Library Notes: New resources for genealogy sleuths

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

By Gretchen Witt
Rowan Public Library

The History Room has a number of new volumes which may be of interest to researchers and casual readers alike. For any who may have Scandinavian heritage, a new book “Scandinavian Genealogy Guide” outlines the resources available to track families from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Did you know that Swedish conscripts, when entering the army, chose or were assigned an “army” name to differentiate each soldier from the myriad Jonssons, Svensons and other patronymics so prevalent in the population? The author’s ancestor chose Fryxell in honor of a poet. Nearly 11 million Americans claim some Scandinavian ancestry, the seventh greatest ethnic population in the U.S. after Italian. While some early Scandinavian settlers came to Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, they predominantly settled in the Midwest often coming through Chicago. The guide gives a short overview of the history of each country as well as immigration patterns. Important language tips, names and naming traditions are explored and available church, tax, vaccination, confirmation and military records are discussed as well. David Fryxell’s guide is an excellent place to start research or begin to understand a DNA result.

For those who have often heard in family lore that their ancestors are both Native American and African descent, Angela Y. Walton-Raji’s book “Black Indian Genealogy Research” may be a resource to investigate. Walton-Raji briefly explains the different relationships those of African descent and Native Americans developed through Colonial times up through the Civil War. She also explains how different nations enrolled or accepted people as part of the nation. Dawes rolls and other Census rolls had separate rolls for freedmen even if the freedman had part “Indian” blood. The book gives examples of other records in which to glean information — land records, affidavits of the Wallace Rolls, military records, rejected files and slave schedules. This resource could be an eye-opener for anyone looking for African or Native American ancestry.

Recently acquired as a gift by the author, the History Room has a new book on the Kilpatrick Family, “A Family of Colonial North Carolina” by Keith Hazen Kilpatrick. The volume is nicely illustrated both with documents and photographs. The family Kilpatrick/Kirkpatrick is of Scots-Irish origin tracing back as far as Robert the Bruce. The book traces the first Kilpatrick in America down the Philadelphia Great Wagon road and into in the Piedmont. The Kilpatricks participated in the Revolution, helped start Presbyterian churches and intermarried in the area of North Carolina that was once Rowan County including what is now Iredell and Rockingham counties. The author examines Y-DNA evidence and discusses other families related to the Kilpatrick family. The book covers interesting bits of Kilpatrick history including the fact that one of the men in the “Hole in the Wall Gang” was a Kilpatrick — Ben Kilpatrick “The Tall Texan.” An excellent resource for several local family surnames as well as general information about the Scots-Irish experience in England, Scotland, Ireland and the American colonies.  History Room materials can be used in the History Room; they cannot be checked out. Stay tuned to RPL’s social media channels for information about spring genealogy programs. Questions? Call 704-216-8232 or email .

Gretchen Witt is History Room librarian and supervisor at the Rowan Public Library.

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