14 March 2010

Moving forward with Probate Court Indices

I recently discovered that Lexington County, South Carolina has some of their probate records online. They have estate record indices and some marriage record indices. One great find was a listing for my Great-Great-Grandmother, Ida Leaphart Hyler (Mack's mom).

Leaphart Estate Index - Lexington County, SC Ida is listed along with her brothers, Wade and Pierce, on an index of estate records. The information includes their names, their appointed guardian (W C Jumper), and the box and parcel listing for the information. There is no date listed. A bit further up the page is a listing for F E Leaphart, whose estate was administered by William T Jumper. I have been told that Ida's dad was Frank E Leaphart - this is most probably him. Again, no date is listed and the box for his listing in a will book is blank. Does this mean he didn't leave a will - or is it just not listed? Also, W C Jumper just might be the same person as William T Jumper.

So, what now? I'm not sure what information might be included with these records, but I hope that they may be helpful to my research. I guess I should contact the probate court to find out. The contact information listed on the website include a phone number and an address. I would prefer an email address, but no such luck. When having to decide between written and oral communication, I choose written every time. So, I guess I need to write a letter. But what to say?

I remembered that probate court records were addressed in a past issue of Family Tree Magazine. Ok, here it is in the September 2008 issue. They have a sample letter for requesting court records. Let's reformat that letter to fit my information....

To the Probate Court Clerk:

I am seeking the estate records of F E Leaphart, as listed in the estate index records placed on your website. The records are stated to be held in Box 17, Parcel 3.

I am also seeking the estate records of Wade, Pierce and Ida Leaphart, listed in the same index. The records are stated to be held in Box 61, Parcel 1.

I have included a copy of this index.

I am enclosing a check for $15 to cover the cost of photocopying the entirety of the documents. If this is insufficient, please let me know the cost, and I will be happy to send the remainder.

Thank you for your assistance. I am enclosing a self-addressed, stamped envelope for your reply.

Name and Contact Info

I think this sounds good. This is the first time that I'll be sending off for records that didn't have a form letter designed for requests. I know that there are researchers out there who have experience with this sort of thing. Any suggestions or advice?


Joan said...

I just requested and received 2 sets of Keyes probate records from Oregon State Archives. There is one hitch, both records appear to be up to 100 pages in length. $10 each for the first 10 pages was ok, but at $1/page thereafter ---- hmmm. I think I need to make a trip to the archives.

Good hunting, Valerie.

Sheri Fenley said...

Hi Ruby and Valerie!

Great blog, however, may I make one tiny - eensty-weensty suggestion? Change the color of the font to somerhing darker? Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to read.

I love your blog especially this post on probate records. Next to land records they are my favorite to research!

Please don't be mad about my suggestion. It is just an observation and it's probably just me anyway.

Sheri Fenley


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