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 Quarter: A Nickens Nucleus

Jarvis Jones (originally of Norfolk County, VA) was a man of great influence in Pasquotank County, NC. In 1754 he was a field officer in the Pasquotank County Militia at the onset of the French and Indian War and his brother (?) Nehemiah Jones was captain of the third company “on the Fork Creek on the North side […]

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Charles Gardner Trafton (b. 1760)

I am a Trafton descendant through my third great grandmother Eliza Trafton (b. 1820). Eliza was born free which is evident through her presence in the 1850 Federal Census (as the wife of Henry Newsom); however, little is known about her early life. In an effort to learn about Eliza’s lineage, I have begun to […]

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David Leary Pritchard (b. 1807)

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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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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Hidden Influences on Migration: The Hall & Nickens Families

On my first research trip to North Carolina, I went to the Camden County Register of Deeds and searched for one surname—Bass. I am a Bass and I had a list of verified Bass ancestors so it was the natural thing for a new genealogist to do. As I processed the information from the deeds I found […]

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Joel Newsom—Senior & Junior

In my early research, the life of Joel Newsom was on the periphery. As the suspected brother of my third great grandfather, Henry Newsom, he was always a person of interest but never the focal point. After collecting a wide variety of records and slowly integrating decades of information, I came to see the life of Joel […]

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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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