Thursday, April 16, 2015

Query: Sylvenus Bilby, Fayette/Tipton Counties

            I am trying to locate information as to where to find Indiana court records for an ancestor who it was said had been “bound out”.  Previous searches have included Fayette County Orphan Court, Probate, and Death records for family members Bilby, Ludlow and Nelson.  None have been found.
            What I know:  Sylvenus Bilby was born Nov 8, 1829 or 1830 in Fayette County, Indiana.  According to newspaper articles on Sylvenus, he had been bound out to William H. Nelson sometime between 1838 – 1840 because his parents had died.  Some stories report that the father was Stephen Bilby, and mother Rebecca Ludlow.  One problem arises because Stephen Bilby was not only very much alive at that time, but married to Jane Ludlow with several children at that time. 
            It is possible that Rebecca Ludlow, a single woman and sister to Jane, was Sylvenus’s mother.  Although no death record for her has been found, she apparently died sometime between the 1830 and 1840 censuses. The 1840 census for William Nelson does include a boy age 10-15 and is, most likely, Sylvenus.
            It of course is possible that Stephen Bilby was his father, but his will and probate records bear no mention of a Sylvenus, nor does there seem to have been any contact between them.
           In 1841 Nelson and his family (including Sylvenus) moved to Tipton County where he lived until his death. Sylvenus Bilby also remained in Tipton County until his death.
            Shouldn’t there be some kind of court record since “bound out” was a legal term?  It seems important to locate such a document, as it should indeed indicate the parents of Sylvenus.

Sally Gerhart

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