There’s a wealth of resources for the amateur genealogist to find online these days. On left side of this page (or bottom if you’re using a tablet or smartphone), you’ll find a list of links under the heading “Genealogy.” Some are general, others surname specific.
To begin, download a family tree program so you can work offline. I use RootsMagic Free Edition. If you can afford it, join Ancestry and/or My Heritage. But for those of us who can’t, a good route is to use FamilySearch.org. Just click “Search” and begin. By clicking “Browse All Published Collections,” you can access all sorts of records, including census records, marriage bonds, wills, and estate files. I do this a lot. I also actually have a free account on Ancestry. Although I can’t access a lot of the records, it does help point me in the direction of records to be looked at.
Another good source for wills, especially old wills, is North Carolina State Archives MARS – Basic Search. You can also find land deed abstracts there. You can read actual land grants and patents from colonial times at this website: North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data.
Got an ancestor who served in the War of Northern Aggression (also known as the War Between the States or the Civil War)? You can find them at Search for Soldiers.
Can’t afford a subscription to Newspapers.com? Try DigitalNC – North Carolina’s Digital Heritage. It’s not as extensive, admittedly, but it’s better than nothing. And, of course, Find A Grave is another excellent source.
For censuses that FamilySearch doesn’t have images for, try searching The Internet Archive. Not only can you find nearly all censuses there (most of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire, and a few bits and pieces of other censuses are missing, the Craven County, N.C. portion of the 1810 census, for example), but old genealogy/history books, as well. You can also find a few books through Google Books, although you can only read parts of most of these. Here are just a few that I’ve used up to now:
- Albertson, Catherine. In Ancient Albemarle. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Society, Daughters of the Revolution, 1914.
- Boddie, John Bennett. Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia: A History of the County of Isle of Wight Virginia During the Seventeenth Century Including Abstracts of the County Records. Vol. 2. Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 2007.
- Boddie, John Bennett. Southside Virginia Families. Vol. 1. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 1966.
- Camin, Betty J. and Edwin A. Camin. North Carolina Bastard Bonds. Mount Airy, NC: B.J. and E.A. Camin, 1990.
- Chapman, Blanche Adams. Marriages of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1628-1800. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 2002.
- Cooper, Francis Hodges. Some Colonial History of Beaufort County, North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina. 1916.
- Dorman, John Frederick. Adventures of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5: Families G-P. 4th ed. Vol. 2. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 2005.
- Greer, George Cabell. Early Virginia Immigrants: 1623-1666. Richmond, VA: W. C. Hill Printing, 1912.
- Grimes, J. Bryan. Abstract of North Carolina Wills Compiled From Original and Recorded Wills in the Office of the Secretary of State. Raleigh, NC: E. M. Uzelle &, State Printers and Binders, 1910.
- McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 2007.
- North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register. Vol. 1. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 1900.
- Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers; Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1800. Richmond, VA: Press of the Dietz Print, 1934.
- Thomas, R. S., comp. “Isle of Wight County Wills.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 6 (1898): 33-42. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.
- Turman, Nora Miller. Eastern Shore of Virginia, 1603-1964. Onancock, VA: Eastern Shore News, 1964.
Of course, there are a few books I’d love to read, but can’t find outside of a library. I know that I can find most of these at the New Bern Craven County Public Library in the Kellenberger Room. That’s a bit of a drive, though, and I’ve have to be there a whole day. Besides the trip, there’s also money needed for copies. So that’s going to have to wait. As an aside, their website is also an excellent genealogy source.
- Some descendants of John Moone, ca. 1600-1655, and Nicholas Bourden, ca. 1700-1759 : Jamestown and Isle of Wight County in the colony of Virginia by Richard Bowden Jones
- Some descendants of Nicholas Bourden and his wife Prudence, the great-granddaughter of Captain John Moone; whose sons removed from the colony of Virginia to the counties of southeastern NC before the war of the Revolution by Richard Bowden Jones
- Bowden Family History, 1735-1983 by Josie Bowden
- Our Vendrick family: the kinfolk of James Cleveland Vendrick, 1876-1952 by John Grady Vendrick
- Descendants of Walter Dixon, Sr. of Pitt County, NC by Suzy Loraine Dixon-Bennett
- Here, There, and Yonder – Cason & Sons – A Brinson Genealogy by Robert W. Brinson
Any of you have genealogy research tip or trick? Feel free to comment and throw the rest of us a bone.