Joseph Bass (b. 1766-1784) of Arenuse Creek

Camden, NC Courthouse

Alchemy has a specific meaning in chemistry but, in a more general sense, it is the “process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.” This post will provide insight into how to turn records, seemingly of little value (i.e. those that do not explicitly state relationships), into […]

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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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Thomas Bass (b. 1785)

Bass Lake Road

In the 1800 Federal Census, William Bass (b. 1755) was listed with a household of seven—one male over 45 (born before 1755), one female 26-44 (born between 1756 and 1774), one male 10-15 (born between 1785-1790), and four females under 10 (born between 1790-1800). The current collection of evidence suggests that Thomas Bass was the young […]

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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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Cascading Cases: The Newsom Family

In genealogy, the last will and testament is a fundamental record. It generally names an individual’s spouse, children, and sometimes other relatives and friends. Unfortunately, many more people die intestate (without will) than testate (with will)—forcing genealogists to search for other types of evidence to prove familial relationships. So, what is the next best thing […]

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Three Newsoms

North Carolina Capitol in Raleigh

Though the Basses were the first family presented on this site, the Newsoms are a related family with a fascinating story that extends far beyond the Great Dismal Swamp. Henry Newsom (b. 1812) is my third great grandfather and the journey to locate his family has taught me more about genealogy than any other ancestor I have […]

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Into Virginia

Virginia Capitol in Richmond

After a few productive research trips in North Carolina, I finally had enough information to extend my search into Virginia. From a physical perspective, it is much closer to where I was raised but, from a chronological perspective, Virginia has always been much further from my documented family relationships. It was exciting to have specific people […]

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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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