Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sampson County NC Deeds are now Online!

Earlier I wrote two blog posts about the Sampson County, North Carolina deed indexes (grantors) that related to my Godwin family Sampson County, North Carolina, Deed Index, Grantors - GODWIN and Sampson County NC Deed Index - GODWINS

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:

  1. Go to this link:
  2. Go to the bottom and click the Disclaimer link
  3. Click on the green link that says "Scanned Index Books (Imaged Index)
  4. In the first drop down box, select "2-Land (Inception of County - 1977)"
  5. Beside Subtype, keep "1-Grantor" selected and click the "Next" button
  6. Beside Select Year Range, keep "Inception of County - 1940" selected and click the Next button
  7. 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"
  8. A bunch of names pop up on the left hand side
  9. You can start with "051 - Godwin" and click on that to bring up the index for that name
  10. Also check the "059 - Goodwin" list as well because at least one deed from Budd Goodwin to David Goodwin was actually a Godwin
  11. 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.
  12. 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

Family History Library Workshop - Sat. April 30th 2011

The Family History Library is hosting a Family History Workshop this Saturday, April 30th, 2011 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at their Six Forks location in Raleigh, North Carolina.  This workshop is free and open to the public.  Attendees can choose up to one workshop an hour from 10-12 from several programs being offered.

Diane Richard of Mosaic Research and Project Management will be giving the opening keynote address on the "Freedmen's Bureau Records:  Of Greater Value than You Might Think" at 9:00 am.  The Family History Library has set up an Eventbrite website where you can sign up for up to 3 classes, one per hour, to attend during the day and include the following:

● Personal account - Journey to My African Roots by James Seymour
● Beginning Italian Research by Melanie Holtz
● Getting the Most out of by Deborah Spencer
● FamilySearch Indexing by Carol Riner Everett
● Making Sense of the US Census by Susan Evans
● Haunting Your Ancestors in the Cemetery by Sandra Black
● Internet Search Strategies: Google Amped Up by Ben Franklin

To register for this event, please visit the workshop website. The Family History Workshop is being held at the Six Forks Road Location:

Family History Library
Church of Latter Day Saints
5060 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

This is a great opportunity to meet other local researchers and professional genealogists and experts in their fields.  And it's completely free! Thanks to the Family History Library for hosting this event!

If you would like more information about this event or the Family History Library, feel free to call them at (919) 783-7752 or email at

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

James Godwin of Sampson Co NC

I've had the great fortune of working with some very good researchers (and librarians I might add ;-) these past few months on trying to piece together the various Godwin lines that were found in Randolph, Sampson, Edgecombe, and Johnston counties of North Carolina in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

One family of particular interest is James Godwin who married Elizabeth (last name believed to be Dawson). James Godwin died about 1801 in Sampson Co., NC. His estate records have been found and reviewed at the NC State Archives. His estate was divied out to 8 heirs - Milley, Elias, Aaron, William, and James Godwin; also, Rachel Watson, Rhody Beaman, and Silvey Beaman. Additional court records mentioned that minor heirs Charles, Allen, and Wiley Godwin chose Joseph Dawson as their guardian in 1802.

One way I like to try track men of the same name is by their land records. Fortunately, we believe there were only two James Godwins in Sampson Co between 1770-1800 - James Sr and his son, James Jr, so this was not that difficult to do. James Godwin Jr removed to Johnston Co by the time he was old enough to buy and sell land, so that made it easier as well.

In all, I found land grants totalling 800 Acres for James Godwin Sr. He sold one tract of land before his death, leaving 650 Acres to be divided up among his heirs when he died and his estate was settled in 1801. It just so happens that as we were reviewing deeds for his children, I noticed at least one tract from most all of the heirs being sold between 1804 and 1807 for 80 acres.  And a couple of the deeds mentioned that it was either land that had been a patent to James Godwin with the year listed or that it had been land that had been left to that heir as legacy; sometimes it said by "his father" and sometimes it just said it was left to him "by James Godwin."

One deed that has baffled us was from Silas Godwin in 1806. It was for 98 acres (which by the way one other deed was for 71 acres, so there were 6x deeds for 80 acres, + 1x for 71, + 1x for 98 = 649 Acres); However this deed differed from the others because it was from Silas Godwin and Elizabeth Godwin. We are not sure who this Elizabeth Godwin is.

Elizabeth Godwin was the wife of James Godwin who was still living at the time. Her share of the estate is unknown to us at this time. (James Godwin did have land that he purchased in addition to the land grants, so she could have received part of that). Elizabeth Godwin was also the name of Silas' wife. So was this Elizabeth Godwin Silas' wife or mother? And if she was his mother, why wasn't she listed on the deeds of the other heirs? 

Secondly, if you recall, Silas was not mentioned as an heir in the estate records mentioned above. We have determined that he was the same man as Charles listed above. He would have been 2 years older than Allen and 4 years older than Wiley also mentioned above, and he would have been 22 years old when he and Elizabeth Godwin sold this land in 1806, so he was not a minor.

Lastly, it is possible that Silas was a grandson of James and Elizabeth Godwin and therefore a minor which required the co-sign of Elizabeth Godwin, his Grandmother. If this is the case, then that means that Silas/Charles is an heir mentioned above in the estate who did not receive or sell a lot that was drawn from the estate and could possibly be the (dead) father of this minor Silas; or Elias Godwin, who also was listed in the estate but who also did not receive/sell a lot drawn from the estate.

I could really use some input here. Who is this Elizabeth and why did she put her name on Silas' deed?

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Blog Was the Recipient of the Ancestor Approved Award!

I learned last week that Heather Doherty of the "Good to Know: A Genealogist's Guide" Blog awarded my blog the Ancestor Approved Award!!!  The Ancestor Approved Award was created in March 2010 by Leslie Ann Ballou of the Ancestors Live Here Blog.  Leslie created this award to recognize blogs that are "full of tips and tricks as well as funny and heartwarming stories." As a recipient of this award, I was asked to list 10 things that surprised, humbled, or enlightened me about my ancestors. Most of these have come from my more recent ancestors, as I have not yet transitioned from fact-finding genealogy to the telling of my family history yet.  I don't have much enlightenment of exactly what my ancestors went through or endured during their lives like Rosie O'Donnell did with her Irish ancestors who escaped the workhouses of Ireland to build new lives in America (From Episode 3 of Who Do You Think You Are?) or Ashley Judd's Civil War ancestor who was a prisoner of war two times.

Well here are my 10 things:

1.  I was surprised to learn that my grandparents had been married and divorced TWO TIMES!

2.  I was humbled by the fact that my great-grandmother Louise Benson finished High School in Oklahoma in 1929. That was a huge feat for a woman to finish her education back then. And she was the oldest child in the house as well, so I'm sure her parents relied on her to help with the younger children and household chores as well.

3.  I was enlightened by my great-great grandmother, Eva Dennis Benson (mother of Louise Benson above) who lived in OK but who always managed to keep up with all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren (including my Mother who lived in Arkansas) through cards, letters, and visits. Here is a letter she wrote to my grandmother in 1963.

4.  I was surprised to learn that my great-great grandmother Lou Ella Davis Godwin Otten had been married 5x!!!

5.  I found it very humbling that my great-grandparents, John and Blanche Binns went back to school after their children had entered High School in order to get their teaching degrees.  They both taught elementary school. Here's a picture of their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

6.  I was surprised to learn that my great-grandfather, Orville Godwin had been murdered in Tulsa, OK by his neighbor in 1956. You can read the news article here.

7. I am amazed that my ancestors left North Carolina in 1828 to move to Indiana. Although I'm still not sure why they did this, I'm sure it was a huge ordeal to pack up all of your belongings, your families, and make that trek North like that through the mountains.

8.  I am humbled that my 4th great-grandfather, Agrippa S Godwin, died in the Battle of Pilot Knob in Ironton, Missouri in 1864. We have not been able to determine exactly where he was buried. We believe it to have been a mass grave at the battlefield site.

9.  I still can't believe that my 5th great-grandmother, Zilphia Pulley Godwin had 15 children! (Actually I'm sure she had more, but this is how many lived to adulthood. The 15th child died in her first year).

10.  Lastly, I am impressed by my great-grandmother, Nova Peters who took her 4 children and left her alcoholic husband for a new life! You can view a picture of her and I here.

The last thing left to do is to recommend ten other blogs to give this award to. I have chosen the following to pass this blog on to. These folks have inspired me and have taught me so many things about research and family history. Thank you for all of your hard work.

1.  Documenting the Details
2.  Olive Tree Genealogy
3.  Clue Wagon
4.  iPentimento Genealogy and History
5.  Desperately Seeking Surnames
6.  Elyse's Genealogy Blog
7.  Geneageek
8.  The Journey Takers Blog
9.  The Scrappy Genealogist
10.  The Mad Genealogist

Final Episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

Tonight NBC aired the last episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with Ashley Judd.  It was a really interesting and educational episode and kept my attention the entire time.  I'm really sad that it's over though.

I've grown to love and look forward to my quiet Friday nights at home in front of the TV with my "pop" (From Lorine at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog) and my leftovers for dinner. I also like to follow along with the comraderie and conversation about the show over in Twitter.

I have my Tweetdeck open on one side of my laptop and I pull up a search for the show's hashtag #WDYTYA to follow along and then I have Facebook open in the other window so I can delete my Tweets that automatically post to Facebook and clog people's news feeds.

Tonight's episode featured Ashley Judd and her Civil War ancestor Elijah Hensley from Kentucky who entered the service at the young age of 15 and was a prisoner of war twice and who had his leg amputated on the battlefield!!! They used's Civil War records to find him ( is allowing FREE access to its new Civil War Records from April 7-14th).

Then we met Joshua Taylor at the New England Historic Genealogical Society to discover her BREWSTER Mayflower ancestor who had been imprisoned in England for religious reasons!!! He managed to sneak out of England, get aboard the Mayflower and make his way to New England.

I think Ashley was impressed by the "rights" her ancestors had to fight for, even to the point of imprisonment.  How many of us can say we had an ancestor who went to jail for what he believed in? She had 2!!!

Now we just have to figure out what we are going to do with our Friday nights for the rest of the summer, until Who Do You Think You Are? starts back up again!