1. For testate cases, the will is in the estate packet. Also search for the transcribed copy in court records and compare the two.
2. In most states, a woman owning and willing real estate during this time period is a clue she was single when she wrote the will.
3. The testator’s real estate is in the same county where the will is filed, meaning the deceased lived and died there. Look for more family records in this county.
4. Willing her real estate and personal property to a sister, niece and nephew indicates she probably had no living children when she died. Look for confirmation in other sources.
5. Wills may name a relative and specify the family relationship, such as “my sister Dimmis Chamberlin” or may simply say “my heirs.”
6. Narrow the range for the death date: it’s between the date of the will and the date of the initial request to initiate probate proceedings.