Did Your Ancestor Go Missing?

People disappear without a trace for a variety of reasons. That’s a different kind of “missing” that is more than simply being unable to find them in records. If your relative disappeared–either intentionally or as the victim of some type of crime–newspaper accounts or court records may provide additional detail. If the relative just up and left, there may be divorce records as well. It’s also possible that some reference to the disappearance may be mentioned in probate records for an estate in which the missing person was an heir.

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2 thoughts on “Did Your Ancestor Go Missing?

  1. Jade

    The husband of one of my cousins disappeared some 30 years before her death. She made a will bequeathing money to her eldest daughter and devising her real estate to her other three children. In Court proceedings on the will, the four children claimed that the husband had not been heard from after he left. If he was living or had other heirs, the will would have been invalidated and my cousin’s estate would have been treated as an intestate estate, and the land would have been divided between all four children. The complaint concerning the will explained that the eldest daughter was not child of the husband and that the cousin’s land had been partly devised to her in fee simple by her parents and partly purchased separately by her. The Court decided to probate the will as written, letting it stand as dividing the land between the three devisees instead of between all four of the cousin’s children.

    So it was to the advantage of the three children of the husband to assert that they did not know what had become of their father, regardless whether this was true or not. No one else testified as to a different explanation of what happened, and the Court accepted the children’s account. I have not found evidence of what became of the disappeared husband . . . .

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  2. Paula Perry

    One of my husbands relatives in 1870’s not only has a different name, when he gets to Texas, but the census states he was born in Illinois (even though his parents never left Tennessee). All other facts match.

    I finally found a Tennessee history page with a antecedent told by a step-sister. It seems he came to Texas because of a misunderstanding with the law (he was of course innocent). When he got here he was afraid someone would notice a family resemblence, if they knew he was from Tennessee, so he gave his birthplace as somewhere none of his family had every been near.

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