The Sawyers of River Bridge

Pharoah and Joel Sawyer have been a part of my Camden County, NC research for years. They were adjoining land owners to my ancestor William Bass and they ultimately bought all of his land. I followed the stories of William Bass’ descendants; however, I failed to recognize the importance of including Pharoah and Joel Sawyer’s […]

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The Pritchards of South Mills

In this article, I present the story of David Leary Pritchard—a man whose life served as a perfect cross-section of early 19th century South Mills (Camden County, NC)—as an example of how one can learn more about ancestors of color through their white neighbors (who were sometimes relatives). David Leary (frequently spelled Lurry) Pritchard was […]

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The Nansemond Homestead at Deep Creek

When I first started researching my Camden County, NC ancestors it was clear that they had connections to the Nansemond community in Norfolk County, VA but it seemed like an impossible feat to demonstrate how the two groups of people were related. There were numerous individuals with the same names, same general places of birth […]

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The “Christianized” Nansemond of Deep Creek: An Incomplete History

The mid 1600s was a transformational period for the Nansemond people. After a series of violent conflicts between the Powhatan Chiefdom and English colonists, the Nansemond community was divided between those who chose to assimilate to a “Christianized” lifestyle and those who chose to remain “traditional.”1 As the Nansemond people were displaced from their ancestral […]

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The History of the Nansemond Indian Tribal Association

The 29th Annual Nansemond Pow Wow is just a few days away and, though most Nansemond research is focused on the 1600s through the 1800s, I thought this would be a great time to share some insight on recent Nansemond history and the people, both inside and outside the community, who have been influential in […]

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William Bass (b. 1755)—Migration into Early Camden County

Camden County was formed from the northeastern section of Pasquotank County in 1777. The county seat was originally located at “Jonesborough” (in present day Courthouse), a waterfront settlement on the Camden side of the Pasquotank River. The name was in reference to Joseph Jones, a local statesman who was the primary advocate for the creation […]

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A Case Study in Problem Solving: The Basses & The Pritchards

When I first fell in love with genealogy, I seemed to discover something new every day. My family history was full of hidden treasures and that motivated me to keep searching because rewards were so frequent. Over time, big discoveries decreased and eventually even a small discovery was a surprise. This is a discouraging yet normal […]

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The Lake Road Legacy

When your ancestors were common people from a small, rural area, you learn to set modest record expectations. I have few wills, few church records, few family bibles, and few family graveyards to walk through. Record scarcity can be discouraging but it is a normal part of genealogy and it encourages creativity and relationship building with other […]

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Ethnogenesis in the Great Dismal: The Trummell Family

The Great Dismal Swamp and its surrounding communities have an incredibly diverse history. As a near coastal region with numerous inland waterways, many different types of people traveled through, settled in, and migrated out of the area—including multiple indigenous groups and people from throughout Europe and Africa. Prior to the influx of newcomers, the identities […]

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“Who are the Sammons?”: Tips For Research Travel

After discovering the 1786 marriage bond between William Bass and Ann Sammon, learning more about the Sammon family became one of my highest research priorities. Rather than waiting until I have resolution in this area, I decided to write a post about the research process. I am far from an expert but I have traveled hundreds of miles […]

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