Importance of Guardianship Records
Guardianship records, which were filed with the courts after a father’s death, are an important resource, potentially providing evidence of birth, marriage and death, as well as identifying family relationships.
After a father’s death, his children were considered orphans. One or more guardians would be assigned responsibility for the children’s care, even if they continued to live with their mother. The guardian(s) might have been a male relative or a couple related to either parent. Married aunts and uncles of the children may have taken one or more minor children into their home. This may have resulted in splitting up siblings among relatives.
Finding evidence that could identify family members is crucial for 19th century New York State genealogy research, due to the fact that official records of birth, marriage and death weren’t mandated by the state government until 1880.
Surname Index Project
I have always been a bit frustrated that the online abstracts of Columbia County guardianship records were only arranged chronologically. I liked the idea of creating an index so that the surnames could be analyzed to develop family groups.
The index is now complete and is available for purchase as a digital download on my site.
Columbia County Genealogy – Online Research
For web links to Columbia County’s free genealogy resources, please see my Columbia County Free Resource page.
And before you go…
If you have any questions about my indexing project, or general questions about your family research, be sure to send me an email inquiry.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the American Society of Genealogists for supporting this work.