Following an individual’s death, bonds were posted by the decedent’s family for the purchase of property. Property appraisements were taken by “seven men,” sheriff inquest, Orphans’ Court or the County Commissioners. Recognizance Dockets were an acknowledgment by family members to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of the property’s value. The recognizance was voided after the parties paid the entire valuation of the real estate to the widow or legal representatives of the deceased. Records show the name of decedent, valuation of property, and family relationships by naming surviving family members. Signatures of family members may appear on the records.
Search Tip: Recognizance records filed beginning in 1903 may also be recorded in Estate Files. Researchers should search the Orphans’ Court Index for related records.