Wednesday, September 2, 2015

6 Colonial Wills Found in the Georgia Virtual Vault

Photograph by Jason Baker, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Have you tried looking for genealogy records in the Georgia Virtual Vault? I have been very fortunate to find many documents in this online database. Click here to start searching for your Georgia ancestors here at the Georgia Virtual Vault.

While working on my children's 6th paternal grandmother, Mary Esther Maxwell recently, I found 6 colonial wills through the Georgia Virtual Vault (GVV). Here are the names on the wills I have found thus far, Captain Robert Nichols (1746-1775), Mary Ester Maxwell (1732-c.1774), Audley Maxwell (1697-1768), John Maxwell (1735-1768), Mary Simons Maxwell (1701-1774) and Morgan Sabb (?-1760).

I started with Mary Simons Maxwell in hopes of identifying how all the Maxwell's fit together. Mary Esther and John Maxwell are her children and named in her will. Note that John is listed as deceased. Morgan Sabb is the first husband of Mary Esther Maxwell and Captain Robert Nichols is her second husband. At this point I believe that Audley Maxwell may be the brother of her husband James Maxwell (1697-1768).

After going line by line in her will, I then made a list of her children by name and then proceeded to list her grandchildren by name. Next I made a list of the slaves she named. Listed among the slave names, I did find several who were listed with their mothers. To see my post about Mary Simons Maxwell and the releasing the names of her 16 slaves go here, The Slave Name Roll Project - Releasing the Names of 16 Slaves.

When I started my search on this branch the family I wanted to know the full name of Mary Simons Maxwell husband, however that answer is not going to be an easy one. My search of public trees on was uneventful because not one person seemed to have any place for me to use as a springboard. It seems that everyone wants her husband to be James Audley Maxwell. James Audley Maxwell appears to be the name of every James Maxwell I could find in South Carolina and Georgia. Then I ran across a picture of Mary's will in someone else's tree. Of course, there were no notes, comments or any source listed as to where this person found her will. That's a blog post for another day!

The first thing I did was to go directly to the web to see what, if anything would come up in a search.  One the first things I discovered was a short summary of Audley Maxwell at Liberty County Historical Society. The short summary also includes the names of Audley and Hannah's children. They are listed as Audley Maxwell, Jr., Mary Maxwell, Elizabeth Maxwell and Rebecca Jane Maxwell. The next source I found was Audley's will in the GVV which clearly states that Hanna Maxwell is his wife. I believe that Audley married Hannah Powell in Massachusetts or possibly Pennsylvania but as of now I have not been able find any marriage records to confirm this. 

However when I signed into Ancestry this morning what did I find? A whole new database of Wills, Probate and Estate Records! Hopefully, this new database will allow me to find more of the Maxwell family so that I can make better connections and find new information to support my theory (not every James has Audley as a middle name) or it will disprove my theory. I will let you know what happens once I extracted all of the information I can from from my research of this database.

Bank Vaults under Hotels in Toronto,Ontario, image by Jason Baker from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada Commons Wikipedia image database, (,_Canada_-_3_June_2013.jpg : 21 August 2015)

Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992, Ancestry, database with images on-line ( : 2 September 2015); citing Estate Records, 1775-1892;Author: Georgia. Probate Court (Liberty County); Probate Place: Liberty, Georgia

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