Check for Court Records Well After They “Left”

Individuals can be referenced in the court records of their “home county” or area long after they have left. James Tinsley left the Amherst/Bedford County area of Virginia around 1800 when he and his family headed for Kentucky. He played a part in a lawsuit in Amherst County, Virginia, that was eventually settled in 1841 and filed for record around that time–40 years after he left the state.

In 1822 he made out a power-of-attorney to Robert Tinsley (his brother, but the relationship is not stated in the document) to deal with the case involving property Tinsley acquired from members of the Rucker family. Other documents in the case clarify Tinsley’s relationship to the Rucker family, clearly indicate who his wife’s father was, and who several of Tinsley’s brothers were.

Don’t assume that your relative won’t be mentioned in court records because he had left the area. Estate matters can take place years after someone leaves and, in some cases, can take years to be settled–perhaps after the migrating family member has died and their own heirs (who never even lived in the area) are mentioned in subsequent materials.

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