Wills are written before a person dies and define how ones worldly possessions will be
disposed of. A person who dies with a will dies "testate". After a person dies, a person's
estate is disposed of according to the will (if one exists), or according to the state laws if
a person dies without a will (intestate).
Prior to 1760, all wills presented for probate in North Carolina were filed in the office of the
provincial secretary. Because of the fragile nature of these wills, they have been withdrawn
from public use. Prior to their withdrawal, the wills were arranged and filmed in alphabetical
order. Wills from adjoining counties that have obvious references to Tyrrell County are also
transcribed here; for example, the 1718 will of George Whidbe will be included here since he
leaves property on the Alligator River to his son.
In 1760, wills were allowed to be filed in the county instead of sending
them to the secretary. There are five will books located in the courthouse in Tyrrell County, NC.
Books 1 - 4 have
been transcribed and posted here. Little attempt has been made to correct some obvious errors since these errors do
not appear to detract from the genealogical significance of the data entered. Wills in book 5 are listed, but will
not be transcribed here. However, wills in book 5 can be ordered from the
Tyrrell County Clerk of Court
Columbia, North Carolina 27925.
Copies of many wills continued to
be sent to the state after 1760 and, for some unknown reason, a large number of wills in Tyrrell County were not copied into the
official will books. These wills are termed "Original" Wills and only exist at the North Carolina Division of
Archives and History in Raleigh.
Deeds of Gift, which are similar to Wills except they are executed while
the person is still alive, may also be included, but only based on
researcher submissions. No comprehensive effort has been made to collect
all deeds of gift from Tyrrell County deeds.
Special thanks go to William E. Gray, Ellen Kroll, Jean Pennell, Carolyn Swain Rice, Jean Owens Schroeder and
Michael J. Schoettle who have volunteered their time to transcribe wills. Also special
thanks go to the researchers who have submitted wills. If you have a will you would like to submit
please email me and attach the will.
The actual distribution of an estate, including minor children, is described in estate papers.
The estate records contain items such as
administration bonds, inventories, accounts of sales, guardian bonds,
guardian accounts, distributions from the estate, bills, receipts, et. al.
These records have only recently become available on microfilm from the North Carolina Division of
Archives and History in Raleigh. Because of the sheer volume of these records, their inclusion here will depend entirely
upon volunteers to submit abstracts of the records.
Special thanks go to Nancy Reeves and Patsy Flowers who have been instrumental in getting the
effort started to enter the estate records.
Special thanks go to Frank Bell who provided us with the initial index to the LOOSE estate
papers on file in the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. Since Frank provided this
list, additional estate records up to the 1930s have been added, so BOX NUMBERS SHOWN HEREIN ARE
NO LONGER ACCURATE. These additional estates will be added to the list and the correct box numbers
shown when they become available. In addition to the Loose estate papers, there are other estate
papers that are in bound books of inventories, sales, administrator's bonds, etc. for varying
periods of time, generally after 1800. A comparison of
these to the loose estate papers list is expected to add many additional names to the list of
persons with estate papers, but this is a project that will not be undertaken until after the
loose estate paper list is updated.