Or "Rednecks, Other Peopleís Research and Hidden Jewels"
by Uncle Hiram
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
The fact is a good genealogist does not like to take anybodyís word for anything. We want to see the proof, the documentation. I will admit I was probably just a tad overboard when I insisted my mother show me my own birth certificate.
Now I know you are sitting there thinking what in the world does that have to do with newsletters. Let me explain. It may come as big a surprise to yall as it was to me, but there was genealogy before there was an Internet. In the old days (PreInternet) the oil that kept our obsession (Hobby) flowing was Court House visits, letter writing and the Genealogical Society Newsletters.
Personally I subscribe to three newsletters and write for a fourth. The amount of information, suggestions and clues I get from them easily justify the expense, but itís not the modern ones that I really want to discuss with you. Now I know you are thinking what good will a 50 or 100 year old newsletter gonna do for me. Let me tell you a story about a dumb Redneck (me) that stumbled across a vital piece of genealogical data in a 99 year old newsletter.
Last week I was in the Dallas Public Library to do a little research. I was a little frustrated because the specific book I had come to research was being used by some little old lady. Since I donít get a lot of library time I decided to kill some time by looking through some of the other books. One of the books I looked in was ďNorth Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Jan 1900 Vol. 1 No 1,Ē Edited by JRB Hathaway. While I was thumbing through the index (Still muttering under my breath) I can across a reference to Thamer Howcott. I flipped to the page and found the will extract for a William Jones of Chowan County Dated 9 Jan 1722. One of the Testors (Witnessí) was Thamer Howcott. There are several reasons this seemingly trivial notation was a hidden jewel.
- It gave indisputable proof that Thamer Howcott was alive and of legal age in 1722 with the Surname HOWCOTT. This established without a shadow of a doubt that she was the spouse of Edward Howcott the first (1688 Ė 1748) instead of Edward Howcott the 2nd born about 1720.
- The extract included the will book and page so I could use it as a source and
- The will no longer exists. This legal document (primary source) that is so vital to my personal research was either stolen, lost or destroyed during the last 100 years.
I also found a land deed extract between Thos. Hoyter, King of the Chowan Indians, and John Freeman dated 31 Aug 1733 that listed Edward HOWCOTT as a Testor (Witness). Although this document didnít add any new information I consider it a hidden jewel because of the people involved. The historical significance of this land deed between the Chowan Indian tribe and the early pioneers of Chowan County with the signature of one of my ancestors may be trivial to most people, but it does reinforce my families long held belief that our family history and pride are interwoven with American history.
The third hidden jewel I discovered was a land deed extract dated 1 April 1713 between Thomas Warr and John HOWCOTT, one of my ancestors. The reason this is significant is because itís the earliest DOCUMENTED proof that my family was in North America.
All of this found in a 100 year old genealogical newsletter. All documents that no longer exist for one reason or another. So Hit those Newsletters.
- Adios and Keep Smiling!
- Bill Hocutt (Uncle Hiram)