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 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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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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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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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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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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Pioneer Life: Migration from North Carolina to Free States

Paul Heinegg’s website is frequently used as a genealogical reference but it also contains a collection of invaluable narrative history. Recently I stumbled upon the autobiography of Thomas P. Weaver, born in Guilford County, NC in 1841. The awe-inspiring account of his life as a pioneer from North Carolina to Indiana covers more than eighty […]

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The Nansemond of the Great Dismal

The Nansemond are a Native American tribe whose ancestral land surrounds the Nansemond River in southeastern Virginia. During the early 1600s, the tribe was part of the Powhatan Paramount Chiefdom along with approximately thirty other Algonquian-speaking tribes in the area. The arrival of English settlers and the subsequent Anglo-Powhatan Wars led to the loss of land […]

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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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