David McCorkle lives in the Raleigh area; a distant cousin, he descends from Headley Thomas, a son of Ananias from Anson County NC. Our earliest known ancestor is Benjamin Thomas, father of Ananias. Maybe a year ago, David told me of his project to digitally record land grants from the area of Mecklenburg County NC. Knowing how much time and effort it has taken me to work a few small areas of Anson and Cabarrus counties, all I could think was uh huh ….have fun. Well, within the year, David has fulfilled his challenge and is now taking aim on records for the entire state of North Carolina …I can’t fathom the idea!
Years ago I had my own project. I sought to plat lands where Benjamin Thomas settled along the waters of Richardson creek in now Union County NC. Knowing Benjamin was NOT a child of the Stephen Thomas family in Richmond County to the east, I wanted to learn more about the people my ancestor called neighbors. Believing birds of feather flocked together, I hoped something in the land records would scream out and lead me to a more distant past.
It was a pretty slow process, drawing the old surveys to scale and connecting them to others using clues rising from the written descriptions. I was able to expand my own plat map only as long as the grants listed adjoining neighbors. Eventually, reaching tracts that did not identify adjoining lands, I was faced with what seemed to be an insurmountable wall. I would either have to stop the quest or reverse strategy by wading through ALL the grants in the county hoping to find OTHER pieces of land that mentioned adjoining Thomas lands. The haystack was too big; my project was put to rest.
This very day, whilst looking at the index on David’s site, I saw he offered a new choice. I could look at only Mecklenburg County land grants, or …..click and look at land grants from Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. Since David has somehow cross referenced ALL the grants, I was able to quickly find the much needed adjoining land owners. My project has new legs and I very much thank David for his diligence and good work.
Now, for those who have no clue about what I’ve just written, please take a look at David’s site: http://nclandgrants.com/home.htm. If your ancestor lived near Mecklenburg NC, type them into the index, see the land they claimed, and learn a little about who they called “neighbor.”