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Old Homes Collapsing Before Our Eyes
Some home just get all used up. It looks like this one in Washington County supported a rather large family and their surrounding land. After the railroad bulleted its way through the countryside beginning in the 1840s, families were no longer isolated and deserted their farms in search of richer soil. Then, a lack of labor after the civil war disrupted the agricultural economy of the South. Eventually, by about 1900, families moved into the cities where they found work in cotton mills. It is sad to see one of these old homes falling in disrepair and the story of its demise before your eyes. It may bear investigation into the county records to learn more.
Genealogy Errors that Blow our MindWhile examining the resources from individual entries on Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org, one must realize that estimated birth and death dates are not necessarily accurate. You may see several entries of he same person with a variety of birth years. It is amazing how these things get accepted and passed on as fact. And the birth year is not the only error being rendered; the places of births and deaths are often contradictory. That makes our job more difficult. The best thing to do is start fresh, from our own last ancestor, and search all the records where he resided. Then trace forward using actual records as proofs, generation-by-generation.
The tax digest is a solid means of identifying the neighbors of ancestors. Each district has a representative (usually a captain) who lists the names and acreage in his neighborhood. And it is certainly worth the effort to make a copy of this neighborhood, because these people will confirm that you have the correct ancestor. Example. Suppose that your ancestor was one of the John Smith's in the county. A search of the deeds, wills, estates and marriages could easily create a disaster. That is why the names of the neighbors are so important. They witnessed documents, deeded properties, and married daughters and sons. A deed for John Smith which contains some of the names from your ancestor's district will help clarify that you have the correct John Smith. Common names were frequently used in the old days and it is easy to get confused. Now, suppose there is a daughter who married a John Smith. It is very important to ascertain his exact birth and death dates, and the local church graveyard is a good source for this. One must be exacting in the details, because confusion is always nearby!
Washington County Genealogy Records
Washington County was formed in 1799 from the western third of Tyrrell County. It was named for George Washington. County seat is Plymouth, North Carolina.
Records Available to Members
- List of Miscellaneous Records at North Carolina State Archives 1867 to 1933
- List of Guardians 1870 to 1941
- List of Estates 1869 to 1959