Caswell County was formed from the northern part of Orange County, North Carolina, in 1777 and was itself the parent of Person County. The will books for Caswell County are on file at the office of the Clerk of the Court in Yanceyville. Mrs. Kendall and Mrs. Donaldson, in these two volumes reprinted as one by Clearfield Company, have abstracted Caswell County Will Books A through F, covering the years 1777 to 1814, and Will Books G through O, covering the period 1814 to 1843. Also included in this consolidated volume are abstracts of a number of related Caswell County records, including tax lists, guardians’ accounts, powers of attorney from deed books, and census mortality schedules.
The will book abstracts comprise the bulk of both volumes, and they are a rich and varied lot. They are arranged chronologically, according to the date of the court session, and include not only wills but also estate records, inventories, accounts, and so on. Abstracts of wills give the name of the testator, date of the will, names and relationships of all heirs, the names of executors and administrators, the division of the estate, and sometimes even such things as references to slaves by name. Many of the other entries in the will books, like estate settlements, establish relationships between two or more individuals, and all the records place persons in Caswell County at a particular point in time.
In addition to the abstracts of the will books, the compilers have made the following supporting records available to Caswell County researchers: guardian accounts, identifying the names of the guardian, the orphan, and the year of the guardianship; mortality schedules, yielding the name of the deceased, age, sex, marital status, place of birth, and cause of death; powers of attorney, which frequently refer to kinship, ownership of property, dates of death, and more; and tax lists, stating the name of the taxpayer, number of acres owned, location of the property, and the number of white and black polls.
Clearfield’s consolidated edition of these important records must surely represent the starting point for Caswell County genealogical research.
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