26 October 2014

Estate Publication Notices Provide Residential Clues

Publication notices of estate settlements are one of those items that researchers sometimes overlook as "routine paperwork."

That can be a mistake.

I know where Andrew Trask lived in Mercer County, Illinois, at the time of his death. But if I had not known where he lived, the places within the county where the notice of the final settlement were posted could have been a clue as to the general area where he lived within the county.
Estate of Andrew Trask, Mercer County, Illinois, Probate case files, file 1475, box 1490, 
Affidavit of Publication and Posting of Notice, filed 19 April 1886, 
Circuit Clerk's Office, Aledo; digital image, FamilySearch (http//www.familysearch.org), accessed 26 October 2014.
The notices were posted at:

  • Ed Crosby's Store in Viola
  • Post Office in Norwood
  • Wray's Drug Store in Cable
  • County Clerk's office
The County Clerk's Office seems like a logical place to place any probate notice, so it's difficult to draw any residential clue from that. The other villages, however, are in the eastern end of Mercer County and it would be reasonable to conclude that Andrew lived in that portion of the county.

This information would have been helpful if Andrew had not owned real estate and his estate at his death had only consisted of personal property. The locations given in the publication notice may have been the only item in the probate record that suggested his residence.

Everything is a clue.