I spent the better part of a year combing through microfilms and paying $0.25 a page to xerox hardly readable microfilmed pages of deeds to and from my Godwin family members. I tried to keep up with what I had xeroxed and what I had gleaned just from reading the abstract books and kept the information updated in my spreadsheet/database.
This year 2011 brought in a nice surprise: I learned that the deeds had been digitized and posted online for the public! The scanned images were much nicer and very easy to read and had the book and page numbers stamped right on them.
Since discovering the Sampson County Register of deeds website, I have been working with other researchers studying the Godwin family and we have abstracted over 70 deeds and posted them to our private Wiki page. The website is not the most intuitive to use, so I have outlined some quick directions below:
- Go to this link:http://www.sampsonrod.org
- Go to the bottom and click the Disclaimer link
- Click on the green link that says "Scanned Index Books (Imaged Index)
- In the first drop down box, select "2-Land (Inception of County - 1977)"
- Beside Subtype, keep "1-Grantor" selected and click the "Next" button
- Beside Select Year Range, keep "Inception of County - 1940" selected and click the Next button
- In the Input Name box, keep the Human/Corporation in the box and then beside that in the empty box, type "Godwin", then click the "Search"
- A bunch of names pop up on the left hand side
- You can start with "051 - Godwin" and click on that to bring up the index for that name
- Also check the "059 - Goodwin" list as well because at least one deed from Budd Goodwin to David Goodwin was actually a Godwin
- To view the deeds, go back up to the top of the page and type in the book and page number, then click the "view" button.
- You can go back up to the top left and switch to grantee and do the same kind of search on Godwin
Many other North Carolina counties are indexing and scanning their old deeds and posting online as well. Cumberland County is one of them and can be accessed here.