{52 Ancestors} #4: Where in North Carolina are William & Sarah Fayton?

That's me. Trying to get by, around or over this brick wall!
Now you see them in 1910. Now you don't in 1920. But they're back in 1930! Where have they been (they were in their 40s in 1910) and where did they go in between? Those are the questions I've been pondering.

Yes, I know that people may avoid the census taker, or pages could be lost, or they could've simply been overlooked. But so far, I've found my ancestors to be rather upright, law abiding census participants. If they have seemed to be "missing" at first, I usually find them buried in a typographical error or bastardization of their first or last names. But not William and Sarah...

Their names really could be part of the problem; William and Sarah are rather generic names. However, their last name -- Fayton -- is not. They have lots of family in Edenton, NC in the early 1900s, so it doesn't make sense that they would have been movers/wanderers/itinerants. His profession is listed in both census records as "laborer on a farm." That doesn't tell me much -- as this is a common "profession" for black men in the south during that time period. But it does tell me that he is not a "farmer" or "farm owner." So it leaves open the possibility that the family is a bit transient. But, both he and his wife are listed as being able to read and write (not as common for black folks born in the 1800s in the south), so that factors against them having to move around.

Speaking of family, in 1910 William and Sarah had a nice size brood of 5. Ranging in ages from 3 to 13. Yet another reason that I doubt they were the traveling type.
1910 Census - Edenton Township, Chowan County, NC

This brick wall doesn't end with the missing census entries. I have found no other documentation on them -- military, death records, birth records, marriage records (for the kids). I believe I found a death index entry for Sarah in 1929. That jibes with the 1930 census record, where I found William living as a widower. But without the certificate, I don't know much else.
1930 Census - Edenton Township, Chowan County, NC
Even as I write this, I ran a few more searches and viewed, page-by-page, the 1900 and 1920 census for Edenton, NC, but still came up empty. I do have a suspicion now about the 1920 census; I think certain district pages for Edenton, NC may be missing/lost (just my luck!).  Because I tried searching for people who were neighbors of William and Sarah in 1910, in the 1920 census, to see if I could find William and Sarah on the same page. But none of those people came up in my search. Too many names to be just purely coincidence, I think. Could the problem really be as simple as missing pages?

The search continues....


  1. Wow, talk about a mystery. Good luck in your search. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Thank you for sharing.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts