A person who dies "Testate" dies with a will. A person who dies "Intestate" dies without a will.
In 1820 the Federal Government began requiring ship manifest lists but the early years can be difficult to locate.
There are three types of wills: Attested, Holographic and Nuncupative. The attested will is the most common and is prepared for the testator. A holographic will is written by the testator himself. A nuncupative will is the deathbed wishes of the testator, recorded by a witness present at the bedside. All wills must be witnessed.
Many legal instruments other than deeds appear in deed books. They include Bills of Sale, Prenuptial Agreements, Powers of Attorney, Contracts, Affidavits, Wills and Inventories and Voter and Jury Lists.
The Family Group Sheet identifies a couple and their children. Everyone with a spouse or child has two group sheets; one as a child with parents and usually one as a parent with children.