I got two emails in two consecutive days from fellow genealogists who had stumbled across my blog. One was interested in an old letter that my ancestor had received, another shared old letters that my ancestors had sent.
Finding a 368-page probate file for an ancestor you didn’t know much about is HUGE. A big file usually means the probate was contested. It was surely bad news for the family at the time, but great news for the genealogist looking at the file 160 years later!
Daniel Dill’s probate file has a gap of nearly six years, spanning the duration of the Civil War plus a year each before and after. Finally in December, 1866, Daniel’s friend and neighbor Frederick Bromberg made a petition to the court. He asked to be appointed as the administrator of the long-dormant estate.
The Civil War halted all progress on settling Daniel Dill’s estate and, of course, changed the life course of everyone connected with Daniel Dill and his assets.
Nearly four years after Daniel Dill’s death, the estate administrator received permission from the court to sell three enslaved persons: Sam, John and Nancy. Daniel’s probate file contains the sad details.