During the time period when women had few legal rights, it’s worth remembering to look at the men who end up overseeing their affairs in one way or another.
Always pay close attention to the person who was appointed to be the administrator of the estate of a man who died with a wife and young children. If the person is not clearly a relative of the deceased individual, it very likely is a biological relative of the wife–or perhaps her second husband.
And if there is a will and the wife is appointed executor, look carefully at who signed her bond. Those bondsmen were often relatives of the widow.