Orphans' Court Papers
Orphans' Court Papers, 1749-1976.
Description: Orphans' Court is a court with probate jurisdiction. Orphans' Court papers record the proceedings in the settlement of estates. All Orphans' Court papers are interfiled in the estate files.
Content: Types of records found in Orphans' Court include: petitions for guardians, guardian bonds, guardian accounts, petitions for the appointment of auditors, auditor's accounts, applications to vacate letters testamentary, petitions for the appointment of trustees to take charge of absentees' estates, requests for an accounting by a guardian, adjudication, letters of testimony, personal estate, widows' appraisement. There are also petitions to have a person legally declared dead and elections to take real estate instead of legacies or vice versa. The deceased's real estate may also be sold through the Orphans' Court. Records dealing with real estate will include petition for sale, order for sale, partition, inquests and valuations. Later Orphans' Court records may also include Court Calendars, Oaths, disbarments, guardian ad litem, birth/marriage corrections and reinstatement to the bar. Military pensions are recorded in the Orphans' Court from 1783-1785.
Orphans' Court Indexes, 1749-1958.
Content: The indexes list the name of the deceased (in later books it will also list the name of the minor), nature of proceedings, date, book and page number.
Glossary of Terms
Adjudication - The formal giving or pronouncing a judgment or decree in a cause; the judgment given.
Guardian - One who legally has the care and management of the person, or the estate, or both, of a child during its minority or a person who has been declared incompetent.
Guardian Ad Litem - is a special guardian appointed by the court to prosecute or defend, in behalf of an infant or incompetent, a suit to which he is a party, and such guardian is considered an officer of the court to represent the interests of the infant or incompetent in the litigation.
Inquest - A body of men appointed by law to inquire into certain matters. The finding of such men, upon investigation, is also called an inquest.
Partion - Division between several persons of property which belongs to them as co-owners. Commonly, the court will order the property sold and the proceeds divided instead of ordering a physical partition of the property.
Valuation - The act of ascertaining the worth of a thing, in Orphans' Court it is referring to real estate.
Widow's Allowance or Appraisement - The amount of money or property that a widow may claim from her husband's estate, free of all claims. State statutes govern the amount and conditions of the allowance.