The new 6th Edition of Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia & South Carolina from the Colonial Period to About 1820, by Paul Heinegg, contains genealogies of 650 families, 38 more families than found in the 5th Edition. Moreover, Mr. Heinegg has traced most of the families as far as possible from what is available in the public record. Many families are linked all the way back to their origins—in most cases, unions of white women and African American men.
The genealogies vary in length, of course, with a few occupying less than a page and others ranging over 10 or 20 pages, depending on the available sources. As readers can see from the following excerpt from the Newton family of Virginia excerpt, Mr. Heinegg incorporates his sources directly into the family narrative, making it easy for the researcher to conduct follow-up investigations when time allows.
1. Abraham Newton, born say 1700, was a “Mulatto” slave who was purchased by his wife Elizabeth Young, “a free Mulatto” woman of Norfolk County. She died in November 1743 and left a will (not recorded) which gave him his freedom. The Legislative Council ordered him set free [Hall, Executive Journals of the Council, V:196, 215]. Their children were probably
i. Henry1, born say 1723, taxable head of a Norfolk County household with Benjamin and William Newton in Western Branch District in 1759 [Wingo, Norfolk County Tithables, 1751-65, 133].
2 ii. Benjamin, born say 1725.
3 iii. William1, born say 1730.
2. Benjamin Newton, born say 1725, was taxable in the household of (his brother?) Henry Newton in 1759 and was head of a Norfolk County household in 1761: taxable with (his wife?) Elizabeth Newton and (brother?) William Newton. He was taxable with Elizabeth in 1765 and 1767 and taxable until 1774 [Wingo, Norfolk County Tithables, 1751-65, 133, 167, 190; 1766-80, 15, 72, 88, 106, 150, 213, 228]. Benjamin and Elizabeth may have been the parents of
i. Sarah, born say 1752, a tithable in Richard Carney’s household in Norfolk County on the north side of Western Branch in 1770 (called Sary Neowton) [Wingo, Norfolk County Tithables, 1766- 80, 107].
ii. James1, born about 1754, a “Mulatto” apprenticed to Josiah Deans of Norfolk County to be a carpenter on 10 December 1769 [DB 25:52], one of eight tithables in William Deans’s Norfolk County household in 1770: William Deans, Sr., Josiah Deans & negroes James, Neowton, Dempo, Will, Sam & Lead – 8 [Wingo, Norfolk County Tithables, 1766-80, 107].
4 iii. Thomas, born say 1770.
iv. Wilson, a “free Mulatto” bound by the Princess Anne County court as an apprentice to John Williams on 10 August 1772 to learn the trade of blacksmith [Minutes 1770-3, 298].
v. William2, born say 1784, a “M”(ulatto) taxable in Norfolk County from 1802 to 1817: a “B.M.” (Black Man) living on Western Branch and taxable on a “free Negro” tithe in 1816 [PPTL, 1791- 1812, frames 434, 486A, 581, 694, 746; 1813-24, frames 105, 145, 263]. On 19 December 1804 he purchased 13 acres in Portsmouth Parish at the head of the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River which had formerly belonged to Andrew Mackie, adjoining Lydia King’s, from Robert and Pheraby Cox for $130, with Thomas Newton (signing) as a witness [Orders 1804-5, 88a], and he married Margaret Nickens, 30 March 1805 Norfolk County marriage [Ministers’ Returns, 1787-1840, 34].
3. William1 Newton, born say 1730, was tithable in Henry Newton’s household in 1759, in Benjamin Newton’s household in 1761 and tithable in Richard Carney’s household with Sary Newton on the north side of Western Branch in 1770 (called William Neowton), taxable on 2 tithes in the same district as the Bass family in 1774 and taxable on 1 tithe in the same district as the Bass and Hall families in 1778 [Wingo, Norfolk County Tithables, 1751-65, 133, 167; 1766-80, 107, 237, 267]. He may have been the father of
5 i. James2 , born about 1773.
4. Thomas Newton, born say 1770, was taxable in Portsmouth and Elizabeth River parishes in Norfolk County from 1789 to 1817: called a “M”(ulatto) starting in 1798; a labourer living on Western Branch in a “List of Free Negroes and Mulattoes” in 1801; a “B.M.” (Black Man) taxable on a horse and 4 cattle in 1815 [PPTL, 1782-1791, frames 647; 1791-1812, frames 87, 255, 384, 564, 1813-24, frames 105, 263]. On 15 December 1795 he purchased 1 acre from Andrew Mackie for £3 in Norfolk County at the head of the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River adjoining the main road and John Cooper’s land and another acre from Mackie adjoining this on 18 December 1798 with James Newton (signing) as witness. In November 1805 he purchased 7 acres adjoining Richard David’s Mill and Thomas Archer‘s land from John Cooper for $100, and on 12 December 1810 he sold this land to Thomas Archer for $105 [DB 36:40; 37:168-9; 42:173; 45:113-4]. He was head of a Norfolk County household of 9 “other free” in 1810 [VA:820]. On 21 July 1823 the Norfolk County court granted him and Willis Bass, “free mulattos,” permission to keep a firelock, powder and shot [Minutes 1822-1823, 165]. He was married to Franky Collins when her father Kinner Collins made his 1823 Princess Anne County will which named his granddaughter Patsey Newton [WB 3:368-9]. He was father of
ii. ?Mary, born about 1801, registered in Norfolk County on 17 May 1824: age 22 years, 5 ft 4-3/4 in, a mulatto woman, Born free [Register of FreeNegroes & Mulattoes, 1809- 1852, no. 293]. She married Richard Anderson (free blacks), 4 December 1824 Norfolk County bond, Isaac Fuller surety. She registered again as Mary Anderson on 19 August 1833 shortly after the “not Negro” law was passed: age 32 years, 5 ft 4, Indian complexion, Indian descent[Register of Free Negroes & Mulattoes, 1809-1852, no. 906].
iii. ?Elizabeth, born about 1803, registered in Norfolk County on 17 May 1824, the same day as (her sister?) Mary: age 20 yrs, 5 ft 23/4in, a mulatto woman, Born free [Register of Free Negroes &Mulattoes, 1809-1852, no. 294]. She was called a “free woman of colour,” when she married Benjamin Godwin, 10 September 1830 Norfolk County bond, Samuel B. Browne surety [Marriage Bonds, 1829-33, 64]. Benjamin Godwin, born about 1780, registered in Norfolk County on 30 June 1815: 5 feet 8 Inc. and an half, Of a Dark Complexion, 35 Years of age, freed by Robert Godwin of Nansemond County. Elizabeth Godwin registered again on 19 August 1833 the same day as (her sister?) Mary Anderson: age 30, 5 ft 13/4, Indian complexion, Indian descent [Register of Free Negroes & Mulattoes, 1809-1852, nos. 100, 905].
5. James2 Newton, born about 1773, was taxable in Portsmouth and Elizabeth River . . .