Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Knapp Entries in Probate Records for Dutchess County, New York - Post 1: Will Books

I haven't done a lot of work on my elusive William Knapp (1775-1856) recently.  He was born in Dutchess County, New York according to his death record in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey.  William Knapp married Sarah Cutter in Woodbridge, New Jersey in about 1804, and had 11 children between 1805 and 1831.

I don't know who his parents were, although one of the Knapp books says they were Shubael and Rebecca (Mead) Knapp, and that William was born in 1786 (which doesn't match other age data from the 1850 U.S. census and the death record).

My To-Do list includes searching for potential parents in New York probate records, so I spent several hours doing that today.

1)  I went into FamilySearch and found the New York Probate Records, 1629-1971 collection in the list of historical records.  This is a "Browse Only" collection, so I clicked on the link to "Browse through 14,045,812 images."  That opened the list of Counties that are in this collection:

2)  Dutchess County is on the list.  Here is the top of the list of books or volumes available for Dutchess County:

There are several record collections on this list that might have records that name my William Knapp as the son of a Knapp father or mother, including:

*  General Index, 1721-1862, and Ancient Documents, 1721-1862 (in voulmes by document number)

*  Will Index, 1790-1905, plus Will Books from 1796-1903.

*  Probates, 1793-1868 in packet number order (I don't see an index).

*  Letters of administration and testamentary, 1787-1865

These were all included in the Family History Library Catalog for Dutchess County, New York.

It may take me some time to explore all of these, so I'll report on my first foray now and report on the rest later.

3)  I chose to look at the "Will Index, 1790-1905" collection first, since that has the most promise of a Knapp naming a son William Knapp. 

I found the K surnames in the Will Index, and saved them to my computer:

I figured that William's parents must have died by 1862 (if he was born in 1775, then the parents were born before 1760, and doubt that they lived to over 102).

The "likely candidates" from the list are:

*  Benjamin Knapp, 1788, Volume A, page 474
*  Israel Knapp, 1797, Volume B, page 49
*  Nehemiah Knapp, 1806, Volume C, page 600
*  Phineas Knapp, 1812, Volume E, page 217
*  Elizah Knapp, 1822, Volume G, page 336
*  William X. Knapp, 1852, Volume R, page 240
*  Asa Knapp, 1852, Volume R, page 242
*  Isaac Knapp, 1859, Volume U, page 268
*  Amos T. Knapp, 1862, Volume V, page 71

Those are fairly easy to find and save and read, and I've worked through the first five of them, which are, in my estimation, the most likely candidates from this collection.  I'll check the rest of them in the days ahead.

4)  For example, the Will of Nehemiah Knapp in 1806 in Volume C, page 600 looks like this (one screen shown, full will on three pages):

The will of Nehemiah Knapp named his wife Jane, his two sons Isaac Knapp and Enos Knapp, and his daughter Abigail Hill in the will.  He also named several grandsons, but none were a William Knapp.

5)  Unfortunately, I did not find a reference in the ones I checked for William Knapp as an heir in the wills.  So I can cross those that I have checked out off my list of potential parents.

It could be that there is a probate packet for more Knapps that did not have wills, and there is the Probate packet collection to investigate further, plus the Letters Testamentary collection and the Ancient documents collection.

That was a fun excursion into these probate records, but it was fruitless as far as finding parents for William Knapp (1775-1856).  However, I was able to eliminate five possible Knapp families from my target list.

I will look in the Probate Packets files next.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Previous blog posts about this problem include:

*  My Elusive Ancestor - William Knapp (1775-1856) (9 October 2006)
*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County NY - Post 1: The 1790 U.S. Census (14 December 2011)
*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County - Post 2: The "Nicholas Knapp Genealogy" (15 December 2011)

*  Follow-Up Friday - The William Knapp Search (16 December 2011)
*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County - Post 3: Given Names of the Children

*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County - Post 4: Knapps in the Settlers of the Beekman Patent


goneresearching said...


It really helps to review the FHL catalog entries to get a better understanding of the digitized probate items on the website -- what goes with what and what isn't digitized yet but can be ordered.

For the Dutchess County Probate collections online, the index titled "General index 1721-1862 no 1-15181" is for the Ancient Documents. Note that some of these were filmed backwards so the digitized version is backward too meaning not 1, 2, 3 but 3, 2, 1.

The index "General index 1751-1934" is the overall index for testate AND intestate probates. This is the index that gives you all the info -- if a probate packets (loose papers) exist it gives the number, book and page numbers to letter of admin or test, inventory, guardianship etc. This is the index to use -- the will book index you used doesn't give you have of the information clues that may exist.


goneresearching said...

ALSO, If you are having problems be sure to check the known issues/problems wiki.

New York Probates

New York Land

The Main Known Issues Page with Alphabetical Listing of Collections