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Genealogy Gazette

Volume 2, Number 8
Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369
August 2010


Eighth Edition of 2010 - Genealogy Gazette

In this issue we will be discussing how to use the Bastard bonds in your genealogy research. We are offering a special price on one of our most popular books, North Carolina Bastardy Bonds, until August 18th. This book can be purchased for $27.50 at this page.

Please stop by and see us at the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Knoxville, Tennessee, August 18-21. We will be offering special discounts for the attendees. We look forward to meeting you.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me at jimd@mountainpress.com.

Thank you,
James L. Douthat
Mountain Press


Bastard Bonds

Every genealogist begins their research looking for birth-death-marriage records. Once these are found, then they begin to want to fill out the details of the information on each of the individuals in their charts. There is so much more to a person than when they are hatched-matched-dispatched. Who is the person? What was their life really like? What did they feel? Think? Value?

Now if we reach this point, then we have to dig a lot deeper into the lives of our ancestors. We go to the courthouses, libraries and other sources of information to find out more about the individuals. You spot on the shelves a book titled - “BASTARD BONDS”. Immediately you react like most people when I take the North Carolina Bastardy Bonds by Betty J. and Edwin A. Camin out to workshops. The first person through the booth will pick it up and say, “My folks can’t be in here!” Cradling the book, they look around to see if anyone is watching them and then turn to the index. There in the thousands of names listed they will frequently find a name that rings a bell for them. Many times, if their ancestors came from North Carolina, they will find a name they’ve been searching.

Let’s look at the situation a little bit before we jump to conclusions. From about 1700 up to about 1850, the counties had no method of caring for those individuals who needed support in their growing up days. As the child gets a little older, they might be bound out to another individual who is bound to the court to care for the child, feed them, educate them, train them in some profession and when they reach maturity they are given two suits of clothing - one on and one off - as well as the tools for their trade.

Another case is when the mother chooses to keep the child born out of wedlock. As the child is sometimes call, a “Woods Colt”, “Old Field Colt” or just illegitimate. The courts then will go to her family and require them to get a number of signatures of men who state they will see to it that the child is cared for until it becomes of age. These persons may be family members who are over the age of twenty-one, friends, neighbors, and in some cases, the father of the child. The father is usually not specified. In order to assure the court they will never have to take care of the child, they preferred to obtain a number of signatures. In most cases, the bondsman is not the father, but only one who is willing to help raise the child and care for the child until maturity. All too often, the reader will jump to conclusions that the name means they are the father of the child. This cannot be assured, but it sometimes does raise doubt. Only the mother can give the assurance that this is the father.

If you are researching in North Carolina, then the North Carolina Bastardy Bonds may be of great help in your research. It is one of those books that every library should have as it covers about 30 counties in North Carolina. The counties covered are: Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Bertie, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Bute, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Cleveland, Craven, Cumberland, Granville, Moore, New Hanover, Rowan, Rutherford, Surry, and Wake.

If you are researching another state, then several things may be in play. Some states required each county to have a separate book for the “Bastards” in the county, or in many cases, the county makes references to them in their county minute book. In this latter case, then you have to search until you find something. In some rare cases, the State Legislature will file a petition to give some child a name when they are found to be illegitimate.

When one finds an illegitimate child in their background, then that line is stopped unless the mother gives some indication as to who the father might be. This type of situation occurs frequently when one finds they are descendants from royalty. It is well known that many in the royal lines of any country are from these situations. Just remember, you are not responsible for your ancestors life style, you are only searching for information.

Happy Hunting! You never know what you will uncover next!

North Carolina Bastardy Bonds

252 Pages, Soft Cover, Full Name Index, NC-0144, $35.00

The records of over 30 counties in North Carolina with respect to their Bastard Bonds.

Click here for surnames and special price.

Carroll County, Tennessee Court Minutes
Volume 4: 1843-1850

494 Pages, Full Name Index, Soft Cover, TN-1059. $50.00

This volume is packed with orphan records, estate matters, inventories, tax records, fines, bastardly bonds, pauper records, emancipation orders, civil/criminal court cases, and tax records.

Click here for surnames.



Bland County, Virginia Court Order Book: 1872-1877

Compiled by Parke Bogle
162 Pages, Full Name Index, Soft Cover, VA-0645, $28.50

Included are deeds, estate matters, overseers, trial verdicts, indictments, payments, business license applications/approvals, court appointments, names of public officials, guardianships, orphan records, names of jurors, bastard bonds, etc.

Click here for surnames.

If you have any questions or suggestions for future editions, please email us at jimd@mountainpress.com.