the name of Philipp Albert to Philipp Hess, and make him heir-at-law of John Hess,” Chapter 64, in ibid., at 71-72.
  24. “An Act to change the name of Frederick Perry to Frederick Judivine,” Chapter 65, in ibid., at 72.
  25. “An Act to change the name of Joseph Prinney to Joseph Johnson,” Chapter 66, in ibid., at 73.
  26. “An Act to change the names of the persons therein named,” Chapter 67, in ibid., at 73.
  27. “An Act to change the names of the persons therein named,” Chapter 68, in ibid., at 74.
  28. “An Act to change the name of George Smith to George W. Smith, and to authorize his adoption as the child and lawful heir of Adam Smith and Harriett Smith,” Chapter 72, in ibid., at 77.
  29. “An Act to change the name of Ellen Olivia Hawes, to Ella Hoffman, and to constitute her the adopted daughter and heir-at-law of Gilbert Hoffman,” Chapter 105, in ibid., at 107-108.
Posted in Methodology, Resources, Statutes | 10 Comments