Norfolk Folk

A LITTLE genealogical breakthrough, and many thanks to James Nickens for advising me to look in Norfolk for my ancestors.

To recount, the source of my indigenous ancestry is through the Collins family of Gates County, North Carolina. I descend, through my grandmother Margaret Pittman, from a man named Thomas Collins, who lived between 1769 and 1849. The birthplace of Thomas Collins was always obscure, because this family did not appear in local records prior to 1783.

That 1783 document is the militia list of Willis Parker in Nansemond County. This covers families living along the border with North Carolina. Some of the families here intermarried with the Collins and Russell families or lived alongside them. These include the Elmore, Kearney (Carney), Goomer, and Reid families.

One can find Elmore, Carney, Goomer, and Reid in Norfolk County prior to the American Revolution. And one can find the name Thomas Collins as well. There is a Thomas Collins, Sr., and Jr., as well as a Lemuel Collins listed in the records between 1751 and 1772. That was the last year that these men were listed, before the appeared in the Nansemond lists in 1783, and later moved into Gates County, appearing on lists in the 1780s and 1790s, before they apparently acquired their land near Collins Road in the early 1800s.

What’s fascinating is that “Thomas Collins” appears in the same list as the Bass family. And in some cases near the Halls, Shoecrafts, and other mixed families, as seen above. This has led me to revisit some of the narratives I had created about the source of the “Scratch Hall Folk.” Because it looks like these families were actually living in Norfolk prior to arriving to Scratch Hall. In that sense, they are Norfolk Folk. This also opens up a new corridor of about 20 years of records to study related to this family. I have not yet seen the first 20 years of Norfolk tithables, from the 1730s to the 1750s, to determine how long this family was in Norfolk.

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