Kinsearching August 10, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Well-known for her publications of genealogical records pertaining to the Tar Heel State, author Raymond Parker Fouts has completed another volume: MINUTES OF COUNTY COURT OF PLEAS AND QUARTER SESSIONS, GATES COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, 1832 - 1836. Like her previous works, the book is transcribed verbatim and contains a wealth of data.

     Experienced family researchers know that county court minutes cover a wide assortment of transactions and those for Gates County, North Carolina, during the years 1832-1836 are no exception. Among the topics included are guardian returns; apprenticeship and bastardy bonds; jury lists; civil suits; orders for registration of bills and deeds of sale; probate of wills; allotments of dower and provisions for widows and their families for one year after the death of the head of household; and appointments of administrators, auditors of accounts, guardians, constables, patrolmen, overseers of roads, sheriffs, and justices of the peace. From these records, genealogists may be able to glean facts such as names of relatives or neighbors, ages, occupations, and former places of residence. Sometimes such information is hard to find or is not available in other genealogical resources. That may be the case for families in the surrounding counties of Hertford in North Carolina and Nansemond in Virginia, both of which sustained devastating record losses. Since many of the families may have resided in Gates at one time, data about them may appear in that county's court minutes. Among the recurring surnames are BAGLEY, BEEMAN, BENTON, BLANCHARD, BRIGGS, BRINKLEY/BRINKLY, BROTHERS, COSTEN/COSTON, CROSS, EASON, EURE/EWER, GATLING, GRANBERRY/GRANBURY, HARRELL, HINTON, HOFFLER/HOFFLUR/HOFLER, ODAIM/ODAM/ODOM, RIDDICK, STALLING/STALLINGS/STALLINS, and TROTMAN/TROTMON.

     As Fouts points out in her informative preface, "of colour" may indicate either Native-American or African-American heritage. Genealogists should keep this fact in mind as they proceed in their research.

     Saving research time is Fouts's use of the table of contents and page headings to delineate the various court sessions. Instead of having to look back through previous pages until the date of the appropriate session is located, genealogists only have to glance at the top of the page or check the page numbers given for a specific session in the table of contents. Not all authors take the time to provide these helpful aids.

     Thorough indexes support the author's reputation as a fastidious compiler. Besides a full name index of all individuals, she has a separate index for female given names and even furnishes a short list of common female nicknames. A miscellaneous index lists names of apprentices, officials, companies, and newspapers specified in the records as well as references to the building and maintenance of the court house, the Revolutionary War, and diseases. The location index pertains to subjects like bridges, churches, communities, ferries, mills, plantations, roads, other states, stores, towns, and watercourses.

     By transcribing often hard-to-read court minutes, Fouts makes it easy for genealogists to delve into records they may otherwise avoid. In addition, she pays meticulous attention to detail in her preface, table of contents, page headings, and indexes--aspects that are invaluable to users of this book. MINUTES OF COUNTY COURT OF PLEAS AND QUARTER SESSIONS, GATES COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, 1832 - 1836 is a publication that can be commended by genealogists and reviewers alike.

     Containing 176 pages, the volume has soft covers. It costs $30.00 plus $2.50 postage for one book and 75 cents for each additional copy. Residents of North Carolina should also add 7% state tax to the price. To order this useful work, send your check--payable to NC Research at Home--to North Carolina Research at Home, c/o Walter R. Haun, 410 Crestview Drive, Durham, NC 27712-2335.

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