April 6, 1852

Today was Day 2 of the 6th Annual Genealogy Fair at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. I decided at the last minute to attend yesterday and had such a great time that I decided to return today. One reason was that, between attending topical…

Margaret_dukes_guardianship_bo

Today was Day 2 of  the 6th Annual Genealogy Fair at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  I decided at the last minute to attend yesterday and had such a great time that I decided to return today.  One reason was that, between attending topical sessions, I had a chance to confer again with the two archivists most familiar with Record Group 21 – the records of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Last fall and then again in January, I had reviewed some of the probate records for Levin Dukes, Sarah Dukes’  father, who died without a will in Georgetown in 1866.  I looked at inventories, vouchers, accounts, advertisements for property sales  as I tried to piece together the story of Sarah and her siblings’ guardians, first, their stepmother, and  then a neighbor from Georgetown. More on that later. 

But I knew there had to be more,  especially about the guardian change itself.  The three of us brainstormed about other record possibilities, I filled out the pull slips under their supervision, and I knew the records would be waiting for me today. And I did indeed find the court-ordered date of the change in 1867 and got a glimmer of why it happened ($$$$$). 

But, even better, I found a bit of information that had eluded me to date – the exact birthdates for  Sarah, her older brother James, and her three younger half-siblings, one of whom died within just a few months.  And it was in a Guardian Bond.  Guardian Bonds — sounds dry, right?  But seeing Sarah’s birthdate for the first time made me a little misty-eyed.  Probably because birthdays are a big deal in our family.

I’ve attached a photograph of the bond. And the citation is in the bottom right corner of the image.

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