Reading wills from bygone days: A feather bed was nothing to sneeze at

040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)
040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

The details in an ancestor’s will can tell you a lot about the times, the family and its economic status.

When reading and analyzing a will for your genealogy research, study all the bequests and other particulars. Do not judge the deceased by modern standards, especially with regard to what was left to women family members. Avid reader Marcia recently asked why an ancestor gave his daughter only a featherbed.

In earlier times, by giving an unmarried daughter a featherbed or bedstead and furnishings, a father was likely leaving a mini-dowry, maybe all he could afford, to help her set up housekeeping, assuming she soon would get married. If you’re in possession of an ancestor’s will, study it carefully and you can probably find interesting information about your own family.

DAR has new DNA options

Daughters of the American Revolution issued a press release on July 31 about tests it will accept as evidence of lineage. Search for “DAR Begins Accepting Autosomal DNA” for the details. For more information on the organization, see dar.org to learn about membership requirements, local chapters and the vast research library in Washington, D.C.

Devon Noel Lee free videos worth watching

Devon Noel Lee and her husband have some great, free YouTube videos that are well worth watching. Go to YouTube and search for her name. Her latest is “Easily Link Ancestry DNA matches to your tree…” about Ancestry.com’s new DNA changes or tweaks. All of her other videos will keep you busy through the winter. Her easy to understand, no nonsense style makes her fun to watch. Ancestry.com has sent out alerts that it will be making some DNA changes in the near future, so stay tuned for more details.

FamilySearch has GenealogyBank obituaries

FamilySearch.org, a free site, has acquired part of the obituaries that were once on GenealogyBank newspaper site. At FamilySearch.org go to “Search,” then “Records” and there “Find a Collection” and search for “GenealogyBank.” You will find three databases to check out. Each has 30 million items. FamilySearch.org has the most genealogical records of any website and is working toward its goal of digitizing all of its microfilmed records by year’s end. It has records from all over the world.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or kenthomasongenealogy.com.