Sunday, May 29, 2011

What's in the Probate Record?

Emery Waller's Probate Record
Franklin County, Kansas
Filed February 10, 1893
I received the Probate record for my 3rd great grandfather, Emery Waller.  Emery has been an elusive ancestor and one I've been pretty focused on for the last few weeks.

What have I learned from his Probate record?  I'm really not sure yet.  It does show, via the Affidavit in Proof of Death, that his date of death was December 11, 1891 and that the document was filed in Franklin County on February 10, 1893 by George W. Waller, Emery's son.  And then there's a list of Emery's heirs in 1893, some of which I can identify and some of which are a complete mystery to me.

Here's what matches the information I have:

George W. Waller was the son of Emery and Clarinda Waller and was the only son to live into adulthood.  He was born in 1855 so he would have been about 38 in 1893.  The record shows he was 39 - close enough.

Elizabeth Waller was the eldest child of Emery and Clarinda and married John Asher Page in 1864 so Elizabeth would have been known as Elizabeth Page in 1893.  Check.  She was born in 1846 which would have made her 47 in 1893.  The record shows she was 52 - five years is a bit of a discrepancy but I'm not sure I'll worry about it.

The second child of Emery and Clarinda was Nancy Hannah Waller.  Hannah was born in 1848 and married Philip Holloway in 1866.  The Probate record shows her as Hannah Cass at 48 years old.  Again, the age is a little off (maybe these people forgot how old they were?) but showing her last name as Cass is perplexing.  I know that Philip remarried in late 1894 so I had assumed that Hannah had died prior to that.  But since she's showing up here as Hannah Cass, maybe they divorced and she married Mr. Cass by 1893.  Hannah and Philip were together in DeWitt County, Illinois in the 1880 census and when their only child, Maud, died in 1886, the obituary said she died at the "residence of her parents".  Maybe the death of their child tore them apart?  I need to do some more research on Hannah with some emphasis in Missouri since her place of residence in 1893 looks to be MO.

Minnie Waller, the youngest child of Emery and Clarinda, was born in 1857 so her age of 35 is about right.  She married James Jones in 1879 and then John Scully in 1892 - maybe her family forgot what her name was so just left it blank?  The residence of Colorado is curious as Minnie and John's son was born in Illinois in 1894.  I guess they could have been in Colorado in 1893 but it seems odd.  More research necessary.

When I first looked at this record, I initially thought that my 2nd great grandmother, Rebecca Waller McAboy, had been excluded.  My blood started boiling!  Then I looked down the page a bit more and spotted her - McAboy.  It looks like Morris McBoy but her name was Rebecca Moriah (or Maria) and in some places I've seen her referred to as Moriah.  If I squint my eyes a bit, I can imagine that the listing does indeed say Moriah McAboy.  Rebecca and her husband, William McAboy, moved to California in about 1890 and I would guess that if you were living in or around Kansas at the end of the 19th century, California probably seemed to be halfway around the world.  So I guess it's not surprising that it doesn't show her place of residence as they probably had no idea where California was.

And that's all I know.  These other people are a complete mystery to me.  It looks like two more daughters - Caroline Foster and Ellen Tinder (or Linder or Finder) in Illinois.  Could these be Clarinda's daughters from a first marriage?  And a couple of grandchildren - Pearl Sessions and Emma Willis.  The only clue that might help me is that Emery's sister, Mary Ann, married Edward Sessions and they had a son named Emery.  And as I look a little closer, Emery might also be known as Perle.  Mary Ann must have died quite young as Edward married Sarah in 1865 and guess what?  There is also a child named Emma who was born in 1860.  It appears that Emery/Perle and Emma were the children of Emery Waller's sister Mary Ann and Edward Sessions.  When she died did Emery vow to take care of her children?  Something more to research.

Last on the list is what looks like Mollie Bidle or something close to that.   Who was Mollie and why would they show a deceased person on the probate record? 

At the bottom of the page an estimated value is listed - is that $1,000 or $100?

The other two pages of the record is an Administrator's Bond and an Affidavit to Administer Estate.  The only 'new' information was the mention of George's wife, Mary, and a person named B. Campbell who is listed with Mary as 'sureties'.  Not sure what that means.  And the Administrator's Bond says:

Know all Men by these Presents, That we Geo W Waller, as principal, and Mary F. Waller and B. Campbell as sureties, are held and firmly bound unto the State of Kansas in the sum of two hundred dollars to the payment of which sum, well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 17th day of Feb, A.D. 1883.  The condition of the above obligation is such that :  Whereas, the said Geo W Waller has been, by the Probate Court of Franklin County, Kansas, duly appointed Administrator of the estate of Emory L Waller, Deceased.

There seems to be some discrepancy in Emery's date of death.  My original non-documented date was December 21, 1890.....and the cemetery shows his death date as December 25, 1890.  It could be that he really did die December 21 and was buried on December 25, 1890.  That makes sense.  But I don't see how the cemetery could show he died in 1890 and the Probate record shows a year later. 

I think I need to study up on probates, estates, etc.  If anyone has any suggestions or can offer assistance, I'm all ears.


  1. It's too bad that Al Gore was not alive back in the olden days so that he could have invented the internet a lot longer ago than he did. Then it would be easier to figure all this stuff out. ;-)

    But then that would probably take all the fun out of it for you! Amazing how every piece of information that solves one puzzle starts up so many others.

  2. Have you joined NGS yet? They have some really great online classes available. I'm doing the NGS Home Study program now (and by "doing," I mean, "It's sitting on a shelf in my office but I haven't actually touched it since last October because I don't really have time." But it's a great program, and it would help give you a foundation on major records groups.