When There Shouldn’t Be a Record

For years, early in my research when I did not know better, I failed to look for a probate file for an ancestor because he was “dirt poor.” I knew you needed to have money (at least most of the time) in order to have a probate settlement.

However several years into my research, I became a firm believer in the “look for anything and everything” camp. That’s why I looked for a probate file for my “dirt poor” ancestor.

And there he was in the probate records two times. How can you die twice and have two probate settlements?

Turns out for the time period in question, insanity cases were filed with the probate and estate records. It was two insanity cases I had located for him, not probate cases. If I had never looked in estate files, I never would have found out information about his insanity hearings.