Sunday, May 22, 2011

Digitized Treasures

On May 9, released two collections that include wills, records of estates, and guardianships recorded in many South Carolina counties.  Many, many thanks to Cousin Brenda White for alerting me to this release. 

Folks, this is really BIG!!!

This week I have discovered much treasure, all available right here at my desk.  It has been a thrilling week! 

Here are links to these gold mines: 

Although the inclusive dates span a larger range, most of the records in these collections fall between the year 1800 through 1930.

These are not simply transcripts of wills, but images of the original estate records.  

Click here for a detailed description as well as some guidance on finding, using, and sourcing these records.

I must alert you that finding records on your ancestors will not be a matter of entering a name in a search engine and having the record pop up.  These records are not tied to a search engine.  It required a lot of looking around, discovering how the indexes on microfilm work, and a lot of hit and miss.  But the effort is definitely worth it!

I am glad to tell you, however, that Barnwell County records in the Files and Loose Papers were the easiest to find, in my opinion.  A tip about the index available (click here to see the index):  Pages 1-6 are headers; pages 7-65 seem to be wills only; pages 66-184 are wills, estate administrations, and guardianships.  Pages 185 to end seem to be a duplicate of pages 66-184.   (If you find out differently, please let me know.)

When you find a person on the index whom you want to look up, jot down the date(s), number of package, and number of case.  In Barnwell County, the case number will be the "bundle" number on the microfilm.

Armed with these notes, go to "Probate Court, Cases" and then click on "1787-1958."  You will see a ranges of numbers (click here to see).  These numbers are case/bundle numbers.  

Important to note is that the case numbers go only through 170.  Case numbers larger than that are not available at this time in this section.  (I really do hope they are made available in the future!  However, it is hard to be too disappointed, considering what has been made available.) 

Pick your appropriate range.  For example, Samuel Reed's will is bundle 42, pkg1, the easiest one I found because it was the first one in that range.  For others, it's a matter of fishing around, looking at dates, and getting lucky enough to find a page with the beginning of a package which looks similar to this:

From one of these pages you can tell easily whether you need to go forwards or backwards in your search. 

That's the best I can explain it for you at this point.  It becomes sort of a game - certainly a challenge!

If you get really stuck finding someone, please leave me a comment here, and I'll be happy to see what I can do to help.  

Now, for the really good stuff.  Here are links that will take you straight to wills, estate administrations, guardianships, and other information I have found so far: 

Samuel Reed, 1751-1823 (Husband of Mary Clark)

John Reed, 1792-1851 (Son of Samuel & Mary) John Reed was my 3gGF.  Now, for the first time, I have a correct death date for him rather than the "abt 1855" we've always had!

Hugh Reed, 1783-1854 (Son of Samuel & Mary)
Samuel Reed, Jr., 1795-1847 (Son of Samuel & Mary)
Samuel J. Reed, 1826-1862 (Son of Samuel Jr. and Elizabeth Boylston Reed)
George J. Reed, 1812-1857 (Son of Hugh & Jane McSpeddon Reed) (indexed as George I. Reed, but it is actually George J.)

Major Benjamin Odom, 1758-1822 (My 4gGF, Father of Emelia Odom and Julia Odom, wives of John Reed) 
Jesse Holman, 1792-1816 (First husband of Lavisa Reed 1794-1837, daughter of Samuel & Mary)
David Hair, 1791-1843 (Second husband of Lavisa Reed 1794-1837, daughter of Samuel & Mary)  These records include all the fees for the care of his children with Lavisa after his death. 
Guardianship of Henry Hair, (only son of David Hair with second wife Narcissa) Guardianship with his mother Narcissa H. Hair during which time Narcissa married William Stanyarne Johnson

George F. Hartzog, d 1855 (Husband of Eleanor “Nellie” Reed 1810-?, daughter of Samuel & Mary)
George F. Hartzog, 1812-1843 (First husband of Rebecca Kennerly Hartzog Reed, wife of George I. Reed.  This is not the George F. Hartzog who married Eleanor “Nellie” Reed.)
Henry Barnard Hartzog, 1791-1856 (husband of Rebecca Reed 1798-1871, daughter of Samuel & Mary)

Guardianship of Levicey I. Hartzog, Et Al. (Children of Henry Bernard Hartzog, 1791-1856, and Rebecca Reed)  Here is a page with information about Eleanor Reed Hartzog and her ward Levicey (daughter of her husband George F. Hartzog) that got mixed in with this set.
James Alexander Reed, 1859-1909 (Son of James W. Reed & Anna Rebecca Tyler) – will only
Daniel Hair, 1793-1846 (Father of 1- Louvisa Clementine “Clemmie” Hair who married John Wiley Reed and 2- Isaiah Hair who married Julia F. Reed.  Wiley and Julia Reed were children of John Reed, son of Samuel & Mary.)  Here is a page for Daniel's estate that got mixed up in David Hair's estate.

Henry B. Sanders, 1808-1835 (First husband of Narcissa H who next married David Hair and by whom she had a son named Jarvis)
William Stanyarne Johnson, 1799-1859 (Husband of Narcissa Hair after David Hair’s death)  p 632- image 326 – middle of left page

William Beard, 1784-1851 (My 3gGF, father of Thomas Beard, grandfather of Nan Jerusha Beard who married John William Cook Reed)
William McMillan Chitty, 1798-1850 (My 3gGF, father of Catherine Chitty Beard, grandfather of Nan Jerusha Beard who married John William Cook Reed)

Jacob Cook, 1780-1861 (My 3gGF, father of William Cook, grandfather of Mary A. Cook who married James Henry Reed)
John Canady, Sr., 1750-1822 (My 4gGF, 1gGF of Mary A. Cook who married James Henry Reed)
John Canady, Jr., 1780-1851 (My 3gGF, grandfather of Mary A. Cook who married James Henry Reed)


  1. They mentioned the addition of these records at NGS Charleston, but until I saw your post I had not taken a look. Checked out some for Greenville - second batch I looked at concerned an "allied family." Oh my - I know how I am going to be spending a lot of time....

  2. Oh, yeah, Greta! This is one of the most amazing "finds" I've run across yet! Some counties are much easier than others. Once you figure out how a county "works," it's easier from there. Have fun!

  3. It seems that the links for both
    Samuel Reed, 1751-1823 and John Reed, 1792-1851 are the same, and neither work.... ?

  4. Kira, thank you so much for letting me know about the problem! I think I have it fixed now. Try again.

    And please let me know if you find any more link problems.