Estate settlements of relatives who died without children often provide the names of their heirs and can be used to confirm family relationships that may not be evidenced in other records. Pay close attention to the individual appointed to administrate the estate–if there is no will. That individual may also be a relative. Sometimes the last name is a dead give away that there is a connection, but that’s not always the case.
Michael Trautvetter died in Illinois in 1869 with no children and no spouse. His siblings and some nephews and nieces were his heirs. The name of the administrator meant nothing to me, but it turned out that the administrator’s wife was a niece of Michael. The maiden name of the administrator’s wife was not an immediate clue either because she was the daughter of Michael’s sister with her first husband–another name I did not have.
Don’t ignore the names of estate administrators. Sometimes they are not related–but sometimes they are.