Descendants of the Great Dismal

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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 researchers. Your chances of finding obscure records are much better as part of an active research community than… Read More

In my early research, the life of Joel Newsom (b. 1818) was on the periphery. As the suspected brother of my third great grandfather, Henry Newsom (b. 1812), 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 Newsom as the clearest path to the probable father of all the… Read More

Although Joel Newsom is documented as a son of Moses Newsom, information about his life is relatively sparse. In the 1810 Federal Census, Joel was the head of a household of 7 other free persons in Northampton County, North Carolina. By the 1820 Federal Census, his household increased to 9 other free persons including 4 males under 14, 1 male 14-25, 1 male 26-44, 2 females 14-25, and 1 female 26-44. Based on this… Read More

North Carolina Capitol in Raleigh

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 researched so far. If you want to learn about Revolutionary War Patriots, bounty land warrants, estate distributions, Quaker relationships with free people of color and more, this series of posts is for you. In the 1850 Federal Census, there were three Newsoms living along the… Read More