Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole - Finding the Estate Papers of John Underhill (1721-1793) of Chester, N.H.

After I responded to an Ancestry message about the Underhill family today, I realized that I had not found probate records for my Underhill families in New Hampshire.  Surely, there must be some!

I struck out trying to find probate records for John Underhill (1745-1816) in Grafton or Sullivan Counties, where he resided and was buried, respectively, so I went next to John Underhill (1721-1793) of Chester in Rockingham County, New Hampshire.  I grabbed the bright shiny records here!

Here is the research process I used, in hopes that it will help other researchers work in these "Browse images" records on FamilySearch.

1)  On the "FamilySearch Historical Record Collections" page (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/list), I put "new hamp" in the Filter field and thel ist of New Hampshire records was presented:

There are two Probate record collections, one for County Probate Estate Files (i.e., the complete probate estate file) and the County Probate Records (i.e., the probate court clerk volumes).  I'm going to search for the Estate Files first because those may be more complete.

2)  Here is the record collection page for the "New Hampshire County Probate Estate Files, 1769-1936."

There are 877,366 images in this collection.  I always get a laugh in my presentations when I say "that should take a day or two to look through."

3)  Of course, the records are "Waypointed" into Counties.  I clicked on the "Browse through 877,366 images" link and saw the list of counties with records in this collection:

Whew - Rockingham County is one of the four counties listed.

4)  I clicked on "Rockingham" and saw the list of "volumes" available for the County:

There is a set of estate Case Indexes, so I'm going to click on the one that might contain Underhill - the "Case Index Stevens, P. - Young, W., 1771-1869.

5)  There were 2,450 images in this volume, but they were very nicely alphabetized, so I easily found John Underhill who died in 1793 in Chester on image 1062.

The key information on the card image above is the Case number - #5922.

6)  Now I can go back to the list of Rockingham County volumes, and select the "Case No. 5921-6015, 1793-4" volume.  

Since Case 5922 is the second case in the volume, I easily found the start of the John Underhill case file on image 22 of 1041:

There were only 6 images in this case file, including the handwritten will with John Underhill's signature.  Here is image 26 of 1041 with the start of the will:

The source citation provided by FamilySearch for the will page above is:

"New Hampshire, County Probate Estate Files, 1769-1936," images,  FamilySearch   (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32631-21287-72?cc=2040042&wc=M7MT-FM9:383109101,383166901 : accessed 25 August 2015), Rockingham > Case no 5921-6015 1793-1794 > image 26 of 1041; county courthouses, offices of register of probate, and historical societies, New Hampshire.

7)  I downloaded all of the papers in this Case File #5922, and renamed them as:


and changing the image number as required.

I saved these six images in my file folder for:

/My Documents/Genealogy/Ancestor Files/> Family History > Carringer-Smith-Auble-Kemp > Underhill > John Underhill + Joanna Healey > Documents 

8)  Now I can transcribe the probate papers to squeeze as much information as I can about this record for my sixth great-grandfather.  My hope is that it mentions the children of my fifth-great-grandfather, John Underhill (1745-1816), but I don't hold much hope for that!  And I will put the transcription in my Amanuensis Monday series in the future.

9)  I'm glad I went after this bright shiny probate record and spent an hour going down this rabbit hole.

As I've pointed out before, if I had done this five years ago, I would have had to go to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to do it (costing money and spending an hour of time), or, alternatively, ordered at least three microfilms at the local FamilySearch Library (costing some money and spending two to three months to find the record.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/08/down-rabbit-hole-finding-estate-papers.html

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.

1 comment:

kathy said...

Thank you this was very helpful. I immediately followed the instructions and within 5 minutes had the probate record for my 4x great grandfather who I just posted about using the agriculture census as the topic for the 52 week challenge. Looking forward to looking for more probate records.