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Record of Agreed Intestate Succession among Son Jungdon and His Six Siblings

Academy of Korean Studies

Academy of Korean Studies
Seongnam-si, South Korea

This document records the agreement over the distribution of inherited property by the seven children of Son So (1433–1484) on the eighteenth day of the eleventh month, 1510. Three months after the death of Son So’s wife Lady Ryu on the fourteenth day of the eighth month, 1510, their seven children gathered to evenly divide theestate left by their parents, and to document the details of that distribution. In fact, since the bequeathal had already been carried out, this record covered the distribution of farmland and slaves that were left undecided even after the previous distribution. However, this second stage of distribution was substantial in its coverage. One hundred thirty-four slaves, thirteen gyeol , ninety-eight bu , three sok , and ninety eight majigi of rice paddy and six gyeol ,seven bu , three sok , and eighty seven majigi of field and one go of burial land was the total amount of property covered in this document. Due to the usage of the measurement units of gyeol , bu and majigi , it is difficult to directly compare the distributed portions of farmland, but given the fact that each sibling received eighteen to ninteen slaves and that the slaves bestowed on Son So as a Meritorious Official of Pacifying Enemies in the Reign of Sejo were evenly distributed to the seven children, it is evident that the siblings complied with the principle of gyunbun , or equal distribution. However, the eldest son Son Baekdon inherited two more male servants along with an extra forty-two bu and four sok of rice paddies due to his responsibility for holding ancestral services. This paper also documents the slaves’ parents and whether they were inherited by the owner from patrilineal or matrilineal inheritance, and identifies their acquisition route, such as governmental grant, bequeathal by adoption, or direct purchase. On the other hand,records on fields only include their location, serialized character, address number, and land area, while omitting ownership-related records. Counting the slaves alone, the number of slaves inherited from the father’s side totals ninety-four, while thirty nine are from the mother’s side, so it is evident that their father’s side owned much more property than their mother’s. The property was equally distributed overall, but the percentages of the father’s and mother’s properties differed greatly among heirs, which suggests that the distribution process did not consider which parent’s side the inherited property came from.By this time, Son So’s eldest daughter had already passed away without producing a child, so she was excluded from the distribution. The second son-in-law Yi Beon died in 1500, and therefore his son Yi Yeonjeok signed this document on behalf of his mother. The third sonin-law Gang Jungmuk also signed on behalf of his wife,the youngest daughter. The supplementary record at the end of the document specifies that seven copies of the document were made for each of the inheritors to keep one copy, and this particular document is one of those seven copies.

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  • Title: Record of Agreed Intestate Succession among Son Jungdon and His Six Siblings
  • Date Created: 1510
  • Physical Dimensions: Single sheet
  • Original Language: Chinese

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