Don’t Ignore Subpoenas

You shouldn’t ignore subpoenas in your genealogical research even though most times there’s not much information on them. From the standpoint of trying to “find and connect” people subpoenas can be helpful. An 1830-era court case in Virginia involved the heirs to an estate probated in the 1810s. The subpoenas were issued to the heirs and they were directed to the county sheriff in the county where the person was believed to be living at the time the court action was initiated.

The counties where the subpoenas were directed were residential clues and told me where the heirs were living in the 1830s. That was helpful in tracking migrations from Virginia and confirming where the heirs had lived. That information was just as helpful as what was actually in the court case.

Don’t just ignore subpoenas as legal paperwork. Sometimes they contain the biggest clues of all.