Kinsearching September 18, 2005




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

     While land records are not perfect, they are one of the best--and therefore important--genealogical sources for proving ancestral descent. As permanent settlement developed in America, land records were among the earliest documents generated. Since a large percentage of American families owned land at one time or another, descendants can often be traced through the inheritance of land. That fact can be even more meaningful if the progenitor died intestate (without a will) or the estate was not probated.

     Although land records usually do not provide details such as birth date or place of birth, they are significant for placing individuals in context by name, date, place, and relationship to other people. Knowledge of these facts can help to separate persons with the same name who live in the area at the same time, clear up relationships, and provide clues for further research through the people with whom an individual was affiliated.

     Because the use of land records and estate records concerning land were central to her research, Raymond Parker Fouts named her new book FOLLOWING THE LAND: A GENEALOGICAL HISTORY OF SOME OF THE PARKERS OF NANSEMOND COUNTY, VIRGINIA, AND CHOWAN/HERTFORD/GATES COUNTIES, NORTH CAROLINA, 1604 - 2004. The culmination of 32 years of research, Fouts's publication traces selected PARKER families to show what may be accomplished by using available data. Due to lack of reliable documentation of these families on the internet and in printed materials, the author attempts to furnish genealogists with as many diverse primary sources as possible.

     The earliest Parker in the volume is William, listed on the muster of Virginia inhabitants in 1624/25, who acquired land in Nansemond County. William had sons Thomas and Richard, whose wife was supposedly Elizabeth BAILEY; through court records Fouts proves this is a myth.

     Many descendants are traced into the tenth generation. A few, such as sixth generation Kindred PARKER (born about 1774) of Gates County, North Carolina, and Jobe/Job PARKER (a Quaker in Chowan County, North Carolina) have their own lengthy chapters. Some surnames associated with the Parkers are ARNOLD, BALLARD, COPELAND, CRAWFORD, DUKE, EARLY, EURE, FARMER, GOODMAN, HARRELL, JORDAN, KING, LEE, MITCHELL, NORFLEET, ODOM, ROBERTS, SUMNER, TAYLOR, and WALTON.

     Of course, some descendants eventually migrated to Texas. Jobe Henry PARKER left Gates County, NC, and settled in Texas about 1883. In 1890 he resided in Walker County, TX. Dying in 1916, he was buried in the Confederate section of the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. When his widow applied for a Confederate pension in 1917, she lived in Bastrop County, TX. These records dispute the family tradition that J. H. and his family perished in the 1900 Galveston hurricane.

     FOLLOWING THE LAND is an excellent example of the way a family history should be documented. Footnotes follow the proper style. Most of the information comes from primary sources; utilization of secondary sources was restricted to those deemed most reliable by the author and by other experienced researchers. Deeds, wills, and other documents are verbatim transcriptions of the original documents. Internet resources are digital images of original documents located in the state archives of Virginia and North Carolina. Fouts created plat maps through a computer program and other maps. Family photographs appear in the appendix.

     Thorough indexes are another trademark of Fouts's work. In addition to indexes to all full names and locations, female names--both maiden and married--appear in a separate index. Clerks of court, constables, county surveyors, judges, justices of the peace, public administrators, public registers, and sheriffs are listed in the main index under their own names as well as under those headings. Even occupations are indexed.

     Anyone with a Parker line in Nansemond County, Virginia, or in the counties of Chowan, Hertford, and Gates counties, North Carolina, or anyone who is planning to publish a family history will want to see FOLLOWING THE LAND. The 282-page volume with soft covers may be purchased for $40 postpaid from Raymond Parker Fouts, 1506 Cambridge Drive, Cocoa, FL 32922-6416.

     If you have not already done so, you still have time to plan to attend the 45th annual conference of the Texas State Genealogical Society on October 21-22 at the Holiday Inn Park Plaza in Lubbock, TX. Co-sponsored by the South Plains Genealogical Society, the symposium will offer a wide selection of program topics and vendors. Three different sessions, only a few of which will be repeated, will be scheduled during each time period. Examples of subjects to be discussed are DNA genealogy, research in Vietnam records, how to track Texas Rangers, glider pilots in World War II, Civil War medicine, how to begin genealogical research, scanners and printers, digital restoration of photographs, and methods to date old pictures. For more information check the website at

     After all the horrible news about the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, it is sometimes hard to believe that anything survived. Astonishingly, the Historic New Orleans building and collection remained dry since it was on higher ground.

     However, some materials in the Notarial Archives (which contains legal records dating back to 1721) sustained water damage. Data about conditions of record repositories in Katrina's path may be found on the Society of Southwest Archivists web page at

     Information about the current situation of archives, libraries, zoos, and museums (for example, Jefferson Davis's home Beauvoir in Biloxi was partially destroyed) may also be found at the American Association of Museums website and on the American Library Association website

     Bonnie Bright Johannes, 5594 North 10th, Apt. 103, Fresno, CA 93710-6586 (e-mail: would appreciate information on Thomas BROGHTON/BROUGHTON and wife Annie, who appear on the 1900 census of Knox County, KY. Their children, born between the years 1881 and 1897, were Dora, John, Sudie, Oliver, Woodard, and Arthur.

     Charles N. Ferguson, 811 South Market, Shawnee, OK 74801 is seeking information about the parents and siblings of John SMITH, born in 1835 in Missouri, and Mary GRACE, born in 1837 in Tennessee. They married about 1859 in Hopkins County, TX. They had one known son, Charlie Austin SMITH, born in June 1861 in Texas.

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