Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blog Caroling 2013: Mary Did You Know

by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene
Sung by CeeLo Green, on The Bible

The Christmas Season is once more upon us, and what is it that we hear? 
Is there anything positive out there? 
Or is it all squabbling over who said this, or who did that? 
Is there any peace in our homes...our communities...our towns, cities and nations? 
Or is this a time of unrest? 
Do you have that same child-like expectancy of Christmas morn as when you were a child? And were they really "the good old days?" 
And if so, for whom?
I am finding more and more the older I get that Christmas was just the beginning...
A time at the end of our calendar to help us to refocus on the true meaning of our existence. 
And as we enter a new year...2014...will it bring us closer to the Reason for the Season?
It is my earnest prayer that friends...and my brothers and sisters in Christ...will rekindle that flame that once burned with a that all may see your light shine that they, too, might know Him...Jesus.
Mary did you know...

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will make a blind man see?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the mute will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Estate File of William Carter (1867): An Index

"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 Aug 2013), William Carter, 1867; 32 Images.

1/32: Folder: Carter, William  1867
2/32: June 5, 1917: S.R. Street, Commissioned Notary Public, Craven County, NC
3/32: June 11, 1917: Oath of Notary Public/S.R. Street
4/32: S.R. Street Qualified June 11/1917
5/32: Application of Guardian, Guardian's Oath and Letters of Guardianship: Effie Carter Dove: June 1, 1917
6/32: Application Cover
7/32: 11 March 1867: On petition of Rachel G. Carter, widow of Wm Carter, One Year Provisions
8/32: Writ to lay off year's provisions: $265
9/32: Petition "to have her year's support out of the estate of her said husband [William Carter] set apart to her so much of the crop, stock, and provisions, belonging thereto, as may be adequate to support herself and her family for one year". March Term, 1867.
10/32: Petition Cover
11/32: Court Costs or administrating one year's provisions
12/32: 27 July 1868: Court Order to Sheriff to bring in the taxed monies assessed to Rachel G. Carter in the amount of $10.67, on the second Monday of March next.
13/32: James E. Flemming, Sheriff of Craven County, attended by the following Jury of good and lawful men...proceeded on the 26th day of May lay off and allot to Rachael Carter her dower and thirds in the lands of William Carter...South Side of Neuse River, West Side of Clubfoots Creek, adjoining to the lands of John [George] and brothers...twenty-five acres.
14/32: Cover sheet
15/32: Petition for Dower: Rachel G. Carter vs. Heirs at Law of William Carter
16/32: Cover sheet
17/32: To James Carter: To appear in Court on 2nd Monday in June 1867
18/32: Cover for Subpoena & Copy of Petition to James Carter
19/32: To Jesse Godett: To appear in Court on 2nd Monday in June 1867
20/32: Cover for Subpoena & Copy of Petition to Jesse Godett 
21/32: To Amos Carter: To appear in Court on 2nd Monday in June 1867
22/32: Cover for Subpoena & Copy of Petition to Amos Carter
23/32: To Martha A. Godett: To appear in Court on 2nd Monday in June 1867
24/32: Cover for Subpoena & Copy of Petition to Martha A. Godett
25/32: Handwritten note on torn paper: "200 acres of land adjoining the lands of Hetty George & the Heirs at Law of Theophilus George.
26/32: To the Sheriff of Craven County: summons to form a Jury to come to the premises of William Carter's lands to lay off the Dower, one third part, of Rachel Carter
27/32: Cover: Trial: Writ to Lay off Dower for Rachel G. Carter
28/32: To the Sheriff of Craven County: to appear with a Jury of men in Court on the 2nd Monday of March 1868
29/32: Cover sheet
30/32: Paid to Wm H. Marshall, $5.00, for laying Rachel Carter's dower in lands
31/32: Petition for Dower, Cover sheet
32/32: The Petition of Rachel G. Carter, Widow of William Carter; Heirs at Law: Martha A. Godet, Jesse Godet, James Carter, Amos Carter, Cassie J. Carter, Josephus Carter, Eliza M. Carter, Isaac H. Carter, & Garrison E. Carter, the last six infants; lands adjoining Hetty George & the Heirs at Law of Theophilus George & others, "and containing by estimation about 200 acres".

Mixed Records in Estate Files: William Carter (1867)

When browsing documents in an estate file, you would think that all the records contained in that file would belong to the estate of the person recorded on the file's name. While looking at documents for the estate of my husband's 2nd great grand uncle, William Carter, I was surprised to find that the first five documents actually had nothing to do with his estate. Or was there some connection less obvious?
"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," 
index and images, FamilySearch 
( : 
accessed 29 Aug 2013), 
William Carter, 1867; Image 5/32.

To the right is the main document in question. It is an application of Guardianship made by Effie Carter Dove on behalf of James Harrington Carter, Lena Stanley Carter and Willie Benjamin Carter, dated 1 June 1917.

How does a document drawn up fifty years after the deceased's file is closed end up within that file?

Let's start by taking a look at the relationship held within this document. Effie Carter Dove. She was the daughter of Enoch & Abigail (Hyman) Hargett, b. abt. 1892. She married first William Benjamin Carter, Sr.; and following his death, she married Jacob Dove. Using this information, we can see that she was the mother of these children, Willie Benjamin Carter being named for his father, who died abt. 1911; however, she did not make the petition until she was remarried. But that still doesn't answer the question of how this document would end up in William Carter's estate file of 1867.

William Carter was the great grand uncle of William Benjamin Carter, Sr. through the George Carter, Sr. branch. Their common ancestor is Isaac Carter (md. Sarah Perkins).

While these children might be considered heirs at law of William Carter's Estate (1867), there is no direct connection made through the documents contained within the file itself.

So the question remains...why would the records of William B. Carter, Sr.'s heirs be filed in the William Carter (1867) file? Could it be something as simple as they were both named William Carter? Perhaps.

This leads me to believe that in searching for estate records, it might necessitate browsing all the records for a given surname in a given locale to weed out the possibility of other such mix-ups. Otherwise, we might overlook some valuable evidence hiding within the folder of some other deceased ancestor.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Organizing Records for Popluar Given Names: 8 Isaac's and 5 George's

A Carter by any other name...
This morning I pulled a manila envelope from the cubby in my desk, remembering that I had copies of the will of George Carter which I had received more than a year ago. I pulled out several documents which I had sorted and stored in sheet protectors. There they were: George Carter (1820), George Godett (1803), and copies of photos of the Old Newbern Courthouse at the intersection of Broad and Middle Streets, following the fire of January 15, 1861. The enclosed letter from Victor T. Jones, Jr., Special Collections Librarian at the Kellenberger Room, New Bern-Craven County Public Library, stated that the original packet had also included the will of Isaac Perkins and a number of apprenticeship indentures, which were filed previously in their respective binders.

Will the correct George please stand out...
I was excited to see George Carter's will (1755-1820) as he is the next person I am working on for my BCG narrative genealogy. 1820. As I began to check the dates, something didn't look quite right. Then I went back to the database index and re-discovered that there were five George Carters, and this one was the oldest brother of the Isaac Carter (1760-1830) who starts off my narrative...both sons of Abel Carter (1732-1806). 

He was the uncle of the George (1787-1859) I was looking for. So, since he will not appear in the BCG narrative genealogy, I will transcribe his will here.

The Will of George Carter (1820)
MF # 1548459
Craven County Wills
Bryan, Edward to Godett, William

Will of
George Carter

Craven County

Recorded in book
of Wills letter C
folios 191 & 192
Attest J. [S. Stanly]

In the Name of God Amen I George Carter of Craven County State of North Carolina being Weak in Body but of Sound Mind and perfect Memory Calling to mind that all men are mortal and hath wont to Die make this my Last will and Testament as follows to wit  Item  I Give and bequeath unto my Son Theophilus Carter thirty Acres of land being the part wher he now lives to him and his heirs forEver  Item I leave my Desire is that all the Rest of my land and all the Rest of Property to be Equally Divided between my wife and all my Children  after my lawful Debts is paid and I Do hereby [blotted out] appoint and [Nom]inate My Wife Sarah Carter and my Son Theophilus Carter my Executix (sic) and Executer (sic) to this my last will and testament where[blotted out] unto I have here unto Set my hand and Affixed my Seal this 18 21 Day of March 1820.
Signed in the presence                            his
of us                                          George X Carter (Seal)
Andrew Stewart                                    mark
Kendall  X  Stewart

Craven County Court June term AD 1820
     The foregoing last will of George Carter
was produced, and the execution by Said 
testator was proved in open Court, and in 
due form of laws by the oath of Kendall
Stewart, one of the prescribing Witnesses thereto
Ordered that Said Will be Recorded.
Attest     J. G. Stanly

Friday, August 16, 2013

"Where Am I?" .... in the process of BCG Certification

If you're currently working toward your Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) portfolio as I am, or on any large project, you probably realize how quickly time escapes us!

I started "on the clock" on May 30th, and already, the first quarter nears its end! Time to make a plan...

So far, I seem to have gotten stuck on working with an estate file which proved the relationship of a group of ancestors. Working with land divisions is interesting...but there's so much more to accomplish!
No time to let details and tangents hold me back!

I think I need to go back to the requirements page (there are seven parts to a completed portfolio), and make an outline with some established goals for completion.

First things first...

While there is an excellent section of FAQs provided by BCG for the research portfolio requirement, and also a very helpful Six-Month Cycle Timeline provided on the website, I have decided that for myself, I need to work on the kinship determination project throughout the year so I don't get caught short of my expectations by the time the alarm goes off on May 30, 2014!

  • The first thing I did was to print out a descendants report for the four generations I plan on using for my kinship determination narrative (Part 7 of the BCG Requirements). That narrowed it down to four pages of names.
  • I then broke down the list into six equal parts, keeping family groups intact, so that I now have sections to be completed by September, October, November, December, January and February. While the website offers a twelve-month timeline, I've decided to work on the six-month cycle in order to allow more time for additional research, edits and re-writes. 
  • I made a list of the types of records I needed to round out the narrative for each person, and then searched online repository indexes for those names, keeping a list of the repository name, type of record, and person connected to the record.
  • Then I printed out a copy of my genealogy software's (Legacy 7.5) Descendants Narrative for Isaac Carter, limiting the generations to four, including his. One nice thing about this is that there are blanks drawn for each missing piece of information which will alert me to find answers to these questions. 
I am fully aware that these reports do not fulfill the requirement for BCG Certification, but they do help me to remain focused on my research boundaries for this project. 


Now that I have a framework to reign me in, I hope to stay on target for the remaining nine months...enough time to birth a portfolio!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826): Division of Lands (by Consent), Images 7-10/45

"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Aug 2013), Isaac Dove, 1826.
Sometimes when studying land divisions, the numbers just don't add up....

Image 3/45: Detail
The initial petition requesting division of the lands belonging to Isaac Dove's heirs considered two lots, consisting of a total of 234 acres. The verdict was that the lands on the east would go to Isaac Dove heirs, and the lands on the west would go to Anthony Brown or William and Jacob Dove. Lot No. 1 (117 acres) belonged to Isaac Dove's heirs, and Lot No. 2 (117 acres) belonged to Anthony Brown or William and Jacob Dove.

Below is the plat of the further division of the lands. At this point, there are 5 Lots, totaling 250 acres: No. 1 (67 acres), No. 2 (67 acres), No. 3 (67 acres), No. 4 (68 acres), No. 5 (67 acres); and, an adjacent lot consisting of 150 acres belonging to Jacob & William Dove. In the description of the land division you will find that from Isaac Dove's land, each Lot went to each one of Isaac Dove's children, equally (from 336 acres)...and that the Anthony Brown portion went to Jacob and William Dove (from 117 acres). 

One problem: If we were to add up the acreage for the 5 Lots, however, we would have a total of 336 acres, and not 250 as stated here. It is apparent that additional acreage is being considered....

Check out the division below, and if you can make heads or tails out of it, please contact me.
Image 9/45: Detail
Image 7/45
Division of Land (by Consent)
Isaac Dove
Land Divisions and
Folio 47
Image 8/45
Image 9/45
State of North Carolina) Being called upon and
Image 10/45
Craven County            ) appointed by the within named parties to Survey and lay off in in lots the lands of Isaac Dove decd between the Said heirs of the Said Isaac Dove  And do by mutual consent and agreement to and with each other to have the Said lands divided in the manner and form as is expressed and Shewn by the above plat or plan, That it is to Say, Lot No 1 drawn by William Dove Beginning at a Stake in the back line Jacob and Will Doves corner runs No 7 West 34 polls thence No 85 1/2 West to the back Lot No 2 drawn by George Carter and Susanna his wife Beginning at the corner of No 1 a Stake Running No 7 West 31 poll Thence No to 85 1/2 West to the Creek Lot No 3 drawn by Stephen Gaudett and Mary his wife Over

Beginning at the corner of No 2 a Stake running No 7 West 32 poll Thence No 85 1/2 Wt. to the Creek  Lot 4 drawn by Gambo Fenno [Fenner] and Deborah his wife Beginning at the corner of No 3 a Stake running No 7 Wt 31 poll Thence 85 1/2 Wt. to Anthony Browns line
Lot No 5 drawn by Jacob Dove
Beginning at the Corner of No 4 a Stake running to the corner of the beginning of Said lands Thence to the head of Williams Branch
Thence down said branch to the Creek Thence up the creek to Spring branch thence up the branch to the line of No 4 The Said lands containing by estimation 250 Acres and Each share containing 67 acres as by calculation of Said plat We the said contracting parties do agree to and with each other to receive and take as [blotted out] Shwen in Said plan the lots Severaly drawn who mentioned in Said plan and returning as each of our distributional Share of Said lands and give up to each other all right to the claim or interest to the Said lands excepting the lots sevaly (sic) drawn by us
In Witness whereof we the Said parties have hereunto Set our hands and Seals the            of March AD 1826

Witness Samuel Potter   seal
Surveyor George     X     Carter   seal
Susanah     X     Carter   seal
Stephen     X     Godett and   seal
Mary     X     Godett   seal
Gambo Fenner   seal
John Jones   seal
Jacob     X     Dove   seal

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826), Transcription of Cover Sheet, Image 6

My first job after college was that of an office manager temp. at a molded plastics plant in Erie, Pennsylvania. In addition to my regular duties of recording bills of lading, accounts payable and receivable, and calculating payroll, I was given a project that was supposed to take me the whole of three months to complete. My task was that of organizing their paper filing system.

Three months? I had it completed within a week and a half!

After all, one of my college summer jobs had been to devise a cross-referenced filing system for our neighbor, then a professor (now a Dean) at the prestigious Smith College Graduate School for Social Work. Compared to that, this assignment had been a piece of cake. does that translate to working with estate files some thirty years later?

It starts with the transcription of the following cover sheet, Image 6/45:
Image 6/45
"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," index and images, FamilySearch 
( : accessed 08 Aug 2013), Isaac Dove, 1826.

Geo. Carter &
Als -- heirs of
Isaac Dove
A. Brown
Jacob Dove
Will. Dove
Writ of partition
Feby 1826 --
Ex'd By
Jos [Joseph] Brittain D. Sheriff
For Elijah Clark Sheriff

Image 6/45: Detail of image on right side

I had wondered why there was a partial page microfilmed with this image, and that it did not follow in sequence. So, I enlarged the detail and looked through each page of the file for the following words along the left margin:
In obe-
of the-
we fin-
Isaac D-
and sev-
to the-
As I re-read these fragments, I tried to imagine to what it must be referring...could it be: In obedience...of the...we find...Isaac Dove...stake...and the...hands...

It sounded like something I had read before... a conclusion drawn by the divide the lands. Could it be a portion of a document already transcribed?

I went back through the previous pages and discovered that it was a portion of the document microfilmed on images 3/45 and 4/45. Take a look below...the page was too large to be microfilmed in one section...and if you look closely at Image 4/45, you will notice a line which looks as though the pages had been torn apart and joined together by an insertion.

Therein lies the mystery of the missing page. 
Somehow, Image 6/45 was microfilmed out of sequence. As it appears here, it must have preceded these images. As stated in  Part 2: The Land Division and Index, the documents contained within The Estate of Isaac Dove (1826) appear to be filmed out of sequence, the earliest date being August 1824 (Images 12, 24-26, and 29-33); and the latest being filed in September 1853, but not settled until June 1857. 

In all, it took a total of 32 years, 9 months, 30 days excluding the end date, for this estate to be settled. It's amazing in itself that this final petition was made 29 years after Isaac Dove's death; but, that it took nearly four years to finalize the last petition is strange enough in itself.

Perhaps as the file unfolds through transcription and supplementary research, we might begin to understand some of the complexities of this case.

The Estate of Isaac Dove (1826): Transcription of Summons, Image 5

Summons: ....14 November 1825
"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," index and images, FamilySearch 
( : accessed 08 Aug 2013), Isaac Dove, 1826.
Image 5/45

[As you can see here, the Summons referred to in the transcription of Image 3/45 was attached to the description and plat.]

STATE OF NORTH-CAROLINA. To the Sheriff of Craven County, GREETING:

YOU are hereby commanded to summon Hardy L. Jones, James T. Jones Esquire, Gideon Jones, Joseph Davis & Benjamin Borden -------------
to me at such place and at some time before the next Court, to be held for your County, on the second Monday of February next, as to [scratched out] you shall seem fit, then and there to make partition of that part of the lands (which were formerly held in common between Isaac Dove and Anthony Brown) which belongs to the heirs of Isaac Dove and are situated in Craven County on the east side of Spring Branch. ----------------

---------------- between George Carter & Sukey his wife. Stephen Godett & Mary his wife. Gambo Fenno [Fenner] & Deborah his wife who own the lands on the east side of Spring Branch. -------------
heirs at law of Isaac Dove deceased, in severalty. Herein fail not and return the proceedings of said Commissioners in this behalf to our Court of Pleas and Quarter-Sessions to be held for your County on the second Monday of February next, together with this writ.

WITNESS, JAMES G. STANLY, Clerk of our said Court, at Newbern, the second Monday of November in the [XLV scratched out] 50th Year of our Independence,                             A.D. 1825

J. S. Stanley [signature]

Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826), Transcription of Images 2-4

Image 2/45
Partition of the Land of Dove & Brown
Plat and Description
4 February 1826
Image 3/45
"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," index and images, FamilySearch 
( : accessed 08 Aug 2013), Isaac Dove, 1826.

[NOTE: Scale: 100 poles to the inch]


Image 4/45
In obedience to the Annexed order we the undersigned commissioners have made partition of the Lands heretofore held in common between Isaac Dove & Anthony Brown we find two Hundred and thirty four acres which we divide Equally No. 1 drawn by Isaac Dove's heirs Borders at the patent corner pine and runing (sic)  So 9 E213 poles to a Stake thence No 73 We 218 pole and thence to the Beginning Counting one Hundred and seventeen acres No 2 by Anthony Brown or William and Jacob Dove Begins at a poplar the corner of the patent and runing (sic) thence No 54 E 90 poles to the corner of No. 1 thence along the line So 73 E 218 poles to the corner stake thence So 7 E 45 pole to the patent corner thence No 85 1/2 Wt 278 poles to a white oak on Cahoque (sic)  Creek thence down the creek to the Beginning Containing 117 acres   In Witness where of we have hereunto set out hands and seals this 4th day of February 1826

Hardy L. Jones        Seal
Gideon Jones           Seal
James T. Jones        Seal
Benj. Borden           Seal

Below (left) is a closeup of the plat (Image 3/45). Compare it to the Google Map satellite image (right).

Cahooque Creek, NC
Imagery copyright 2013 Digital Globe

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826), Part 2: The Land Division and Index

Last time we looked at this particular file, we were looking for relationship connections.  Petition made by "George Carter & others" provided us with the names of Isaac Dove's (FPOC) children and their spouses:

  1. George Carter and his wife, Susannah/Susan/Sukey (Dove),
  2. Gambo Fenner and his wife, Deborah/Debby (Dove),
  3. Stephen Gaudett/Godette and his wife, Mary (Dove),
  4. William Dove and his wife Rebecca (Godette),
  5. Jacob Dove.
On this occasion, we'll be looking at the land division for two tracts of land: the first being on Cahooque Creek, the second along Clubfoot Creek. To complicate matters, the petitions and court records do not appear to be assembled within the file in chronological order. So, the first task will be to put the images into order by date.

"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979,"
index and images, 
( :
accessed 05 Aug 2013), Isaac Dove, 1826.
Index of documents as found within the file:
Images 2-4/45: Partition of the Land of Dove & Brown/Plat & Description/4 February 1826

Image 5/45: Summons: Hardy L. Jones, James T. Jones Esqr., Gideon Jones, Joseph Davis & Benjamin Borden/RE: Lands on east side Spring Branch/14 November 1825

Image 6/45: George Carter &. Al.--heirs of Isaac Dove vs. A. Brown, Jacob Dove, Will. Dove/Writ of Petition/February 1826

Images 7-10/45: Division of Lands (by Consent) vs. Isaac Dove/Plat, Folio 47/March 1826

Image 11/45: Receipt from Isaac Doves' Heirs to Hardy Jones for Survey & Plat/4 February 1826

Image 12/45: Summons: Anthony Brown, William Dove & Jacob Dove/9 August 1824

Image 13/45: George Carter &. al. vs. Will. Dove & others/Subpena to return/November 1824

Image 14/45: Appointment of Commissioners to divide land/undated

Image 15/45: Summons: Hardy L. Jones, James T. Jones Esq., Gideon Jones, Joseph Davis and Benjamin Borden/8 Aug 1825

Image 16/45: George Carter & wife & other heirs of Isaac Dove/Writ of Petition/November 1825/RE: Summoned to Meet 28 October 1825/Rec'd Sept. 12th

Image 17/45: Summons: Hardy L. Jones, James T. Jones Esq., Gideon Jones, Joseph Davis and Benjamin Borden/9 May 1825

Image 18/45: Geo. Carter & wife & others, heirs of Isaac Dove/Writ of Petition/August 1825/The parties summoned but did not act/Rec'd June 19 [1825]

Image 19/45: Receipt: William Physioc charges A. Brown/17 February 1825

Image 20/45: To the Sheriff: Command to summon William Physioc & Isaac Lewis behalf of Anthony Brown/trial date 14 February 1825/8 November 1824

Image 21/45: Geo. Carter & wife vs. Anthony Brown & al./February 1825

Image 22/45: Summons: Hardy L. Jones, John Allways, William Physioc, Joseph Physioc Esquire & Clairborne Ivey Esquire/8 November 1824

Image 23/45: George Lewis by his next friend vs. Heirs of John Godett/Writ of Petition/May Term 1824/The Surveyor could not possibly attend to make partition before this term

Image 24-26/45: Summons: William Dove/9 August 1824/Writ of Petition attached: George Carter & wife, & al.

Images 27-28/45: Answer from the Defendant/11 November 1824

Images 29-30/45: Writ of Petition: George Carter & wife, Stephen Gaudet & wife, Gambo Fenner & wife vs. Anthony Brown, Jacob Dove & William Dove/August 1824

Images 31-33/45: Summons: Jacob Dove/9 August 1824/Writ of Petition attached: George Carter & al./Made know by reading the within to Jacob Dove

Image 34/45: Summons: Thomas J. Physioc, Benjamin F. Borden, William Temple, David Dickerson, and Jeremiah Parsons/8 December 1851

Image 35/45: Henry J. Lovick, Deborah Fenner, Stephen Gaudet & wife, George Carter & wife/Writ of Petition/8 March 1852

Image 36/45: Court fees assessed: $20.90/21 May 1857

Image 37/45: Office vs. Henry J. Lovick 1/4, Debra Fenner 1/4, Stephen Gaudet & wife 1/4, {Arnett Dove, Geo. Carter & Wm. Carter 1/4}/June 1857

Image 38/45: Summons: Thomas J. Physioc, Benjamin F. Borden, William Temple, David Dickerson, & Jeremiah Parsons/8 March 1852

Image 39/45: Henry J. Lovick, Deborah Fenner & others/Writ of Petition/June 1852

Image 40/45: Summons: Thomas J. Physioc, Benjamin F. Borden, William Temple, David Dickerson and Jeremiah Parsons/8 September 1851

Image 41-44/45: Henry J. Lovick, George Carter, Stephen Gaudet, & others/Writ of Petition/December 1851

Image 45/45: Henry J. Lovick & others to Court/Petition for Partition/Filed September Term 1853/[8] June Term 1857

Conclusions & next step:
It would seem to me that if I were to order the above documents to chronological order, I might be able to make more sense of the progress of this land partition dispute. One note of interest, by Image 37/45 dated March 1852, Deborah Fenner's husband, Gambo, is no longer named with her, leading me to believe that he died before this dispute was ever finalized. 

Overall, it appears that one dispute took roughly two years to settle (1852-1854). The second action took approximately six years to settle (1851-1857). 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826), Craven County, North Carolina

In all, there are forty-five images in the Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826). Each page contains clues to various aspects of his life and his hundred eighty-seven years ago.

This particular series of images is a petition of William Dove and the Heirs of Isaac Dove to the Craven County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.

Without printing the images, I find it easier to keep the image available in another window, enlarged enough to see the detailed elements of penmanship, in a tab directly next to your work station tab.

There are a few portions of the document which I have been unable to decipher. Those portions are contained within brackets.

Image 24/45
TO William Dove            Greeting:
For certain causes offered before the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, for the County of Craven; We Command and enjoin you, the said William Dove that laying all other matters aside, and notwithstanding any excuse, you personally appear before the Worshipful, the Justices of our said Court, at the Court to be held for the County of Craven, at the Court-house at Newbern, on the second Monday of November next, to answer concerning those things which shall be then and there objected to you, in and by the petition of George Carter & others (a copy of which said petition is hereto annexed) and further to do and receive what our said Court shall consider in this behalf, and this you shall no wise omit, as in case of your failing to appear, the said petition will be taken pro confesso and heard accordingly.
Witness, JAMES G. STANLY, Clerk of our said Court, at Newbern, the second Monday of August in the 49th Year of our Independence, A.D. 1824.
J.S. Stanly [signature]

[NOTE: The top page is stapled to the petition, thereby hiding the words in the top left corner of the document.]

Image 25/45
[To the] Worshipful the Justices of Craven County
[hidden] The Petition of George Carter & Sukey his wife,
[Steph]en Gaudet and Mary his wife, Gambo Fenno (sic) &
[De]borah his wife humbly sheweth that I [save]
[   ]ave late of Craven County, and one Anthony
Brown also of said County were seized in fee as tenants in common, in equal interest, of two tracts of land in Craven County which were conveyed to them by deed from Benners Vail on the 6th day of January 1803, one piece situate on the east side of Cahooky Creek, begins at a large Poplar & runs N. 59 E. 127 poles to a small pine, No. 36 Wt. 128 poles to Handcock's line callest the Cooper land, then So. 59 West 127 poles to the Creek, then with the same to the beginning containing 100 acres. The other piece begins at a pine in Handcock's line & runs So. 70 E. 240 poles to a pine, then No. 85 1/2 Wt. 278 poles [  ] a white oak on Cahooky Creek, then down the [  ]un of the branch, then to the first station estimated [ ]o contain 200 acres. The said Isaac Dove died
[ ]n the year             intestate, and his undivided half [ ]f said two tracts descended to his children theirs [ ]t law vis your petitioners Sukey, Mary & Deborah. & to Jacob Dove & William Dove [ ]hence became seized in fee, as tenants in common [ ]ach of one fifth part of the one undivided half part of said lands. Your petitioners further shew, that Anthony Brown has as they are informed conveyed some part of said lands, to the said Jacob Dove & William Dove, but no division having ever been made, the said Jacob & William hold on the said Brown [lets(?)] the same undivided & in common your Petitioners desire that Partition of said lands should be made & their respective shares thereof be assigned them in severalty. We pray that commissioners may be [a]ppointed for that purpose and that the said [A]nthony Brown, and the said Jacob Dove & William Dove may be summoned to shew cause, if any they have, wherefor the prayer of

Image 26/45
your Petitioners should not be granted. And they will ever pray. JS Stanly [      ]
for Petitioners

Made known by
[              ] the [            ] to
Wm  Dove ----------
J C. [           ]
by ---- A.W. Seabrook [   ]

The next step...Benners Vail
It might prove helpful to inquire a the Craven County Register of Deeds for a copy of the deed mentioned within these pages. I had never heard of a man named Benners Vail before, so I decided to look him up on He appears in to 1800 U.S. Federal Census as a white man, between the ages of 16 and 26, living in Craven County, the owner of 38 slaves.

It appears that he was married to Frances Mary Nash in 1802, and then to Elizabeth Lente in 1804.

Contributed to FindAGrave
by Blount Researcher
(inactive since Nov. 2011)
The daughter of Benners and Elizabeth Vail was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern, North Carolina. It would be wonderful to get a full transcription of this amazing burial stone. The only portion the contributor gave was Sarah Benners Vail: Born December 5, 1812; Died September 17, 1826. In the 14th year of her age, daughter of Benners and Elizabeth Vail.

Estate File of Benners Vail (1816): Land Holdings
The online holdings of the Craven County Public Library provide no records for Benners Vail. However, I was able to locate his estate file at The file dated (1816) contains 123 images. According to these records, his heir was his daughter, Sarah B. Vail. It is interesting to see that he had purchased 50 acres from George Perkins, 400 acres from William George, 100 acres from Peter Physioc, 100 acres from Samuel Cook, 193 acres from Chris Neal, 200 acres from Stephen Mahaws (?), 120 acres from Jas. Reed, two tracts containing 196 acres from John Benners, 80 acres from Jas. Bell, "together with five hundred acres lying on a creek known by the name of Cahooky, also the mills and other improvements lying on Long Creek--containing in all--one thousand one hundred and thirty-nine acres be the same more or less. We also allot to Sarah B. Vail the following property lying in the town of Newbern viz: Lott No. four hundred at the corner of East Front St. and Change St. (80 by100).

Image 10/123 outlines his complete holdings:
1393 acres on Long Creek = Saw & Grist Mill & other buildings
1832 acres on Clubfoot Creek = dwelling houses
720 acres on Cahooky Creek
500 acres on Handcocks' Creek
360 acres on Bogue Banks in Carteret County
3 acres in Dry Borough in Craven County
Also, 4 lots in Newbern: Part of Lot 410, Part of Lot 414, Part of Lot No. One on Front Street, and part of Lot No. 2 on Broad Street.

It appears that his widow, Eliza (Lente) Vail and Michael Lente, petitioned the court against the inheritance of Sarah Frances Benners Vail in March 1816. The sale of Vail's personal property spanned a six-page inventory, amounting to a total of $3220.50.

Slaves of Benners Vail

Image 23/123
I am including the following with the hope that it might assist any researchers of the slaves descending from the Benners Vail Estate. Image 23/123 is entitled, "Valuation of Negroes, belonging to the Estate of Benners Vail Esquire died made thy 31st day of December 1817,"  records the name, age and trade of each slave, a total valuation of $17300. A number of the slaves were granted to his widow, Mrs. Eliza Vail, and valued at $5750. The remaining slaves were to be "divided" by the rest of the Heirs, and payment made to her for them.
Image 24/123

Benner's daughter,Sarah, was only four years old when she came into her inheritance; and, ten years later, she too died.

Contributed to FindAGrave by Bernd Doss, May 12, 2008,
Memorial #26777013
The 1850 Census, the last time her mother, Eliza Vail, was enumerated (at age 66), records that she had been born in New York. Also living in her household is Dr. Jas. B. Emery and family. Apparently, she never remarried. On August 28, 1850, twenty-nine slaves of the original thirty-seven remained on her estate.

Eliza Vail died at the age of 71 on November 12, 1853.

Using Estate Files to Document Family Relationships on


The other day I had a Facebook exchange with a fellow genealogist regarding the valuable resource of This researcher was looking for estate records for South Carolina, and since my husband's maternal line descends from Horry County, I continued to tell her about the records on, until I rediscovered why I had chosen to work on my husband's paternal line from North Carolina:
not all states' records are represented equally on the site, by far! 

Browsing records by location
In case you've never searched using the "browse the records" method, here is the process:

  1. After signing in and clicking on the "Search" option, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the country file you would like to explore. For this purpose, I'll be clicking on "United States."
  2. On the left side of the screen you will find a listing of states to select from. I'll be clicking on "South Carolina" for the purpose of this demonstration.
  3. There are two options provided for Probate Records here: "Bound Volumes, 1671-1977", and "Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964." This looks promising!
  4. First we'll take a look at the Bound Volumes. Robert Livingston, the master of Frank Livingston and family, lived in Little River, Horry, South Carolina, USA. So, let's take a look and see if we can find Horry County here. Click on "Browse Images." Sadly, you will find that Horry County is not among the available records.
  5. So, let's go back and search "Files and Loose Papers." Again, Horry County is not listed here. The available records are from the following counties: Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Barnwell, Charleston, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Fairfield, Greenville, Lancaster, Laurens, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Oconee, Richland, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg, and York
Browsing North Carolina records, Name variations
North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979 contains 4, 120, 631 images. Currently, I am working on Carter, Dove and Perkins records; but, the primary emphasis at this time is the Estate File of Isaac Dove. 

He was the father of three women who married into the Carter, Fenner and Godette families, and two sons who married Carter and Gaudett women. Note the two different spellings of the Godette family here; yet, they are of the same family. Another spelling variation I have found is Godett. Sometimes there are spelling variations for the same people within the same document. The same is true of given names, evident especially in Isaac Dove's daughter Susannah's name variations: Susannah, Susan and Sukey.

The county records are organized alphabetically by surname. 

What's coming up on In Black and White...
While some of the records I will be sharing here on the blog are related to my BCG porfolio, I will not be discussing them within the context of the family. That would be a violation of the terms of certification. I will, however, share transcriptions of records I am working on. 

As far as building my family tree documentation within Legacy 7.5, I will share with you how I've attached records to the individuals recorded within the pages of the estate files. This can be done with other databases as well. By keeping record images attached to the vital and event statistics they support, it becomes easier to work on proving relationship and establishing estimated dates when no specifics are stated.

I hope you'll return soon!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Using Care When Shaking Your Leaves

I don't know about you, but I get just a bit peeved each time I see one of's television commercials. This one from 2009 is not as simplistic as many of the current TV ads, but it is still misleading.

Believe me, it's not that simple! I have been using since 2002, and while it has made my research so much easier than it was for my Grand Aunt Helen (Newton) Beers in the 1940s, one person's error can be replicated in a dozen other family trees as quickly as select, review, and save.

While it is possible occasionally to find a well-sourced tree with photos and stories, I have only had that happen perhaps twice for the hundreds of surnames I have researched.

Advertisements appealing to specific ethnicities
The  "Born A Slave...Died a Businessman" ad (2011) geared for the African American community spawned a host a negative reactions, from discussions on racism to extreme parodies. One man asked a great question...
"If your ancestor had died a slave would you have been any less proud?" 
Specializing in African-American ancestry poses some unique challenges in digging up ancestral roots. The parodies all tend to focus on the obviousness of African slavery...but how many would naturally look for their Black ancestors as land holding Free Persons of Color during the Colonial period? It appears that the bias slants toward the second wave of slave importation during the Antebellum period. But what about all those who came before?

Shaking leaves on your family tree
Without getting into a debate on African-American history, allow me to explain why genealogists--researching ancestors of any nationality and ethnicity--must use care when shaking the leaves of the family tree.

As do some genealogists, I have several places where I have family trees posted:
  1. Family Tree Heritage Deluxe (my first family tree software used to make a working model to test hypotheses),
  2. (used to make living descendant connections),
  3. (used to make initial document connections to names in my tree and make living descendant connections), and
  4. Legacy 7.5 (the software I'm using to format a more professional tree).
You might start by roughing out your tree with just the names you find in a sourced pedigree, adding documents as you go. But if you continue long enough in this manner, you may eventually wind up with a lot of unproven relationships, and ultimately, some completely wrong family connections as did several researchers attempting to make a connection to my husband's African-American family tree.

Somewhere, something went terribly wrong! The hypothesized progenitors were white slave owners of the same surname...the main problem being that my husband's ancestors had Christian names before coming to America, and they were not named for their masters. To add insult to injury, these white forerunners weren't even from the same locality. The only thing connecting them was a surname, and a list of several similar given names of children.

Even if you don't hold fast to some fantastic connection that seems too good to be true, you may (as I have) come across a birth date (or other vital statistic) which is completely unsupported. Years later you may find it and ask yourself, Now how did I come up with that date? 

When I realized that I had placed it in my tree, unsourced, from a published genealogy, I immediately contacted the author of the tree and asked him,
"What was the general rule of thumb you used to determine approximate years of birth when no age was mentioned in the marriage bond, no will was left, and no age mentioned in the probate records?"
The response was,
"Absent any other information, I assumed a husband a wife, married at about 21, and then children spaced about 1 1/2 to 2 years apart."
Available on
The Genealogical Proof Standard
So, now I take up the task of re-evaluating the evidence to see if I might be able to make a more correct estimation based upon facts. The only way to ensure accuracy is to follow the five steps of the genealogical proof standard.

Family Search offers a free audio lesson, complete with course handout, on this subject by Presenter Christine Rose, author of The Genealogical Proof Standard: Building A Solid Case.
Below are the five guidelines she outlines in her book and in this audio lesson:
  1. Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search.
  2. Complete, accurate source citation.
  3. Analyze & correlate information to assess its quality as evidence.
  4. Resolve conflicts caused by contradictory pieces of evidence.
  5. Arrive at a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.
As Ms. Rose states, it is so easy to overlook this last part. We must keep a written research record of what hypotheses we make along the way where apparently conflicting evidence exists, and discuss what records we used to prove or disprove, and the results of the search. 

If I had done this in my working model when I first started, I wouldn't now be undertaking the monumental  task of re-evaluation!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Reading of MAAGI and Sharpening My Own Focus

I've been a follower of my good friend and distant cousin-in-law's gen blog for several years now;  but yesterday, Yvette Porter Moore posted to her newly formatted blog, The Ancestors Have Spoken because of a challenge she had received while attending the first Mid-Western African American Genealogy Institute in St. Louis, Missouri.

As I read of how she connected with a piece of her adopted father's past, my mood shifted to melancholy and I began thinking about my platform....and my Daddy. My dad died of metastatic optic melanoma in 2004. During his four-year battle, we enjoyed many times when we could just talk about the things on our hearts. We covered everything from writing, photography & painting to the Bible.

After his death, I inherited his photograph studies of trees, sky, water, rocks and the like. Some are prints, but there were also volumes and volumes of 35 mm slides. So yesterday I pulled that tote from my family archive, which is now housed within an armoire  kept in my office.

A Ride Along the Delaware
I sat down in the living room with the tote setting on the floor before me, and removed the black lid to find a stack of black and white photos right on top. As I sifted through them, I came across a color photo of my grandparents, Mark & Abby Silverman, at the wishing well...a photo I had searched for quite unsuccessfully some time before our move. But now, here it is.

The black and whites were from a study Dad had done on trees and water combined. He was a professional photographer and painter, and had taught art for over twenty years. How I remember going with him and Mom on family outings (I'm an only child), and having to wait for him to get just the right lighting and exposure on some of these photos! Trees had always been a favorite subject of my own, and as a young writing student, I had written several poems about trees.

And so, as I thought about my genealogy platform in light of working on my certification portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), I began to think about my professional presence. I chatted online and emailed Thomas MacEntee of High-Definition Genealogy (and probably more well known for his platform on GeneaBloggers) this week regarding establishing service fees and contractual releases for client work, and he was most helpful!

As I looked at my business cards, I began to think about letterhead, of all things. And even those include the theme of trees. One of the favorite poems Mom used to recite to me when I was a child was Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees:
I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree....

And so trees it is...and black and white to fit with the platform of cross-cultural studies. The photo in this blog header was taken by my Dad, Richard A. Newton, somewhere in New York State, sometime between the 1960s to the 1980s. And so, I've come full circle once again.

Thanks, Dad, for your love of trees....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

4 Tips For Proving Your Family Tree

BCG Kinship Determination Project
Last week I revealed the start of a new phase in my genealogical endeavors...BCG Certification. This is a one year project whereby I assemble seven parts of a portfolio, and submit it to be judged for professional credentials. My deadline for submission is 
May 30, 2014.

I suppose some or even most people might prepare each section of the portfolio consecutively: 
  1. Genealogist's Code
  2. Background Resume
  3. BCG Supplied Document Work
  4. Applicant Supplied Document Work
  5. Research Report Prepared for a Client
  6. Case Study: Conflicting or Indirect Evidence
  7. Kinship-Determination Project.
However, the combination of management multi-tasking skills and ADHD make for the perfect solution of thinking and planning for all seven categories at once, while making strides on the one part of the process I believe to be most demanding and time consuming...the kinship-determination project.

Tip #1: Organize, organize, organize
Since I've been compiling sources for my husband's family tree since 2005 and have relocated several times during that period, I have tried to (at least I thought I did) file my documents carefully in binders by family groups. But when I began checking each fact in my family tree database, I discovered that not every document was in its proper place. So, the first tip is to organize all paper documents according to family groups as soon as you print them. This saves you from the hassle of hunting them up and wasting precious time on your project.

Tip #2: Scan, upload & attach you've organized all those photocopies and printed documents into your paper file system. Now what?! The next thing you should do is scan existing paper documents, or download digital documents; and then, upload & attach them to the individuals in your family tree database. This makes life so much easier when working on your proofs.

Tip #3: Make research notes
Alright. Everything is now in its proper place. Now what? What do you do with all those vital records, census sheets, land deeds, wills and probate documents now that they're attached? Is that it? Not quite. The next step is to abstract & analyze the facts. Do your documents really prove your conclusions? I discovered that I had written down a date of death for one ancestor, but because I didn't make any notes at the time I entered the data, I couldn't remember how I came to that conclusion. And after looking at all the records I had in front of me, there were still some missing pieces to the proof puzzle. A good place to put these notes is in the research notes section for that individual in your database. 

Tip #4: Enter complete source info
There's not much worse than trying to remember where you got that fact seven or ten years ago! While my usual practice is to put printed documents in a sleeve protector affixed with a label, including: 
  • Author(s)
  • Title
  • Publisher, place & date
  • Volume & page number
  • Repository
  • Date found
...there have been instances where I was in a hurry, as when printing obituaries from microfilm at a library when on vacation.... In some of those cases I may have put all the pages into an envelope marked with some crude penciled-in notes, i.e. the reel #, newspaper & date...or maybe not...and later on, the more those documents got handled the more likely I was to lay them aside and forget about performing the steps above. Days, months or even years later I now find myself questioning:
Now why did I get this document? Where does it belong?
So, the best way to avoid trouble is to carefully write the bibliographic info onto the back of each document as soon as you print it, and then follow the above steps at your earliest convenience.

You may think you have a pretty well proven family tree, but if your relationships and events are not fully documented, abstracted, analyzed and sourced, you may run into problems down the branch!