By Don Taylor
A few years ago, I wrote a post about my wife’s 4th great-grandfather, Lewis Bryan (1755-1830) and that he had purchased his land from Robert Bryan. That post received several comments. One included a clue from Gloria Knight who said, “I have found where a “Patent” was issued on 10 Dec 1760 to a Robert Bryan. Source: Halifax County N.C. Land Grants – Secretary of State – Land Grants Record Books 1693-1960. Grant # was 82; File # 14. 520 acres on Conotoe Creek.”
I had meant to find that reference and incorporate it into my information regarding Robert Bryan. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Her comment/clue reminded me of three significant resources matters.
So many of us want to be self-sufficient we tend to forget many researchers have been there before and we can and should build upon their work. For example, Gloria’s clue provided enough information that I could easily, and quickly build upon her work. Not just accept what she said but use it as a hint as a beginning point. I know that professional genealogists want every source to be quoted in a fashion identified in Evidence Explained. Sure, that is THE standard for citing sources. However, rather than getting all twisted around the citation standards, I am most interested in having enough information about the source that I can find it for myself. In this case, a Google search for Gloria’s clue, “Halifax County N.C. Land Grants ” brought me immediately to North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data. Seeing Search Query on the page, I searched for Name: “Bryan” and County: Halifax. Six entries were returned, one the 520 Acres of Robert Bryan. The page also had a link to an image in Book 14, Pages 114-115. There it was, an image of the original patent book. The key to me is Gloria had provided enough information regarding her source that I was able to find the source in less than a minute myself. To me that is the ultimate reason for citations and building upon or confirming her research is the ultimate purpose of networking.
I knew from previous research with this family line that Martin County was previously Halifax County. There are many sites to learn that kind of information. However, I have found that Wikipedia is possibly the best and easiest way to confirm such information. On Wikipedia, just search <NAME> County, <STATE> and you get the appropriate wiki page. In this case. I entered “Martin County, North Carolina” In the History section of the page returned said,
I could have just as easily gone to the Halifax County, North Carolina page and learned that,
I think every county page on Wikipedia has a “History” section. I find that the County entries in Wikipedia to be a great asset. Besides quick history, there is a Communities section which shows the cities, towns, unincorporated communities, and townships within the county. Great information to have handy when reviewing Census and other records. I can be a real help in understanding that an incorporated community in your genealogy is near town that may have been their post office which may have been in a township. So, when you see the names change in different documents, you can understand that your ancestors may have been in the same place even though multiple names were used.
Finally, I wanted to transcribe the patent information from the document. I’ll admit, I don’t like transcribing 18th century handwriting very much. I mean, I can do it, I just don’t like doing it. In this case, I could easily read the document started out “Robert Bryan Five hundred and twenty acres.” A Google search of those exact words led to one result. A quick review of the result showed it was a transcript of the document I wanted to transcribe. Dated the 10th day of December 1760. Then, rather than transcribe the original text, all I needed to do is to read the transcription and see if I agreed with the transcription. Much faster – much easier. Then, I added the transcript to my source documents identifying it:
Transcription by <Unknown> found on site, BMGEN.COM
“Genealogy data relating to the Brian and Mitchell families.”
So, I have my copy of the original image, and I have my source for that image documented. I also have a transcription of the information, confirmed and reviewed by me. I am good with that and can move on to the next project.
Transcription by <Unknown> found on site, BMGEN.COM
ROBERT BRYAN five hundred and twenty acres of land in Halifax County.
Beginning at a Pine, his corner on Conneto Swamp running thence up said swamp to a Maple at the mouth of Wild Cat Branch; then up said branch to a Poplar in said branch; then W 62 poles to a Red Oak; then S 160 poles to a Pine; then W 40 poles to two Sweet Gums in a branch; then S 280 poles to a Pine; then W 88 poles to a pine in MOSES HORN’s line; then along his line S 23 E 174 poles to a White Oak, his corner on Conneto Creek; then down said creek to a Pine, JOHN HORN’s corner on said creek; then along his line N 17 E 142 poles to a Pine, his corner in said BRYAN’s line; then along his line W 16 poles to a Pine, his corner; then along his line N 270 poles to a Pine, his corner on a branch; then down the branch, his line, to the first station.
Dated 10th day of December, 1760
- Pay attention to hints from anywhere – check them out for yourself.
- The North Carolina Land Grant site is an awesome resource. Be sure to include it in your resources.
- Don’t forget Wikipedia County searches can be helpful.
- Check Google (or Bing or Yahoo) to see if the words you want transcribed have already been transcribed.