As with any old documents, we are not only subject to less-than-legible handwriting, we are also susceptible to the vagaries of spelling. For example, one of our members has spent time researching the name "Osborne", and found at least 34 variations in spelling:
Asbun, Asburn, Aulbourn, Aursbourn, Ausband, Ausbern, Ausbin, Ausbon, Ausborne, Ausbourn, Ausbourne, Ausburn, Ausburne, Orsborn, Orsborne, Orsbourn, Orsburn, Orzburn, Osben, Osbern, Osbin, Osbon, Osborn, Osborne, Osbourn, Osbun, Osburm, Osburn, Osburne, Ozbarn, Ozborn, Ozborne, Ozbourne, and Ozburn.
Transcribers, and indexers after them, can only work with what was written, not what might have been intended. The savvy researcher will keep this in mind when looking for names of specific interest.
***This feature is less than a year old, and is currently under construction, thus not yet complete. Keep checking back over the coming weeks as we incorporate the indices Taneya has already created, and as she creates more. Questions, suggestions, or general comments may be made to the Webmaster.
To browse the actual image files, see the North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979 at FamilySearch. This link is also available on each individual decedent index page. The county name on each County page is a link to the image collection for that county at FamilySearch.
1. There is one entry of "Two lists of names, chiefly Robinson, Ledbetter, Tillman & others". This entry is not broken down for the specific names in the Decedent Index, but the entry is found on the Anson County list.
2. There is an entry in the "Surnames William - Williams, Joel" list that was incorrectly indexed. The entry is for "William A, Owens (1859)", Davie County. The name should have been indexed as "Owens, William A". Our list here has not been changed, as that is where you will find the entry at Family Search, but it has been added to the Davie County list, with a note.
Update: 30 Aug 2014 - Four new counties - Ashe, Cumberland, Macon, and Forsyth. 22,921 new names added to the Surname Decedent Index - 17,232 names from Forsyth County, alone. This makes a new total of 110,809 names.
Update: 22 Sep 2014 - Added listing of defunct counties, indicated by an asterisk: *. Added notes to each county regarding county formation date, parent county or counties and, if defunct, the child counties. Some counties have notes about missing records. The index table has been broken down into two separate tables, linked to below. Not all counties have been indexed, but all are now linked to from the County Index Table, and have the county name linked to the appropriate FamilySearch page. (The reconfiguration of the page apparently scrambled the Decedent Index links. Those have been fixed.)