Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index by: Carol Willsey Bell
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Carol Bell is, arguably, the most influential genealogist of the last generation. Prior to her retirement, she wrote, compiled, or edited numerous books and magazine articles on various aspects of Ohio genealogy, including the acclaimed Ohio Guide to Genealogical Sources. By special arrangement with Mrs. Bell, Clearfield Company is delighted to make available to the genealogy community one of her most important works, Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index
Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index began as the brainchild of Anita Short, editor of the short-lived periodical, "Gateway to the West: Ohio," who originally published some of the records found in Ohio Wills and Estates in magazine format. Following Mrs. Short's exodus from genealogy, Carol Bell took on the project to compile a statewide index to all extant inheritance records in Ohio. The author traveled to court houses throughout the Buckeye State in order to compile her index. She also enlisted a contingent of volunteers to assist with the indexing of inheritance records, which prior to 1852 were filed with the Courts of Common Pleas, in still other Ohio counties. Her remarkable publication, the culmination of a 10-year project, was the end result of that concerted effort.
Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index is probably the most important single book on early Ohio genealogy, for it references no fewer than 72,000 testators named in the will and estate records for all Ohio counties up to the year 1850. Since will records are the richest source of family relationships, researchers can use this index to access a potential treasure trove of information concerning their families.
Each index entry gives the name of the person referenced, the nature of the record (will or estate), the year of the record, the county where the record is filed, and the source of the original record wherein more information may be found. In addition to the index itself, researchers will find a list of abbreviations used in the entries, a glossary of terms common to inheritance records, and a county-by-county breakdown of inheritance record holdings and the individuals responsible for indexing them for the publication.
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