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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Identify Record Types to Document Oral History

George Epps Tucker (1859-1927) Death Certificate
"South Carolina, Deaths, 1915-1943," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 09 May 2013), George Epps Tucker, 05 Apr 1927.

As mentioned in "Guardianship request helps identify ancestor's real father," it is advisable not to accept oral history as purely factual. People's memories fade over time, and details such as the following should be proven using historical records:
  • names
  • event (birth, marriage, death) place
  • event dates
Overlooking this step can result in much wasted time or in sharing incorrect information with extended family and future generations. Research that relies on inaccurate information leads to brick walls.

The oral history passed down to the descendants of George Epps Tucker (1859-1927) identified James Anderson Tucker as his father. It was a guardianship request made by James that helped to identify George's actual father and how James Anderson Tucker was related. The request for guardianship of George A. Tucker was indexed in the Union County Ordinary/Probate Judge Index to Estate papers 1787-1963 held in the SCDAH in Columbia, SC.

The first paragraphs read as follows:

To the Honorable T. J. Greer, Probate Judge of said county---
The humble petition of James A. Tucker, respectfully showeth that his son, George A. Tucker, late of the county and state aforesaid, departed this life on the eleventh day of November A. D. eighteen hundred and sixty, possessed of considerable real and personal estate and leaving him surviving, his widow, Annie Tucker, and his son Epps Tucker, an infant, then about one years old; that letters of administration upon all and singular the goods and chattels, rights and credits that were of the said George A. Tucker are granted by the Ordinary of Union District unto the said Annie Tucker, and that no guardian has ever been appointed for the said Epps Tucker.

Your petition further shows that the said Annie Tucker, since the death of the said George A. Tucker, has intermarried with one Dr. William F. Holmes, who contemplates removing at an early period to Barnwell County in this state.

According to the information gleaned above, George Epps Tucker was the son of George A. Tucker who was the son of James A. Tucker. In 1871, Grandfather James petitioned for guardianship of his grandson, George Epps Tucker because his father left an estate upon his death on 11 November 1860. His mother, Annie, was no longer his guardian, and remarried. James wanted to protect the interest of his minor grandson.

The infant, George Epps, was found living with his parents in 1860 prior to his father's death later that year. Because this discovery put the research back on track, other information was able to be identified. The most important record discovered was the death certificate for George Epps Tucker which listed both his parents, George A. Tucker and Annie Sanders, and led to the actual place he was laid to rest.

To learn more about probate records, see FamilySearch Wiki: United States Probate Records


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