Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Search for Isaac’s Will

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Part of my declared mission while here in SLC is to get digital copies of a number of documents, wills, birth, death and marriage records, deeds, etc.

One item on my to do list was to get a digital copy of Isaac Basye’s will, which is in Northumberland County VA, signed 8th of 8th Month, 1739. OKKKKK, no problem, as I know I have a hard copy of this (not yet scanned) at the stick built and I want to see if I can get a better copy, cause, believe me, the copy I have, well, nicely stated, it STINKS!

So, I go to FamilySearch.org and look in the new catalog. Since being here in SLC, I have sorta figured out the new catalog (that said there is one huge problem with it, maybe I’ll chat about it later, Becky found it and brought it to my attention.)

ANYWHOOOOOOO, I searched the new catalog, and cannot come up with what looks like a film that will have the Will.  See, I was hoping to skip right to the Will Book, so as to, mmmm, save time.  HAHA.  OK, off to the old catalog, with YIKES, the same results. This just is not making sense to me, I know I have looked at this will on film, and have that stinking copy.  My brain just is rejecting all these film numbers and such, so I fall back to plan “R”, as in "plan research", which is to look at the index and see what Book and Page this Will is recorded in (nope, I don’t have that recorded, blame it on my newbie days, a LONG LONG LONG time ago, when I wrote this to do list item, sighhh).

Pull the index film, and that is when the fun began. OH, can you hear the groans?? NO, well, I am surprised.

First thing up is this letter index thingy,  see, there should be names beginning with "B" on page 1.  (This is presuming I remember how these index thingys work, and after this experience, I am not sure I do. SIGH)

I jot down ALL the “B” pages, cause there are apparently a LOT of pages that have names that begin with "B".  Below, my messy notes, I am not looking forward to looking at all these pages, but, I will, oh, yes, I will.

Then, I start looking at the pages, page 1, nope, all "A" names there and no "B's".  Ohh, here we go, page 2, lots of "B" names. No matter that page 2 does not appear in the prior letter index thingy.

So, below you will see a page of "B's".  Note it is page 72, and mmm, I don't have page 72 jotted down on my list above, but, what the hay, don't look a "B" in the face, eh??  Notice anything else?

So, we have one deed from 1752, and another from 1757, and then, ooops, here is one from 1756, and my goodness, all the way down at the end of the list we even had one from 1906.  The names indexed are all over the place too, yep, they all start with the letter "B", but we have Ball, Blackwell, Byrd, not exactly alpha here are we??  OK, those of us that have been researching a while are not one bit surprised by this non-alpha within an alpha list.  It is just one of those things we deal with.  But, most indexes sorta keep the years together and most don't jump from 1752 to 1906 in one page.  (Many pages are arranged this way, start at an early year, jump quickly to a later year, I really don't quite get this, but, that is the way it is.)

And, then, we have pages that have "J" names and then way down at the bottom one sole lonely "S" name.  How special is this?  Again, this is not that out of the ordinary, it is frustrating, but happens more than any researcher in their right mind wants to see.

This particular index is starting to look like one of the worst I have dealt with in many years and my gut told me I would be hours and hours of searching, and maybe still not find Isaac.  SOOOO, I jumped to another plan.  The plan ended up involving books, printed on paper and bound books, books with the basic data extracted and done at another time from these handwritten nightmares on film.  It did not take me long at all to find this extraction of Isaac's will.

And with the help of this extraction I was able to retrieve a digital copy.  I think it is better than what I have at home, that said, as you can see it is still lacking.

This one item on my to do list took me nearly 2.5 hours to find.  But, I got my man, err, my Will.

No, I am not sure that was time well spent, but ya know how something just bothers you to no end, and you just have to figure it out.  Ya, that happened here.  SIGHHH  Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Now I need to transcribe the whole thing, GULP!

* Page 232 of the handwritten index has names that begin with "W", page 233 names begin with "H", page 234 more names beginning with "H", and page 235, names that begin with "Y". Page 240 we find both "I" and "J" names. Page 241, more "J" and one lonely "H" name. You can find two "Z" names at the bottom of page 288, along with 5 "L" names at the top of same.  Yep, I'll bet you heard my groans!


Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

Feeling like the mouse in the maze? It's such a hunt sometimes. Kudos on persevering!

The Basye name caught my eye. Pretty sure it's on some deed or will from hubby's family. I have to go over those Northumberland County connections once I can get back into my database.

Dorene from Ohio said...

You have such exciting adventures, in family history, and otherwise!

Greta Koehl said...

That obsessive thing about finding something because ... you cannot find it ... drives my husband crazy when I do that. But I certainly understand why you had to find that will.

Michelle Goodrum said...

I'm glad you stuck with it and found that will. I would have been the same way. BTW-I notice the first names on the "B" page are mostly all Thomas. Then on the "J" page the 3 names are a variation of Katherine. Odd? Or should I say more odd?