Why all Heirs were not listed in Wills by Jeannette Holland Austin

Everyone gets really frustrated with some of these last wills and testaments because they do not always list all of the heirs. This is because portions were given earlier and the place to look for that is in the deed records. They are called Deeds of Gift and the language usually reads For Love and Affection.... or it could read for $1. It is understandable that one who has lived to an old age might parcel off his property, such as slaves and land, many years before his actual death. All that is left at time is to give the wife the homeplace for her lifetime, then to a son or daughter. Another reason why all children are not named is the children either died prematurely or moved off into another state and not kept in touch. The latter tends to so often be the situation because as the old family seat breaks up, the children disperse into other areas looking for better land. They obtain land grants and draw in lotteries so this is how we chase them down. The daughters' portions went to their husbands, so any names in the will or estate papers are suspect. I usually cross-check these names in marriage records.

Jeannette Holland Austin, Georgia Author of Genealogy Books

Georgia County Records (digital images) wills, estates, marriages

Join us on Twitter