Feme Covert Records, 1832-1848

In Pennsylvania before 1848 a married woman (feme covert) could not act independently (separate from her husband) in a legal transaction. An 1832 Pennsylvania law outlined the process used by Orphans' Court to distribute shares of estates to married women. In order for a husband to receive outright the money due to his wife, she had to state she did not require him to give security for the money.

This declaration was made before a judge, with the husband absent. The records in the database include the following information: names of the husband and wife, name of the decedent and date of the estate in Orphans' Court, date of the declaration, township where the husband lives, and the occupation of the husband. The decedent is the person from whom the woman is inheriting. It may be a father, mother, or other family member. The original papers and declarations are filed in Orphans' Court Decedents Estates.