Kinsearching June 18, 2006




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Prolific genealogical author V. L. Skinner, Jr., continues to cull information from the 17th-century probate records from the Old Line State with the completion of the fourth and fifth volumes of his new series ABSTRACTS OF THE TESTAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF MARYLAND. VOLUME IV concerns the years 1677 - 1682 and 1702 - 1704 and pertains to material taken from Libers 9A (372 - 524), 9B, 10, 11, 12A, and 12B. VOLUME V concerns the years 1682 - 1686 and deals with data taken from Liber 13 (Folios 1 - 432).

     Staffed by a judge and various clerks, the Prerogative Court was the focal point for probate in colonial Maryland. All probate matters went directly to the court, which was located in Annapolis, the colonial capital. Although administration of probate was delegated eventually to the county courts, documents related to probate continued to be filed at the Prerogative Court.

     In addition, the Prerogative Court was the colonial court for equity cases. These dealt with the resolution of disputes over the settlement and distribution of estates. Sometimes these cases dragged on for several years.

     Skinner has combed through administration, bond, will, inventory, administration account, and final balance entries to produce this collection of abstracts. The material is arranged in chronological order by court session. Although facts vary from record to record, the data usually furnish the names of the principals involved (testators, heirs, witnesses, and administrators, for example), and details such as the bequests, names of slaves, and appraisers. VOLUME V alone refers to approximately 8,000 people. Because evidence of the existence of some individuals and their activities may not be available in other records, genealogists with roots in the Old Line State may find some "missing" links in the rich accumulation of information in ABSTRACTS OF THE TESTAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF MARYLAND.

     Both VOLUME IV (containing 297 pages) and VOLUME V (with 275 pages) have soft covers and full name indexes. Each costs $29.50. To the price of the books, buyers should add the charges for postage and handling. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. VOLUME IV (item order #9893) and VOLUME V (item order #9894) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     The 32nd annual reunion of descendants of the STAUDT/STOUDT/STOUT family, which immigrated to America in 1733, will occur on August 13, 2006, at Umbenhauer's Park in Bernville, PA. For more details, get in touch with Beulah Stoudt Follmer, 1610 Crowder Avenue, Shillington, PA 19607 (phone 610-777-4814) or e-mail Mr. Kim Stout at

     If you are tracing ancestors in the Upper New River Valley of North Carolina and Virginia, you will be interested in the New River Notes website, which began in 1998. A map on the website shows the counties on which you can click for genealogical and historical information. If you click on Montgomery County, Virginia, for instance, you will find data on the Lester Cemetery, the 1782 personal property tax list, minutes of the Christiansburg Presbyterian Church for the years 1859 - 1871, family genealogies, regional photographs, biographies, demographics, education, various historical files, and much more.

     Other counties included on the website are Alleghany, Ashe, Johnson, Surry, Watagua, Wilkes, and Yadkin in North Carolina and Bland, Carroll, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Patrick, Pulaski, Roanoke, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, and Wythe in Virginia. The wide variety of resources on this area can be found at http://www/