Kinsearching January 16, 2011




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

     Knowledgeable genealogists know that one of the best ways to discover and prove family ties is to “follow the land.” Since reading early land records can be time-consuming, ancestor hunters appreciate the effort it takes to transcribe the old material. Recently, John Anderson Brayton added another volume to his lengthy body of work with the publication of ABSTRACTS OF CARTERET COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, DEEDS: DEED BOOKS A-C, E-F, 1713-1759; DEED BOOK D, 1713-1748.

     In his introduction, Brayton briefly gives the history of the formation of Carteret County in eastern North Carolina. Although the records of Carteret Precinct in Craven County start in 1713, the county of Carteret was not created from Craven until 1722. As he points out, the two deed abstracted books are not lettered consecutively and the dates are not strictly chronological. Deciphering colonial handwriting can often be difficult, but he states that, for the most part, the colonial Carteret records were easy to read.

     Like land records elsewhere, the Carteret County deeds tell a great deal about the geographic origins and identities of the pioneering families in the area. As experienced researchers would predict, the first settlers came from nearby regions—in this case, the North Carolina counties of Beaufort, Craven, Pasquotank, and Perquimans, as well as Norfolk County, Virginia. During the years covered by Brayton’s volume, a large number of families moved down from New England; in fact, data concerning some divisions of estate pertaining to Bristol County, Massachusetts, appear in the material. Other places mentioned are Antigua, Bermuda, England, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. Some recurring surnames are AUSTEN/AUSTIN, BARONTON/BARRONTON/BARRINGTON, BELL, BENNER/BENNERS, BARDIN/BARDEN/BORDEN/BORDING/BURDEN, CANADAY/CANNADAY, CHADWICK, COGDALE/COGDELL/ DEXTER/DEXTOR, DUDLEY, GAILE/GALE/GELL, GREEN, JARRAD/JARROTT/GERROT, LOVICK, NELSON, SHACKLEFORD, SIMPSON, STANTON, WARD/WARDE, WHITEHURST, WICKER, and WAINRIGHT/WINRIGHT.

     As expected, the author extracted all pertinent information such as the names of all parties (including previous owners and witnesses) noted in the deed, the terms of sale, the name and geographical boundaries of the property, and the date of the instrument. Sometimes the records include miscellaneous documents like deeds of gifts concerning slaves, indentures, and the incorporation of a seaport. Names of approximately 3,000 individuals appear in the records. Since these people are some of the earliest pioneers in the eastern part of what became the Tar Heel State, a copy of ABSTRACTS OF CARTERET COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, DEEDS: DEED BOOKS A-C, E-F, 1713-1759; DEED BOOK D, 1713-1748 will be a worthy addition to library genealogical collections.

     The 184-page book has soft covers, an introduction which furnishes the abbreviations used in the material, and a full name index of individuals. Two other indexes list names of slaves and locations mentioned in the deeds. Brayton also includes an eight-page bibliography of his previous publications.

     To the book's price of $25.00, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order 9711) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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