If your ancestors came to North Carolina in the 1600s, there is a good chance they lived in an abolished county at some point. Some abolished counties, such as Dobbs County, were created after 1700. As genealogy researchers, we are taught when boundaries change and new counties are formed records created in the original county stay there rather than moved to the new county; however, that leads to the question of what happens with records created in abolished counties.
Map of NC in 1760 showing the location of Dobbs County – Image courtesy of Learnnc.org
Dobbs County Formation and Records
Let’s take a look at Dobbs County, created in 1758 from part of Johnston County. Only a few records exist; there are some wills, which are in the Thornton W. Mitchell’s will book index. There were also deeds, which are not dated. Dobbs County was abolished in 1791 when it split into Glasgow and Lenoir Counties. Any records that were mixed in with Lenoir County records have been destroyed by court house fire in 1878 and again in 1880.
New in NCpedia: North Carolina Women
North Carolina Women: Portrait of North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Susie Marshall Sharp. From the Waller Collection, PhC.14, collection of the State Archives of North Carolina. Used with permission.
Women’s history month is rushing by! Before it passes, NCpedia has new biographies to share on North Carolina women. These entries come us from our content partners at the University of North Carolina Libraries, the Research Branch of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, and the North Carolina Symphony.
If you’re in for a little browsing, visit this link to all NCpedia bios about women: http://www.ncpedia.org/biography/women
New NCpedia entries:
- Marie Watters Colton — first female speaker Pro Tempore of the NC House of Representatives.
- Elizabeth “Libba” Nevills Cotten — Carrboro native and key figure in the 1960s folk music revival.
- Mary Claire Engstrom — long-time Hillsborough resident and instrumental in founding the town’s Historical Society and chronicling the history of Orange County.
- Mary Nicholson — Early female commercial pilot from Greensboro, joined the British Air Transport Auxiliary during WWII.
- Anne Penland — from Asheville, Penland became a pioneering nurse anesthetist and was the first women to serve as an anesthetist on the European front in WWI, in a British base hospital.
- Susie Marshall Sharp — ground-breaking first female judge in the state’s history, first female member of the State Supreme Court and its first female Chief Justice.
- Maxine Swallin — along with her husband, Benjamin Swallin, she helped revive the floundering North Carolina Symphony in the 1930s.
–Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library
In honor of women’s history month, we will look at some articles about women from NCpedia as examples of how to trace your female ancestors. This post will focus on verifying the marriages of Martha McFarlane McGee Bell, born around 1735 and died about 1820.
Martha first married John McGee about 1759. According to published memoirs about Martha (see source list below), John had been previously married with two children of his own. John left a will in 1774. At the time of John’s decease, there were five children. A few years later around 1779, Martha married William Bell. Martha died in 1820 while William died in 1821.
Although there are multiple sources that share information about her, few of them cite documentation to prove any of it. In the absence of reliable sources to back up the information, it is necessary to verify as much as possible through original records.
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