New Digital Collection: Secretary of State Wills

The State Archives of North Carolina would like to announce the creation of the new digital collection, North Carolina Secretary of State Wills. The digital collection contains wills from 1663 to 1789. These are loose original wills probated in the province. After 1760 most original wills were kept by the clerk in the county in which they were

SR_SS_XIX_Probate_Wills_Brand_Isabella_County_not_given_01

Isabella Brand’s will

probated, though there are some wills after 1760 in the collection.

These wills are indexed in the Mitchell Will Index categorized with “SS/AR”, which can be accessed in the MARS catalog. The original wills are no longer accessible to the public for conservation concerns. Due to the age of some of the wills, the ink may be difficult to read. The wills are arranged alphabetically by surname of decedent.

Some of the more famous North Carolinians from the time period are included in the collection, such as Lord Proprietors Thomas Harvey and Henderson Walker; the Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs; and the first Governor of the State of North Carolina, Richard Caswell. The collection also includes the earliest known will in the state, for Mary Fortsen from 1665, who signed it herself.

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