Beechland: Oral History versus Historical Records
Samuel Elks in Tyrrell County
deed was conveyed from Samuel Elks to Isaac Meekins in 1777 for the land
known as Buck Ridge. McMillan
sets forth the theory that Buck Ridge is Gum Neck, the Indian village of
Tramaskecoock from the White-DeBry map of 1590.
He modified the White map, as shown below, to illustrate the
various locations. It is
clear that White or one of men in his party did in fact visit this area
or it would not have been labeled with the name of an Indian Village.
extracted deed says: March 4, 1777 Tyrrell Co., 100 acres of land known
by the name of Buck Ridge from Samuel Elks, planter, for 15 pounds, to
Isaac Meekins, the land where Samuel Elks now lives.
If this is the same land where Meekins lived in 1786, it fell
within the Greater Alligator or Gum Neck districts, but not within the
Miltail Lake district.
when and how did Elks obtain that land?
Where did Elks go after he conveyed the title?
the early militia lists, tax records, petitions, wills, probate, census,
marriage, guardian and bastardry bond, we find no Elks entries at all,
so apparently Samuel did not live in Tyrrell County for long.
Deed records do not reveal how or when Samuel Elks obtained this
are no Elks listed on the 1786 state census, but in 1790 three Elks
families are listed, all in Pitt County, Newbern District, as follows:
Elks, 1 male over 16, 1 under 16, 2 females and 5 slaves.
Next to him we find Uriah Elks, 1 male over 16, 2 females, 1
slave. Elsewhere in the
same district, Samuel Elks, 2 males over 16, 1 under 16, 2 females no
“other free” or slaves.
was formed in 1760 from Beaufort.
Elks family is important to the search for the Lost Colony because in
1788 Mary and Elizabeth Elks, “Indians”, on Hatteras Island
(previously Currituck, then Hyde County, now Dare) sold the land that
was the old Indian town to Nathan Midgett.
King Elks was referred to there as early as 1756 and in 1759 land
was granted to "William Elks and the Hatteras Indians” for the
“Indian town”. There is
no evidence to connect the William Elks on Hatteras Island with the
Samuel Elks family.
Hatteras Elks family began selling the land in 1770 when William Elks
sold 100 acres to Isaac Farrow.
In 1771, William sells 50 acres to George Clark.
In 1788, Mary and Elizabeth Elks sell 200 acres to Nathan Midgett,
including the "old Indian Town".
another 1802 Hyde County deed, Elizabeth Elks, "Indian", deed
land to Nath. Pinkham for land known as "Indian Lands".
It states…”and Nath Pinkham shall have this land to use
occupy and enjoy all the profits of the said lands and timber without
any molestation or hindrance of any White person whatsoever.....during
his (Pinkham's) natural life provided my son shall live to the age of
twenty one years then and in that case the land shall be at my sons
disposal and for his only". The son's name is not given here or
later when the deed is registered 21 years later in Currituck County. The son apparently died, as it was the heirs of
Nathaniel Pinkham who registered the deed.
is Nath Pinkham? Nathaniel
Pinkham is the son of Nantucket whaler, Zephaniah Pinkham and his
paramour, Susanna Hampton, whom he never married because he was already
married in Massachusetts to one Mary Coffin.
Susanna used the surname Pinkham, gave her sons the surname
Pinkham, but in 1795, she married John Lawrence.
Pinkham is listed as living on Nantucket Island until about 1770.
Nathaniel Pinkham was employed at Shell Castle Island at the Ocracoke
Inlet in the employment as a Ship's Captain for John Gray Blount in
1796. He is listed on the census report of 1790 the Carteret County
District with one male over 16, one under 16 and one female.
From his age listings in other census records, Nathaniel Pinkham
was born between 1756 and 1765. He
lived on Davis Creek in the Straights district.
Pinkham reportedly died the year before the Elizabeth Elks deed was
recorded in 1823. The deed, when recorded, has a sworn witness stating
that all the parties to the deed had died.
However, Nathaniel Pinkham had 7 children listed in 1820 in
Carteret County, so he assuredly had heirs. It would be extremely
interesting to determine what happened to that land, who obtained it,
and why. Was the deed finally filed because it was involved in
Nathaniel Pinkham’s estate?
it connecting the dots because of a common surname is an error made by
an article titled, “Disappearing Indians” by Fred Willard, several
erroneous statements are made (including incorrect deed dates and
conveyances) and invalid conclusions drawn regarding the Elks family. Willard states that the earliest two Elks found are Richard
and John Elks and that Richard
Elks was an indentured servant arriving in approximately 1684 along with
his wife, Ann, daughter Margrett, and son Richard Jr.
the book, North Carolina Headrights - A List of Names, 1663-1744 by
Caroline B. Whitley, we discover the following three records:
of State Records, Albemarle Book of Warrants & Surveys 1681-1706
Page 32 Certificate of Rights -
Albemarle. Rich. ELKES, 200 acres, for transportation of 4 persons
on 29 Mar. 1680. Rich. Elkes & Anne his wife, Rich. his son,
and Margret his daughter. Assignment by Ann Stuart to Argell
Semmons on 4 Sept. 1694. Warrent given 4 Sept. 1694
Page 41 Warrants for Survey and
Returnes - Albemarle ss. Argill Semons, 400 acres, for
transportation of 8 persons. 5 Sept. 1694. Rich. ELKES, An
ELKES, Rich. ELKS JUNIOR, Margrett ELKS, Lawrence Keeton, Edw. London,
John King, Wm. Bread, the last four assigned by Wm. Glover.
Page 75 Patents for Land -
Albemarle. Argell Semons, planter, 400 acres in Chowan Precinct
for transportation of 1 person for every 50 acres. Jan. 1, 1694.
The persons importedd are Richard ELKES, An ELKES, Rich. ELKES JUNIOR,
Margeret ELKS, Lawrence Keeton, Edw. London, John King, Wm. Bread
can see from the above records that indeed, Richard Elks was not an
indentured servant. In
fact, he was collecting the 50 acres per person that was allotted for
all immigrants, for his own passage and that of his wife and children.
Had he been indentured, someone else would have been collecting
his 200 acres. However,
Richard assigns those land rights, as was commonly done at that time, to
Argill Semons. Argill Semons obtains some additional land rights as well,
from William Glover, and using all 8 individuals' land rights, he
applied for 400 acres of land.
also notes that is of interest that "Richard,
in 1694, is listed along with Henry, Ruth, Lavern and Mary Keeton; it is
noted that the Keetons are Indians from Massachusetts."
The records above clearly show that there is no connection
between the Elks group and the second group that includes only Lawrence
Keeton, with no mention of Henry, Ruth, Lavern or Mary.
The only reason the second group of individuals, Lawrence Keeton,
Edward London, John King and William Bread are listed with the Elks
family is because Argell Semons obtains their land rights from William
Glover just like he obtained the Elks rights from Richard Elks.
yet another record, we find confirmation that the Elks family was indeed
from England, and not of Indian origin.
In the book Old Albemarle County North
Carolina Perquimans Precinct, Births, Marriages, Deaths & Flesh
Marks 1659-1820 by Weynette Parks
Haun, we find the following:
Original pg. 5 - Richard Elkes the son _
Roger Elkes & Jane his wife of the County of Sollep [possibly
Suffolk Co.?] in Ingland & Ann Belliott the Daughter of John
Beeliott & Bridgett his wife of North hampton County in Virginia
weare Maried by Mr: Wood in Accomock County in Vergenia the 3d: of
of the intended location in "Ingland", the record is clear
that they were from England.
Elks' will exists in Raleigh in the North Carolina archives dated 1696;
his plantation on the Yeopim River in present-day Pasquotank/Perquimens
area was left to William Darby. John
Elks was married to Mary Stroud of Virginia. Five known children are
mentioned in his will dated 1708; John who possibly settled in Bertie
County, Thomas (his will found in Princess Anne County, Virginia),
Amanuel, Marmeduke and Ealse. John
left his land to all of his sons and a cow to his daughter.
Elks resided on the Perquimans watershed and had a son named Samuel Elks
and another son named Jacob. Samuel
and Jacob are probably the grandsons of John Elks, based on the fact
that Samuel sold land that he inherited from Marmaduke.
genealogy contributed through the Lost Colony DNA project, we find that
Samuel Elks was born approximately 1730 and died between 1810-1820.
He sold land in Blackwater Province in Princess Anne County,
Virginia in 1762, possibly in the present-day Camden, NC area; land that
was inherited from Marmeduke Elks from his father John Elks in his will
of 1708. After 1765 there
is no more evidence of Samuel in Princess Anne County, Virginia. In
Tyrrell County in 1777, Samuel Elks sells to Isaac Meekins the land
known as Buck Ridge, possibly in Gum Neck.
In 1781, Samuel begins buying land on and around Chicod Creek in
Pitt County, along with his brother Jacob. Samuel had four known
children: Samuel II (1763), Jacob (approx. 1770), Uriah (1759) and a
daughter that married a Hudson.
have clarified a great deal about the Elks family. Samuel Elks was the son of Marmaduke, who was the son of John
Elks, who was the son of Richard the immigrant, from England.
Richard was not an indentured servant, nor was he connected with
a Keaton family of Indians. Nathaniel Pinkham was not the son of Elizabeth Elks, and
apparently, the son of Elizabeth Elks died between 1802 and when the
deed subsequently was filed in 1823 following Nathaniel Pinkham's death.
don't know how Samuel Elks obtained his land at Buck Ridge, or when, but
he is clearly referenced as a planter, not as an Indian, in the same
timeframe that William, Mary and Elizabeth Elks were referred to as
“Indians” in their Currituck County land transactions.
Furthermore, the lack of court, marriage or other Tyrrell County
records involving Samuel Elks suggests strongly he spent little, if any,
time in the county. He was
in Pitt County with the rest of his siblings by 1789.
of the Beechwood oral history is supported by facts, and other pieces
fall in the light of research.
John Paine was in Tyrrell
County as early as 1786, approximately age 43 or older, but we find no
evidence that he is there earlier.
If John came from elsewhere, his wife would have not been local
and therefore not a Beechland Indian.
John is never listed as anything other than “white” and
neither are his descendants,
although they are reported to be “blue-eyed blonde-haired” Indians.
If John lived in Beechland all of his life and was simply
recorded for the first time in 1786, then he might well have been
considered Native, although that seems unlikely given his ownership of
13 slaves in 1790, indicating a fairly wealthy man. DNA from this Paine line indicates a European origin which is
what we would expect to find if he were either from elsewhere or one of
the Lost Colonists. His
children however would have married into the local population, whatever
information about the various families living in the Milltail and
Beechland area is supported by the 1786 state census, the 1790 census as
well as later records.
grandmother, wife of Wallis (Wallace) Twiford (Twyford) is reported to
be Nancy Paine. Both Bible
and census records indicate that she is the daughter of Edward Paine and
his wife, probably Nancy Owens based on the 1830, 1840 and 1850 census.
There may be two Edward Paines.
A search for land records and wills might prove enlightening as
to how many Edwards existed and the confusing 1830/1840/1850
Nancy/Edward/Esther information. The
widow Nancy Paine in 1830 also had a daughter of the right age who may
have been Ann, orphan of Thomas, and could have been Wallis’s wife if
the names Ann and Nancy were used interchangeably.
The commentary that these
families were unknown to census takers, tax collectors, etc. is refuted
by the 1786 and 1790 census where the families listed by Twiford,
including the Paine family who was specifically noted as Indian in
multiple sources are listed in the 1786 “Miltail Lake” district.
Gum Neck is also enumerated in 1786, but not detailed.
While there may have been
an epidemic in the 1840 timeframe, there is no evidence of a massive
exodus. Comparing children in families in the area (adjacent families
from the 1830 census) show about the same death rate between 1820/1830
as compared to 1830/1840. Comparisons of family groupings in the
1830,1840 and 1850 census show that the same families were still living
in adjacent areas. The 1850
and later census clearly indicates that people are still “swamping”
for a living and several families appear on the 1830, 1840 and 1850
census among the same groups of neighbors.
If they moved, it wasn’t far away.
There is no evidence of a large number of people leaving the area
in a short timeframe. Perhaps
the children moved away over time until Beechland proper became
deserted. The area
may have experienced periodic epidemics given the absence of several
groups of children in 1800, 1820, and 1840.
According to the 1850
census, some residents of this area did own property, so it was not all
owned by John Grey Blount and his heirs or Timmergin Sanderlin or his
heirs, Thomas and his sister. Timmergin
was shown in 1850 as a merchant and owned a significant amount of real
estate (valued at $3000 in the census), more than most of his neighbors
whose land was typically valued at between $100 and $300.
If Trimmergan is a merchant, he is clearly not living alone in a
There is little direct
evidence that the Europeans were living among the Machapungo, although
there are some hints. One
listing for John Braveboy has been found in 1755 on a tax list, followed
in Martin County by a 1790 census listing for John Braveboy and Mother
showing one free white female and 7 other free persons (not white),
implying that John’s mother was probably considered white. In
addition, on the same 1755 document a listing for Quomone (single name)
is found. Other than those
two 1755 tax list entries and a listing in 1790 for eleven “free
colored” families that includes Israel Pierce,
a man identified as a Pungo River Indian, no other direct evidence of
Native people exists.
The 1790 grouping of “free colored”,
including the households of Israel and Thomas Pierce, begs the question
of whether this is a group of Indian or mixed race Indian households.
Most are not found again in 1800 and the one that is found in
1800 has moved to Beaufort County. In 1800 there are a few “other free” listed with white
heads of household, but no families consist of entirely “other free”
with the possible exception of Celia Hill, although there are also
whites in residence. 1810
showed no individual “free other” families.
Most households that included “free other” also included
slaves. Ironically, Isaac Meekins had the most, four, plus one slave.
1820 shows no free colored heads of household nor does 1830.
1840 is slightly different, as there are 5 households headed by
free people of color, Samuel Bryant, Thomas Bryant, Micajah Bryan (sic),
Abner Hill and Nancy Bowser, inferring that the Bridget Bryan family
enumerated with only one female in 1790 may have had sons who remained
and either were enumerated as slaves, elsewhere or not at all prior to
1840. Typically people of
mixed race are categorized as “free people of color”, regardless of
the mixture. Slavery did
exist in this area, but most people had few slaves with a couple of
Another possibility is that the
Machepungo and other Indians were among the “black”, presumably
enslaved, population. Aside
from the 1790 census, another record that hints at this is the Currituck
tax list of 1720 that details the names of (presumed) slaves falling
under the heading of the person being taxes (presumable the owner).
This list has several entries that say “Indian” instead of
“negro” for both men and women.
In most instances, they are small groups and with one exception,
there is only one Indian in the group.
If their movements were restricted by their masters or
geographically, their only choices for mates would be from within their
own plantation and that would, due to the lack of other available
Indians, be either a slave or a family member of the slave owner, an
alliance that was typically not encouraged. If this was the case, by 1786, three generations later, the
family could indeed have been considered more “black” than Native.
In 1850, Trimmergin
Sanderlin has a Methodist Minister living with him, so there is evidence
of religion before the establishment of the later churches.
The immediate neighbors are the Owens, Basnights, Sawyers and
Edwards, families who did not move away.
The men are still listed as boatmen and fishermen.
Malochi Paine’s father
was not Henry, as Henry Paine/Payne never appears in the records and
Malochi’s father would be present in at least the 1840 census. His father was most likely Edward Paine, husband of Nancy
Owens, based on the most likely candidates for Malochi’s father in
1830 and 1840 and Nancy’s proximity to the same neighbors in 1850 and
the Bible record where his name is spelled Mahaley, probably as Malachi
was pronounced. Land and estate records might positively identify Malochi’s
father. His mother was
definitely Nancy as Malochi is shown with her in the 1850 census. We have the genealogy and DNA from a descendant of Holloway
Paine, Nancy’s son. Holloway’s
father is shown as Edward, born about 1790 and his mother as Nancy
Owens. The Paine DNA is
European, not Native, but if John Paine were a Lost Colonist descendant,
this is what we would expect to find.
A second gentleman from this line has tested as well, confirming
the genetic signature.
The link claimed by
inference between the English Elks family and the Native Elks family is
claimed is nefarious and with scrutiny, no evidence of the Samuel Elks
family or ancestors being Native exists.
Furthermore, there is evidence that the mainland Elks family is
not Native and originated in England.
Equally convincing evidence exists that there was a Native Elks
family living on Hatteras Island, but there is no evidence whatsoever to
Some of the colonist
surnames do appear at Beechland, Gum Neck and the Alligator River area
as indicated in the 1790 census chart used to reconstruct the 1786
Greater Alligator and Gum Neck census districts, but they are not
clustered in any one area as one might expect if one specific area was
an isolated village hidden from the outside world with many colonists
(or descendants) as has been suggested. Furthermore, many of the
surnames are very common, such as Smith, Jones, Johnson and Brown.
However, a couple of rather remarkable names appear as well. Pierce for example is noted as “free persons of color” in
1790 and Pratt is included which is rather rare.
Paine/Payne is probably the most outstanding because of the match
with the colonist surname and because of their family history of being
“blue-eyed, blonde-haired Indians”, an oral tradition that has been
passed through many generations in differing lines.
Oral History Revisited – Accurate or
back to the four elements of oral history that we had hoped to prove or
disprove, how did we do?
The oral history of Beechland being the first settlement in Dare
is in fact confirmed by the White-DeBry map that labeled this general
area as the Native village, Tramaskecoock.
In the same general area was located a picture of a sassafras
tree, a valuable commodity in England, so this area would indeed have
been of interest to the English. Visitations
are confirmed by ballast stones found in Miltail Creek.
The riven coffins found in an Indian mound indicate early
European burials, but how early and of whom is unknown.
This area was not as isolated to the Native people as it may have
appeared to Europeans, as it was connected through the swamps to the
Croatoan area along the seashore across from Roanoke Island and to Lake
Mattamuskeet to the south. Oral
history tells of paths to both locations.
We know that Europeans did indeed live in Beechland, as early as
1786 according to the census and in the Gum Neck area earlier according
to deeds. What we don’t
know is whether European colonization began as a result of the Lost
Colony as local oral history states.
2. An oral history
of the inhabitants of Beechland being initially the Lost Colonists.
Their descendants were considered “blue-eyed blonde-haired”
blonde-haired Indians” were reported in the Paine family as
descendants of Henry Paine, an incorrect name.
John Paine immigrated from elsewhere, first appearing in his
mid-30s or older in 1772 purchasing land.
Unless John simply emerged from the swamps at this time, which is
unlikely given his large slave holding in 1786, his wife was likely
European as well, or at least was not from this area.
However, his children married into the local population who may
well have included individuals of Native heritage.
had three known sons. Edward
married Nancy Owens in 1809 and their children, Malochi and his sister,
carried the oral history of blue-eyed blonde-haired Indians. Thomas
married Ann Carroon in 1792 and John married Polly Moss in 1812.
These women may indeed have been Indian or had Indian heritage.
Their family history needs to be researched.
The Owens and Caroon families were in the Beechland area quite
early. The Moss family is on the earliest Albemarle and Tyrrell
documentation. The history
of the three wives families has not been researched.
Oral history that the inhabitants of Beechland deserted the area
in the 1840s, or between 1830 and 1840 and that by 1850 there was only
one familiy remaining, Trimmergin Sanderlin.
and comparison of the records from the 1820, 1830 and 1840 census show
no evidence of either a massive depopulation or removal.
In fact, the death rate of children remains constant throughout
this period. The various
census records through 1850 show families continuing to live in grouped
clusters with the same families and surnames as before, indicating that
they did not undertake a massive move.
Perhaps the children moved elsewhere effectively depopulating
Beechland within a generation following a particularly heinous epidemic.
At some point the remoteness would have become problematic and
the area would not have been able to support the families of all the
oral history states that the “black tongue” plague that devastated
the area left no family untouched and was the precipitating factor in
the depopulation of Beechland. In
1786 the Miltail the Lake District had 33 households with an average of
8 people in each home, slaves included.
If one person per household died, all households would have
suffered, and likely many others would have fallen ill but recovered.
of how emotionally devastating concurrent deaths in multiple households
would have been, removing one eighth of the population would not
depopulate the area and one individual per household could have been
numerically replaced with the birth of another child within 2 years.
While these deaths would surely be considered a tragedy,
especially since these families were heavily intermarried, the
elimination of one eighth of the population would not be enough to
significantly affect the population numbers in the area or to depopulate
history had indicated that Trimmergin Sanderlin was the last person left
in a very isolated Beechland in 1850, but according to the census, he
was in fact a merchant, an occupation impossible without customers,
indicating that in fact there were families living in Beechland since we
know via deed records that he did in fact remain in Beechland, passing
his estate to his children after his death.
Oral history that the Beechland residents moved away before the
census takers, tax collectors or historians knew about them.
legend of anonymity ascribed to this group of people who were stated to
be living among and intermixed with the Machapungo Indians and
disappeared before being discovered by the tax collectors and census
takers is unfounded.
names reported as “Indian” and identified as “Beechland
families” by Twiford, Long and others are found on early census
documents in 1786 and 1790 and some are found on earlier tax lists and
some early marriages appear to be unrecorded raising the possibility
that unrecorded marriages reflect marriages between whites and partners
of mixed race. North
Carolina laws during this time prohibited marriages between whites and
anyone with any nonwhite blood to the 4th generation.
It is unclear whether marriages between nonwhite couples would
have been recorded. Clearly
the marriage between 1830-1832 of Wallis Twiford and Nancy Payne should
have been recorded, raising questions of why it and other marriages were
not, or if the records have simply been lost.
essence, it appears that indeed there was an early group of English who
lived in the massive swamplands known generally as the impenetrable
Dismal Swamp. William Bryd
in his Histories of the Dividing
Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina written in 1728 tells of
coming across “a Marooner that modestly call’d himself a hermit tho’
he forefeited that name by suffering a wanton female to cohabit with
him…subsisting chiefly upon oysters” and later “in the woods we
encountered a family of mulattoes who called themselves free….their
freedom seemed a little doubtful. It is certain that many slaves shelter
themselves in this obscure part of the world nor will any of their
righteous neighbours discover them.”
Bryd encounters many native families during the surveying of the
dividing line and his men enjoy the company of the Native women.
He also mentions that the swamps provide shelter and cover for
both criminals and debtors and that North Carolina encouraged such to
increase their population.
Beechlanders retained their English surnames and heritage including
quaint customs such as the celebration of “Old Christmas”. The residents were not however unknown or anonymous.
They apparently did not move away in a mass exodus between 1830
and 1850. The families
identified as living in this area were in fact correct and are confirmed
by several sources, but the list of families delivered orally was
incomplete based on the 1786 tax list identified as “Miltail the
area was very inhospitable and the hearty souls who lived there had to
be extremely self sufficient. They
had a keen sense of community. They
lived in kinship groups on small knolls of forested “high ground”
spread throughout the swamp. Those
knolls supported 33, 49 and 59 homes respectively, based on the 1786
census districts of Miltail, Gum Neck and Greater Alligator.
Miltail, which includes Beechland, included 33 households with a
total of 258 people both white and enslaved.
have confirmed the essence of many stories, but have disproven some of
the more specific facts. Some
cannot be proven or refuted.
the legend of “white Indians” was partially a function of the remote
and self sufficient lifestyle selected by these settlers who wrestled a
living from the swamps, similar to how the Indians originally lived, a
lifestyle that would have been considered primitive to outsiders.
scenario is that early English men intermarried with the Native women.
second alternative is that the “Indians” at Beechland were part of
the slave families and some intermarried with the slaves and others
intermarried with the white families in the area.
What happened to the Native men, which surnames they adopted and
how they selected them has not been answered.
Early Currituck county tax lists may provide a glimpse into their
world. Several Currituck
landowners owned slaves as well. Some
slaves were listed as negro, some as mulatto, and others as Indian.
Whether Indians were enslaved by being captured and sold or
simply intermarried with the slaves, functionally becoming enslaved, we
Both Indian men and women were listed, presumably as slaves, in
the tythe lists about 1720. They may have entered the subculture of slavery and never
emerged until generations later when the slaves were emancipated.
Some of the “free negroes” and mulattoes may indeed be Indian
or Indian admixed families. Early records do exist to confirm that Indians were held as
slaves in this area as well as elsewhere in Virginia and North Carolina.
We know that the English and other Europeans viewed both the
Indians and Africans’ as a “lower class”, in the case of Indians
as “savages”, and in both cases, nearly subhuman.
testing of the Beechland families found on the 1786 tax list might prove
interesting. If either the
Lost Colony or later English immigrants were inclined to intermarry
with, live among or assimilate with the Native people, the Y-line DNA of
their male offspring would be English, regardless of when that admixture
occurred. However, the
mitochondrial DNA of the maternal lines would still be Native.
Finding maternally descended individuals from these early families might
well confirm the oral history of Native heritage.
Finding the families of the Colonists in England and obtaining
their DNA profile will allow us to compare the DNA of the Beechland and
other families on the Eastern Carolina seaboard to see if they are
indeed the Lost Colonists of Roanoke.
Watch out for Mis-Transcribed Capital Letters !!
parish registers are not available, researchers will turn to
transcriptions. In some
parishes the only records that remain are very old transcriptions which
were published in books.
is the study of old handwriting. It
is a very important part of becoming a good genealogist and I’ve just
started another course because I don’t think I can ever know too much
about the various styles of old handwriting.
are two types of records that you will probably come across, those in
early English and those in Latin. Even
those in English are often very difficult to read as there was more than
one way of writing. These
documents were often written in what some scholars refer to as a type of
‘shorthand’. They left out letters, put squiggles on the end of words
denoting an ending and used abbreviations.
most common types of handwriting are Set Chancery, Common Chancery,
Court Hand & Secretary Hand. Here’s
an example of the alphabets from those hands.
capital letter which is giving me a great deal of grief is the Set
(D). As you can
see from the example, it looks like a capital S.
So early on, a lot of my DAVIDGE people were transcribed as
SAVIDGE. To make matters
worse some DAVIDGE families were recorded as DAVAGE and transcribed as
SAVAGE. These families, who
were illiterate ag labs (agricultural labourers), continued to use the
surname SAVIDGE/SAVAGE because that’s what the cleric wrote.
However, there was a very well-known and influential family in
England with the surname SAVAGE and I now have to sort out all my
DAVIDGE/DAVAGE families who have been transcribed as SAVIDGE/SAVAGE from
the real SAVAGE families.
may be other capital letters that have been mistaken when parish
registers were transcribed, so be on the lookout for them.