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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: David Owin of Rockingham District, NC

You are very welcome. If you are referring to the census and death info, I gathered them from and it took me a little under an hour to search through the databases and some books on a shelf.

I work as a professional genealogist for a lineage society. 99.99% of the lineages I've reviewed are of whites. However in reviewing their documentation, I've accessed a broad range of records across the country over a long period of time. As I look at these records, I also look to determine if and how non-whites are recorded and I use this knowledge with my own research and with the work I do for others.

As for the North Carolina research, I have many many brick walls to break down. At various moments of frustration, I've adopted other families from the same county and area, believing that if I can break down their brick walls, I might break down my own. Thus I have a secondary set of families in Fayetteville, NC for whom I collect records. I also collect books and articles on free people of color in Virginia and North Carolina. Many people in these two states had similar experiences during the antebellum period, and I am always looking for parallels in the research on them.

Paul Heinegg's work ( ) illuminates some of these connections. He's pulled together a variety of records in the late 18th and early 19th century to show us the links between members of families within these communities and across state lines. This is all to say that while the initial census research took very little time, I've spent many years studying and reading about free people of color, and this also enabled me to suggest some of the research strategies to you.

I get the impression that you've done quite a bit of research on other branches of your family that has brought you to your "David Owens brickwall." My suggestion to you is to read and learn as much as possible about Anson county and Morven as you can, working backwards to the 1870 census, where David appears both in Wilmington/New Hanover County and Anson County. Then you will have to branch out to Richmond County between 1870 and 1860 for information relating to him or African Americans in the area.

Pay careful attention to the geography as well. There might be a migratory pattern evident (e.g. the counties are nearby or are near bodies of water) or some causation, like the development of an industry that could explain your ancestor's move and eventual settlement in Anson county. Ask yourself why he settled there and how did he manage to stay there so long? How many blacksmiths were there in his town? If there were many, why was there a need for so many, and how did he manage to gain a foothole in the community for so long? Look especially for deed/land records and tax records, as they will reflect to some extent, his financial status. Search through the will books also to see if he left one, or was mentioned in one.

Finally, if you haven't already done this, to get an idea of the records and books that are available, check the North Carolina State Archives & Library for their record holdings on Anson County. You might alternately search through the Mormon's library catalog ( ) to see what records they have on microfilm for Anson. Typically these records are similar to what's available in North Carolina. The difference is that you can borrow the microfilm and view it near your home, rather than traveling to Raleigh.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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