Kinsearching August 20, 2006




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

     READ ALL ABOUT IT! Raymond Parker Fouts announces another new book of newspaper material--ABSTRACTS FROM THE EDENTON GAZETTE AND FARMER'S PALLADIUM, EDENTON, NORTH CAROLINA, 1830 - 1831. Like most newspapers of the time, this weekly publication included a wide assortment of news items, both local and national, which Fouts reproduces verbatim and with original punctuation.

     Although the paper was printed in the town of Edenton, the county seat of Chowan County, so-called "local" news also pertained to the surrounding counties of Bertie, Currituck, Gates, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington. The paper gleaned state news from other North Carolina newspapers while national and international news came from papers published in the larger American ports.

     Because of the vast array of information, researchers never know what interesting historical facts or genealogical "gold nuggets" they may discover. For instance, the death notice of Revolutionary War veteran David WILLIAMS in Rensselaerville, NY, appears in the August 31, 1831, issue. Several articles name people involved on both sides of the slave insurrection known as the "Nat Turner Rebellion."

     Newspaper information is important since it puts families in a certain place at a specific date and may supply clues about individuals who have moved elsewhere. For example, the death notice of 26-year-old Silvanus HOWETT in Kentucky states that he was formerly of Edenton.

     Since North Carolina did not begin keeping vital statistics records until 1913, newspaper data about marriages, divorces, and deaths help to fill in the information gap. Even more important, several of the marriages reported in the newspaper were never entered in the appropriate county records and sometimes contain more details than those that were.

     A trademark of Fouts's work is her thorough indexes. In addition to a full name index of all people, she has a separate index for female names, both maiden and married. In addition to counties, towns, and foreign countries, the location index includes subjects like bridges, churches, and schools.

     The fourth index concerns miscellaneous categories such as agriculture, clerks of court, companies, deaths, fires, diseases, divorces, Indians, judges, marriages, masonic lodges, militia, newspapers, occupations, postmasters, sheriffs, societies, steamboats, and weather. Looking through old newspapers demonstrates that the saying "the more things change, the more they remain the same" contains much truth. Edenton's September 14, 1831, issue carries news extracted from the New Orleans newspaper concerning a violent storm that hit the city in August: "The Levee is injured to an immense amount, and at this moment Lake Ponchartrain has so swollen as to inundate the whole of the rear of the city up to Rampart street...." Additional details also remind us of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005: "The water...intercepted all land communication with the streets beyond; there are three feet of water in Treme Street, and four feet have been measured somewhat farther. Every thoroughfare in the direction of the city is navigated in boats...."

     Another interesting item about the weather in the August 5, 1830, issue is as pertinent in August 2006 as it was in 1830: "HEAT! HEAT!--In almost every paper we have opened for the past week, from the North, east (sic), South or West, the extreme heat and drought are mentioned as not having a precedent for a number of years.--The heat has been so great in the cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, that many persons have fallen victim to the effects...." A knowledge of historical events, including extreme weather affecting harvests and the economy, may help genealogists better understand the activities of their ancestors during certain periods of time.

     The meticulous attention to detail that Fouts always puts into her work explains why her books are highly praised by reviewers. ABSTRACTS FROM THE EDENTON GAZETTE AND FARMER'S PALLADIUM, EDENTON, NORTH CAROLINA, 1830 - 1831 will be a valuable asset to genealogical library collections.

     Containing 160 pages, the book has soft covers and a preface. 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. Checks, payable to NC Research at Home, may be sent to North Carolina Research at Home By Raymond Parker Fouts, c/o Walter R. Haun, 410 Crestview Drive, Durham, NC 27712-2335.

     Susan Cooper Kelley (e-mail: is looking for connections to John Sydney and Amanda COOPER, first cousins, who married and left Mobile, Alabama, to follow the lumber industry in Louisiana. Kelley does not have any dates, but other family names linked to them are Louis, Archie, and Newton. Any help will be appreciated.