Estate inventories and guardians’ accounts often contain information about the daily lives of our ancestors. They can tells us what they owned and whom they did business with. If your ancestor was in trade, he may appear in the inventories of some of his clients. This can give you more insight into his business.
Depending on the time and place, you can find estate inventories and guardians’ accounts in the voluntary court records, in orphan chamber records, or notarial records.
Example: Guardian’s account in 1699
On 9 September 1699, Herman ten Haeve gave an account to the court of Lichtenvoorde in Gelderland of the costs he made while administrating the estate of the children of the late Jan Elekinck, of whom he was the guardian.
An entry of 25 April 1699 tells how he hired Hermen Pieck to repair the house that belonged to the children, and to supply bricks, chalck, roof tiles, floor tiles, pebbles and other supplies, as well as plaster and repair the house, for a sum of 49 guilders and 5 stivers.1
Hermen Pieck is my eighth great-grandfather. I knew that many Pieck men were carpenters, and this account tells me that he was too. It tells me that he was not just a carpenter, but an all-round builder who could also do bricklaying, plastering and tiling.
- Manorial Court (Lichtenvoorde, Gelderland), guardianship papers, 1678-1728, call number 117, account of Herman ten Haeve, 6 September 1699; digital images, FHL film 861259, Familysearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007989044 : accessed 4 September 2016).