GHL Blog Rotating Header Image

Genealogy Roadblocks

Genealogy Brick Walls: NC State Census, 1784-1787

Share Button

A request that we sometimes receive is to look up a name in the state census of 1784-1787. Many researchers, however, do not realize that only about 1/2 of the counties during that time were actually recorded.  What can be done when an ancestor is not listed? (more…)

Genealogy ABCs – Abstracts, Bible Records, Cemeteries (and Averasboro!)

Share Button

Find out about new additions to the collections of the Government and Heritage Library. Abstracts, bible records, and cemetery records can make or break genealogical research.   An added item in this post is a new book about the genealogy of the founders of Averasboro, NC. 

Scan0066Abstracts of Pasquotank County North Carolina Guardian Bond Books, 1798-1831 and 1832-1867, compiled by Jean Wood Paschal. Information about guardian bonds can help recreate the basic structure of an ancestor’s family, particularly since prior to the 1850 census records there were few legal documents that listed the names of all children within a family unit. Presented here in two volumes is a comprehensive index for Pasquotank County Guardian Bond Books 1798-1867, with abstracted information with the name of the father, ward or wards, guardian, bond number, bond amount and the names of the bondsmen.




Scan0064Avera and Allied Founding Families of Averasboro, North Carolina, 4th Ed., by Claude Medlin. The author tells the family history of Alexander Avera I, born circa 1680.  It is a modified register report of descendants of Alexander Avera I for the first 12 generations believed to have connections to the Avera family that settled in Averasboro, North Carolina. Information about the founder of Averasboro, Alexander Avera III is also included.







Bible Records of Caroline County Virginia Families, by Herbert Collins. This book presents information in Bibles from families of Caroline County, Virginia. Records in many of the Bibles described go back to the 18th century. Slaves were often recorded with white families, extremely important since pre-Civil War census did not record slaves by name. Bible records are often  one of the few remaining sources of information on ancestors’ vital statistics and family relationships.

 Scan0063Edgecombe County, North Carolina Greenwood Cemetery, Vol. 3, compiled by the Edgecombe County Genealogical Society. This is the third of several planned volumes to record cemeteries in Edgecombe County, North Carolina and focuses on Greenwood Cemetery, which is located on Howard Avenue in Tarboro, North Carolina. The work includes maps of each section, listing of all people buried, plot numbers, names and dates on tombstones. Information is complete through August 2012. 






Genealogy materials are available on-site at the Government and Heritage Library  To view other new library acquisitions, click here.

Breaking Brick Walls in Genealogy: Cluster Genealogy

Share Button

an image of a brick wall

As we wrap up Family History Month 2013, I would like to talk about a research method I often use known as “Cluster Genealogy”. This method is useful for 2 reasons, maybe more: it helps to break brick walls by looking at other people in an ancestor’s life and it helps to give a richer and fuller understanding of their life.  As researchers, we sometimes seem to hit that brick wall sooner or later – the point where we cannot seem to get past a certain ancestor.

At its core, cluster genealogy is doing genealogy on the extended family and others who may not be related, but whose name often appears in conjunction with our ancestor.  You may notice on land records or census and tax records that a name often appears along with your ancestors.

This past week I helped a researcher and found their ancestor sold and bought land from the same man almost half a dozen times. I later discovered he was the administrator of his will. There was obviously a deeper connection between these two men than just neighbors. Sometimes, that connection could mean they migrated to NC from another state together or it could mean they were best friends who grew up together. Sometimes researching those who are not direct ancestors can help your research or your understanding of an ancestor. (more…)

How to Use the Slave Schedules of the Census in your research

Share Button
image of male and female slave from Somerset Plantation

Slaves from Somerset Plantation ~ Courtesy of the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial

In the past, I have talked about 2 types of non-population schedules of the U.S. Federal Census that can aid genealogy researchers, namely the agricultural census schedule and industry and manufacturing schedules. Today, I want to talk about a 3rd type: the slave schedules.

The slave schedules of the census were taken during the 1850 and 1860 census separately from the U.S. Federal Population Census. In previous years from 1790-1840, the population schedule of the census asked the total number of slaves that belonged to the household. In 1850 and 1860, instead of asking for only the total, a separate schedule was created that listed each slave by age gender, and color (black or mulatto) but not by name. Despite the fact slave names do not appear on the schedule, they can still be helpful to genealogy researchers. (more…)

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.