Mildred Hebert died without a will on August 3, 1942. She and her husband had no children, but she had a daughter – my grandmother – from a previous marriage. I have had a copy of her death certificate for a while, but recently I went looking for her probate file in Jefferson County’s online records. I didn’t have any luck searching the probate index, so I started checking the real estate index for my family names in the area.
In 1949, my grandmother’s stepfather Murphy Hebert wanted to sell his house. However, the house had been purchased as joint property with his late wife Mildred. Since the estate had never been probated, Murphy needed to establish what had happened to her half of the house. Affidavits were filed that established the names of Mildred’s first and second husbands, her daughter, and her daughter’s husband. Murphy Hebert and my grandmother were her sole heirs.
Since my grandmother owned an interest in the house, she was listed on the deed documenting the sale. However, in Texas in 1949, married women still could not sell land without their husband’s agreement. So the deed includes my grandfather, as well.
The relationships proven in these particular documents were all things that I already knew, but it’s nice to have the backup. It also gives a good example of what can be found in county records that won’t show up anywhere else. If only all my counties had online databases like Jefferson, my life would be so much simpler!