While working on my Holmes family recently, I found that Joanna Holmes had married Jacob Jackson. As it turned out, yet again, I had been researching my Jackson family and of course, Jacob had been among the names I’d discovered.
Linking them as husband and wife was easy. All they needed was documentation to prove their existence and relationship.
The sourcing part of the project will go on indefinitely. Do we ever finish proving the events and names in our genealogy records? But that activity resulted in me finding Jacob Jackson’s lengthy probate file.
Jacob was financially successful in his life. He had properties, investments and holdings scattered in Boston and Plymouth. While his investments in various banks in Boston would be impressive if they had been left alone to grow, his investment in property would have a very impressive value on the books today.
Those of you living in Plymouth County will recognize the value of his property.
18 Acres of wood land at Blllington Sea on the south side
66 acres of wood land on the north side of the road including his manor home.
Looking at the assessed value of the ancestral homes in Plymouth today, I noted that one of the homes valued at $1500 in 1900 is valued over $650.,000 today. Raw land in the two locations mentioned in Jacob’s will would be simple to develop into building lots today if that hasn’t already happened. Building lots of an acre or so easily sell for upwards of $500,000 today.
Wills and probate documents are almost always full of family names, clues and information that helps us find family members and put some ‘life’ into the their records. They usually describe property and investments, or lack thereof. Older wills and probate records even detail the property of a person down to items of clothing, pots, pans, tools and other incidental items.
Jacob’s will and probate helped me understand many of the activities in his life. Similar documents in the lives of your ancestors will help you too. If you haven’t taken the time to search for them yet, do so. You’ll be well pleased with your investment of time and effort when you find them.