What’s in Issue 4-19

Issue 4-19 discusses a petition to appoint an administrator with the will annexed in Illinois in 1877:

Administrator with the Will Annexed

Apparently Mimke left a valid will that was admitted to probate, but no executor was appointed to oversee the execution of that will. It could be that Mimke’s will either did not nominate an executor or that the one nominated was unable or unwilling to act. Antje’s petition does not provide any additional specifics—it does not need to address those specifics. Usually administrators of an estate perform their duties and disburse property according to current statute.

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Making a Chronology of What Eliza Jane Said in 1892


Part of our analysis in this issue included a chronology of statements made by Eliza Jane Ramsey in her 1892 affidavit in support of her widow’s pension based upon her husband’s service in the Mexican War. There’s more to the analysis than that chronology, but it’s a good organizational tool all the same.

Year Event
About 1795 Harrison Ramsey born.
Before Mexican War Harrison Ramsey’s first wife (unnamed) died.
1846 Harrison and Andrew Ramsey work in the Galena, Illinois, mines.
1847 Harrison and Andrew Ramsey enlist in Mexican War.
During Mexican War Andrew Ramsey died.
1854 Harrison Ramsey meets Eliza Jane.
1855 Harrison Ramsey marries Eliza Jane.
1858 Harrison Ramsey dies.
1892 Eliza Jane Ramsey makes out an affidavit in support of her widow’s pension claim.

A New Guardian

Issue 4-17 discusses a guardianship appointment where the previous guardian’s appointment is revoked. Here’s part of the document we analyzed:

This day on evidence to the Court, and the court being advised in the premises, and it appearing that George Fennan who has been appointed by this Court Guardian of Franzise Bieger aged 5 years on the 27th day of January last, and of Louise Bieger aged 1 year on the 27th day of May last, and also administrator of the estate of Peter Bieger decd of this state he is hereby removed from his said office

Father and Heir-at-Law (from issue 4-16)

Part of issue 4-16 (discussing a land patent issued based upon a surrendered land warrant):

Father and Heir at Law

Harrison Ramsey is styled in the patent as the “Father and heir at Law” of Andrew Ramsey. The reference to Harrison as an heir-at-law of Andrew suggests that Andrew had no children. Heirs-at-law are individuals who inherit from a deceased person based on the rules of intestate succession as defined in contemporary state statute (individuals potentially mentioned in a will are legatees or beneficiaries—not heirs-at-law). Had Andrew had living descendants at the time of his death…

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Exhaustive Searches that are Practical

We give recommendations for future research every time a document is analyzed in Casefile Clues. Those suggestions are based only on what the document discussed in the issue contains. This helps us to maintain our focus on the one document and the understanding of it.

I try and not bring in what I may know about the family from other records. Sometimes that is difficult, but I feel it’s important to helping people see how to analyze and interpret records.  It’s sort of “cheating” if suggestions are based on things I know that are in no way stated in the record.

We also try and be as practical as possible in our suggestions. It would be easy to say “look for everything,” particularly in research situations in the United States before 1850. That’s not always possible and some records suggest looking for certain other records first–either because those records are mentioned specifically in the record being analyzed or they are implied based upon statements made in the record. It’s just a question of choosing where to “followup.” Cost and access are other issues that are considered as well.

We try and suggest the most reasonable searches in our “going forward” section and leave it at that instead of giving readers an extremely long list of every possible record to look at. That’s because usually those records will suggest other materials and give the researcher additional direction.

Our search suggestions on following up to individual records are not usually exhaustive. Not because exhaustive searches are not important, but because our philosophy in record analysis is to focus on one record.