18 January 2010
Receipts from estate settlements are also great places to get signatures. This one comes from Hancock County, Illinois, in 1871, when Barbara Trautfetter/Trautvetter is signing for her share in the state of Michael Trautvetter--her brother-in-law.
She made her mark on this one, but all the others signed their name. Remember that making a mark does not mean the person was illiterate. It just means that they made their mark. In some cases, the person was literate, but unable to write due to infirmity or age. I have seen individuals sign and make their marks on different documents at different points in their life.
This estate settlement was analyzed in this week's issue of Casefile Clues. There were more clues in the settlement that just the signatures, but those are always interesting.