Every county court house had its problems storing old documents and the records which were written into large, heavy books. The India Ink has pretty much survived up until this time, however, it was affected by cold and damp storage areas. Original documents were kept inside filing cabinets, but over the years, got rendered into other storage areas. Suffice it to say, the genealogist should not expect to locate an an actual original document and instead, must rely upon the clerk’s entries into the record books. What the clerk did is copy verbatim the document. For the most part, this rendered an accurate account. However, you will find errors. Misspellings of names and omissions. If you suspect there may be a child missing, the next task is to confirm it using the census records.
Before 1850, one should count the number of females and the number of males, as well as the age-range. People did lose children to diseases, etc. Another research effort would be militia Records, pensions of the civil war and American Revolution, and deeds. Note: — Oftentimes, the testator gave land to his children before he died. Such property would normally appear in a certain line of inheritance. The oldest child usually received the homeplace, and smaller increments of land were passed down to the younger children. Another source of research is the Wills and Inventories of Estates. If the ancestor died intestate, there would still be an accounting of his possessions in the inventories. Sales of the estate were usually purchased by family members. Thus, it become important to identify each person in documents or transactions.
Images of Lewis County, Tennessee Records-
Inventories of Estates 1846–1874
Settlements and Guardianships 1875–1926