Lineage Search: County Clerk

You are seeking lineage search information? No better place to look than the office of the county clerk. We know marriage records are in the county clerk's office, but we tend to forget about probate records. These records include wills and estates, guardianships. Divorce cases and other civil court actions are in the clerk's office.

You can request copies of the marriage records. In the 1800s' you will find little more than the names of the bride and groom. If either party was under the age of 21 years then a male parent or guardian had to consent to the marriage. I have seen a few where the mother gave her consent.

In the northern states only consent was required. In the southern states a bond had to be posted no matter what the age and again it was usually a male member of the family or guardian.

At the start of the 20th Century, marriage applications were put into existence. The additional information contained on the application are the birth dates of parties filling out the application and where they reside. Also asks if either party has been married before. If previously married, how did it end, was it by death or divorce. The name of parents of each party, and were the parents alive at the time of this marriage, where did the parents live.

The probate records are filled with ancestor search information. In estates you will find the date of death and place of your ancestor. Name of surviving spouse, the names of all the children. Should there have been a second marriage, then it usually shows which marriage the children were from first or second marriage.

You will find a form that is listed as "The Inventory". This is where you will find the personal property owned by the decendant. If the deceased own any stocks or bonds, also any and all real estate that your ancestor may have owned. Personal items are listed and are quite interesting read. The inventory lists each item and if it is to be a gift or to be sold.

Should your ancestor have owned say a 500 acre farm, then it could be broken up, by giving parcels to each one of the children. The farm could also be sold and the proceeds divided between all the heirs. The inventory is very interesting to read. Hope you read as many as you can get your hands on.

In your lineage search, you may come across a divorce or two, maybe even a civil action where your ancestor sued his neighbor or vice versus. Yes, back in the 1800s' and earlier times divorce action was taken. You can read the docket, which list each document filed, every appearance in court and the final decree. You can read most of the older court actions on microfilm. Also may copy these documents for your files.

When I first started working on my genealogy, my cousin was accompanying me and sometimes she drove us to places to research that she knew about and I did not. While I was in the county clerk's office in another county, I was looking for information on one of my lines, but ran across a divorce on my cousin's maternal great grandparents. I copied the information and gave it to her.

Keep on working on your lineage search, you never know what you will find.

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