Friday, February 9, 2018

Family History Writing Challenge Day 9

Another avenue that might provide a link between Thompson Hightower and George Hightower, Jr. is the existence of probate records or a will. Probate records are court records created after an individual’s death regarding the division of the estate to the heirs or creditors, and also the care of dependents. This process normally takes place when there is not a will, but sometimes even with a will the estate can go into probate. To begin the probate process, a petition must be filed with the court. Typically this is done by one of the heirs of the deceased. It often includes names, relationships, and residences of the heirs.

Quincy Public Library
Many resources for researching probates records are available online. But of course George Hightower does not appear in any of them. I visited Quincy, Illinois, which is the county seat of Adams County last year on the way back from visiting my in-laws in Iowa. I met with a local history librarian at the Quincy Public Library to discuss my Hightower family from the area. Ursa, where the Hightowers lived, is just 10 miles north of Quincy. The librarian was helpful, letting me know which websites to look at in the library, and showing me the local books which might be of assistance.

Unfortunately, I found no new information on any of the Hightower families. Before I totally give up finding any leads in Adams County I will need to contact the Adams County Clerk of the Circuit Courts office in Quincy. They have court records dating back to 1825, and probate records back to 1826. In this day and age of the computer, it is easy for genealogists to forget that not everything is online, nor has every document been indexed and placed neatly into a book for us to find at a library.

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