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29 January 2015

When Your Ancestors Guide Your Search

Distracted much?

That's the question I asked myself after sitting down to work on some family history projects today. At first, I thought I would work more on the Townsends Franklin County, Ohio. I could work more on my Narrative Project. Or I could look up those probate record references I found in a genealogy workshop.

None of these seemed to grab my attention this morning, except the Probate files, to a degree. I do not like the Ohio, County Probate files because they are so confusing to me. I don't understand which records I am to examine first before going into the next. I had this problem on my 2012 research trip and I struggle with it, even though many records are available online through Family Search.

However, I decided to poke around to see what I could find. I was searching for an index to the various probate files, which I have accessed before. However, one record set seemed to keep grabbing my attention: Guardian bonds and letters. I remembered the probate class mentioning that guardians were appointed for minor children when their parents died.

My Grannie's birth father is unknown and her birth mother died the day after Louise Long (aka Marie Anderson) was born. The year was 1920 in the month of May. The question was, where would I look for guardianship papers? Marie's mother was Agnes Anderson and she had purchased property in Licking County, Ohio. Agnes's death and Marie's birth are recorded at a hospital in Franklin County, Ohio.

I decided to start with Licking County for guardianship papers as that should be were the Anderson estate could be settled (given that Agnes owned property at the time). If that didn't work out, I could switch to Franklin County easily.

I selected Licking County from the Ohio, Probate Records files. From there, I selected the Guardian bonds and letters 1904-1924 vol 4 - 6. Then I selected an image number a little over halfway between 1 and 844 (the number of images in the set) and typed it into the image # box using the browse navigation bar. I was surprised to find I was in 1911. I thought I'd be in the 1914s. I jumped a few more times to get into the 1920s. One more jump and I was viewing image 816 and the name Marie Anderson, minor child of Agnes Anderson. Their names were not on the image before or after this record.

"Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996," images, FamilySearch (,266607401: accessed 29 January 2015), Licking >
Guardian bonds and letters 1904-1924 vol 4-6 > image 816 of 844; county courthouses, Ohio.

The date of the guardian bond was 1 June 1920. This would be a little over a week after the birth and death. A Sarah Oetting of Newark, Ohio posted the $100 bond for guardianship of Marie Anderson. This must be related to my grandmother.

I will investigate who Sarah Oetting is further in hopes of learning why she would post this bond. I hope to come across more records relating to the Guardian ship of Marie prior to her adoption by Harry and Lura Long in 1925. The story goes that Harry and Lura saw baby Marie shortly after she was born and adopted her despite her sickly health conditions. Just how soon did Harry and Lura pick her up. Why didn't Sarah keep the child?

I have heard it said that in such cases there was a guardian of property and a guardian of person. Harry and Lura might have become the guardian of person for Marie before her official adoption and name change to Louise. Sarah Oetting might have simply cared for the property that Louise would later inherit after her marriage to Lew Brown 20 years later.

Today, I didn't sit down to research my grandmother or look for papers related to her adoption. However, I felt a connection with Grannie that I was being guided to seek out Sarah Oetting. She might not be related by blood, but she's family enough to care for the guardianship of something related to Marie Anderson who became Louise Long.

I just hope my ancestors, including my 'relative' Sarah, can help me further as I now try to understand Guardianship and Probate and what other trails to follow with this story.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Jana! It was pretty amazing. Definitely happy dance worthy.


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