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Unexpected Genealogy Records: Guardianship

By Robin Foster

Guardianship records are one of the unexpected but not so uncommon records that you may discover while searching probate records in the courthouse. Guardianship records are created for a few basic reasons, and certain record types are generated as a result of those reasons.

Sometimes adults are not mentally able to care for themselves or a child loses both parents. A guardian is appointed. When children receive an inheritance, a guardian is appointed who will be responsible for it until the child becomes an adult.

I found a guardianship record while searching the Greenwood County, South Carolina probate index for Frank Arnold. When he died, he left his wife, Lillie, and their minor son, Zachary, and other adult children. Zachary needed a guardian to take care of him because he was only six, and he inherited some money.

Zachary Arnold Guardianship, Greenwood County probate box no. 391, packet 7. Probate Office, Greenwood, South Carolina.

It seems even though it was recorded that Lillie was the mother of Zachary, she still needed to petition to be the legal guardian as if both his parents were dead.

Zachary Arnold Guardianship petition, Greenwood County probate box no. 391, packet 7. Probate Office, Greenwood, South Carolina.

She had to submit a report regularly to show how she spent his inheritance, and she had to petition the court to withdraw money from his inheritance to care for him. Several of these reports are included in the guardianship record.

Zachary Arnold Guardianship Order, Greenwood County probate box no. 391, packet 7. Probate Office, Greenwood, South Carolina.

She was discharged from being his guardian after he was no longer a minor.

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