From the author: In 1777 Nash County, North Carolina was carved out of the much larger Edgecombe County. Nestled in the northeast corner of North Carolina, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Nash was home to many small farms. It lies north of the Tar River and south of Swift Creek and has two towns: Nashville, the county seat, and Rocky Mount. Dozens of small creeks and rivers worm through the coniferous forests and swamps that comprise the landscape. Other than farming, the main industry of the area was turpentine and tar manufacturing, and some lumber operations.
In 1909, a local genealogical group published a series of county histories for northeast North Carolina. Families of Early North Carolina is separated into three sections. The first section is a narrative describing the people and adventures of the county. This part was enjoyable and gossipy, although I am suspicious of the accuracy of some of the birth and marriage dates provided. The authors may have guessed. However, it was rich with family connections and with personal stories, many of them not complementary to those involved. I briefly included bits that would provide interest (murders, suspected murders, family feuding, illnesses and drunkenness, etc), hoping to tip researchers off to the existence of other family records that might be found in court proceedings or newspapers.
The second and third sections are a compilation of biographical facts grouped by family. These two parts seem to have been purchased through subscription, with the families providing the data themselves. The second section is made up of white families and the third of black families. While the data abstracted from these sections is probably quite accurate, I have noted irregularities. Often two siblings have differing opinions on family origins, or a child might guess at grandparent's birth date, not realizing how seriously researchers would take them a hundred and fifty years later.
This database should be helpful to those who have ancestors in the Nash County, North Carolina area. As genealogists interested in the south already know, so many of the primary documents for this area have been forever lost or destroyed. This database helps fill in some blanks spots. Because families didn't move much and inter-married often, discovering one ancestor usually leads to discovering many, many more. This is particularly true in the case of African-American families. The database contains over 30,000 names in a county that for much of this time period only contained about 9,000-10,000 people.
One final note: the spelling of names in this database are as they appear in the book. The names often don't match up with other available records, but seem to have been tinkered with by the editors of the book. For example, all the Boons, Meltons, and Joiners seem to have become Bone, Milton and Joyner. People in my family who have consistently been labelled as Nicey or Dossey show up as Annice and Dawson. Zobedia seems to have been used instead of Beedie. If you can't find your Sallie, try Sarah, or Martha for Atsey and Patty, and Margaret for Daisey. Names such as Mason, Applewhite, Archie, William and Alsey are used interchangeably for males and females. When the gender is clear I have made a notation, otherwise, be careful of making assumptions.
The book from which this database was abstracted came from a collection long held by my family. The books spent decades in boxes in basements and attics and were subjected to harsh conditions, including a
flood. Some of them are in very bad condition, held together by rubberbands or in shreds. Until recently I was unaware of how hard to find some of the books might be. It may be the only other copies can be found in old book shops or from out of print dealers. However, I am willing to do look ups when possible or answer questions.
For inquiries regarding a specific entry in this database, the provider, Cynthia Herrin, can be contacted by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.