Spotsylvania County Will Book M is missing and only fragments of Will Book L survive. Together, these Will Books cover the period August 1824 through May 1830.
How Can Missing Books Be Reconstructed ?
A preliminary survey of original court papers has revealed that many of the original records from these missing Will Books have survived. Some records have been found among chancery actions. Among the records found are wills, estate accounts and bonds.
The missing Will Books can be reconstructed based on the recordation dates (the dates documents were ordered by the court to be entered into the will books) in conjunction with the folios (page numbers) and libers (books) written on many of the documents. The Will Books are being reconstructed on the Web in the form of Digital Will Books into which transcripts and images of original documents will be entered. Note, however, that these are NOT official Will Books and are being assembled strictly for genealogical and historical research.
What's In The Digital Will Books ?
The Digital Will Books entries are consistent with entries contained in will books preceding and following the missing will books, all entries having been ordered by the Court --
In addition to the entries normally expected in a Spotsylvania will book of the period, the Digital Will Books also contain references to estates committed to the Sheriff. These are included ONLY when no one came forward within three months following a decedent's death to assume administrative responsibilities for the decedent's estate. If an estate had been partially administered, by the recording of an executor's or administrator's bond and the estate subsequently assigned to the sheriff to complete, then the order of the estate to the Sheriff will not be included.
How Can I Help Reconstruct These Missing Books ?
Reconstruction may take considerable time. All the court order books of the period must be read to determine which records would have been recorded in the missing Will Books. Additional time will be needed to search for the surviving original documents.
Preservation of the original documents will also take time. Due to their fragile condition, they must be preserved in order to photocopy them for transcribing. Recovery and preservation of the original documents will be dependent on funding to survey the court order books, recover and preserve the documents and photocopy them. Tax-deductible donations for this important project can be sent to :
P.O. Box 8228
Fredericksburg, VA 22404
As records are made available, they will be transcribed by volunteers and placed on this Web site. The name of the transcriber appears at the bottom of every transcription. If you would like to be a transcriber (requires some knowledge of probate documents and tables for Web pages) please contact me, making sure you use the subject line "Spotsylvania Volunteer".
Are There Any Use Restrictions On These Digital Will Books ?
As with all USGenWeb projects, the work presented in the Spotsylvania Missing Will Books project is for the free use of the public and shall not be used for any commercial purposes.
How Do I Use The Digital Will Books ?
Records listed on the digital will book index pages are linked to a transcript through the page number. If a page number is not linked to a transcript then that record has not yet been transcribed. Digital will book entries without a page number list documents ordered to be recorded by the Court. When these documents are found they will appear with a page number. Check back often for updates to these books.
A page entry prefaced by "e" indicates that the liber and/or folio is not written on a document and that the liber and/or folio has been estimated based on the date of the document.
Digital Will Book Index entries containing "Estate to the Sheriff" do not have related will book page numbers since there was nothing recorded in the will books for such actions. These entries are included for death reference information only. Links to the Court Order / Minute Book notations committing estates to the Sheriff will be shown in the index as the notations are made available.
Also being made available as much as technically and financially feasible are digitized images of the original documents. Some documents may not lend themselves to digitization due to their condition while others may not be available due to the lack of suitable scanning equipment. A link to a document image is available at a document's transcript title .
You can research the contents of the "missing" books by using the digital versions of the will books. Use the digital will books just as you would regular books -- select an index tab and "open" a book to a page by clicking on the page number.
For your convenience, every name in all documents in these books (except for names of Clerks of the Courts) is available to you in the Every Name Index.
You may also search these digital will books for any word or name.
Transcripts and images for these digital will books have been formatted for viewing at a monitor resolution of 640x480.
Will Book L
Will Book M
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Revised 2 June 1999
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