Kinsearching October 22, 2006




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

      The latest addition to the new series by V. L. Skinner, Jr. is ABSTRACTS OF THE TESTAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF MARYLAND, VOLUME VI: 1686 - 1689, 1692 - 1693, LIBERS: 13 (FOLIOS 433 - 519), 14, 14A, AND 15A. This publication refers to approximately 8,000 17th-century Marylanders.

     Staffed by a judge and clerks, the Prerogative Court was the focal point for probate proceedings in colonial Maryland. All probate matters went directly to the court, located in the colonial capital of Annapolis. Administration of probate was later delegated to the county courts, but many documents related to probate were still filed at the Prerogative Court instead of in the appropriate county. Documents filed in the court include administration bonds, wills, inventories, administration accounts, final balances, and summonses (for administrators who were lax in filing documents).

     Between July 1689 and June 1692, the court did not function due to the Glorious Revolution in England. (The revolution ended the reign of the Catholic king James II and brought in his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange to rule.) When the court reconvened, the Registrar was ordered to instruct the counties to bring in the probate documents they had obtained during this period and to furnish a list of outstanding estates. Because of this lapse of several years, however, some documents may not have been forwarded. If researchers cannot find information in Prerogative Court data, they may want to check for records at the county level.

     The Prerogative Court was also the colonial court for equity cases, which dealt with the resolution of disputes over the settlement and distribution of estates. Sometimes the cases dragged on for several years. Since depositions were often taken, they were recorded in the minutes.

     As in the previous volumes, Skinner arranges material in chronological order by court session. Although details may differ from entry to entry, the data generally supply the names of the principals involved (testators, heirs, witnesses, and administrators, for example), and facts such as the bequests and the names of appraisers and slaves. Because evidence of the existence of early inhabitants and their activities may not be available elsewhere, genealogists tracing forebears in the Old Line State will want to see what the treasure trove of information in ABSTRACTS OF THE TESTAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF MARYLAND, VOLUME VI: 1686 - 1689, 1692 - 1693, LIBERS: 13 (FOLIOS 433 - 519), 14, 14A, AND 15A has to offer them.

     The work has 289 pages, soft covers, an introduction, and a full name index. To the book's price of $29.50, 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 VI (item order #9983) 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

     If you have researched in German records, you are aware that spelling patterns of the language have changed over the years. If you are familiar with the general rules of pronunciation, you may be able to guess at alternative spellings. For examples of common spelling variations, go to the website at

     Charles N. Ferguson, 811 South Market, Shawnee, OK 74801 is seeking information about the following persons who appear on the 1910 census of Wise Co., TX:
Charley L. LOCKE, white, male, age 23, b. in TX, parents b. in AL
Myrtle LOCKE, white, female, age 17, b. in OK, father b. in TX, mother b. in OK
Willie E. LOCKE, son, white, male, age 1, b. in TX, father b. in TX, mother b. in OK
Mattie DAVENPORT, sister-in-law, white, female, age 15, b. in OK, father b. in TX, mother b. in OK