|For the last thirty years, I have been attempting
to trace the ancestry of Thomas Harden, who died in Rockingham Co., North
Carolina in 1809. His daughter, Jane Harden, who married William Hornbuckle, is
I traced him from Rockingham and Caswell counties back to Fairfax County, VA,
where Jane Harden and William Hornbuckle married, and possibly back to Cople
Parish, Westmoreland Co., VA, where he may have lived in the 1750ís.
Among his sons were Peter and Presley Harden, names that appear almost
exclusively among the descendants of the daughters of William and Peter Presley
of Northumberland Co., VA, who had no male descendants.
This led me to consider the Hardings in this area as possible ancestors for
Thomas Harden of Rockingham. Further research has led to his possibly being the
son of John Harden of Westmoreland Co., VA and his wife Jane Barecraft, whose
brother married a descendant of the Presleyís. Furthermore, there is a Peter
Harden in Westmoreland in the 1750ís of Thomas Hardenís age. This Peter
witnessed a deed for Ann Washington, widow of Augustine Washington, in 1762 in
Fairfax County, but is heard from no further.
However, I have no proof that this is my line.
In researching this family, I found many statements of
family connection that seemed to have no proof behind them. Yet I accepted them
because they appeared to be accepted by most family researchers. Still, the
contradictions were frustrating. Many names appeared in families and were heard
from no further. Others appeared to be duplicates. In many cases, two ancestries
were supplied for the same man and in others two individuals were combined in
I had to sort this out if there was a chance of success in tracing my own
I decided to see how much of the material in the published works could be
proven from the original records. Since all of the Northumberland County records
are on film five minutes from where I work, the job was easy, if time consuming.
I expected four or five pages of records to emerge from this research. I also
expected a better picture of how the family fit together.
Over the next two months, virtually every family connection in print became
untenable. First to go was the English ancestry of Thomas Harding I of
Northumberland. Second were the children of his son Henry Harding, who married
Jane Arledge. I found incorrect dates, missing children, connections that had
been totally missed, other connections that never existed and a mass of original
Two months later, this book, at 120 pages, is the result.
I have abstracted word for word most of the court and will and deed records
of Northumberland County, except for the later ones, which are summaries. I also
added, either word for word or in summary, all the records I could find for
Stafford, Westmoreland, Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Loudoun is
the least complete since I have not done the court records.
Also included are all the deed records of Rockingham and Caswell counties in
North Carolina and many records of Orange Co., NC as well as the complete 1790
census of the state.
In the first section are thumbnail charts of the families of the area as I
have reconstructed them. The second section will serve as an index to the
records that follow. The records pertaining to each individual are listed in
date order. Northumberland Co., VA records have no county designation. All other
counties are noted with their name. I have numbered the Northumberland record
books for ease in reference although no numbers exist for the early books.
The record sections that follow are the heart of the book. Each record is
marked with reference to its location in the original books so the researcher
can easily check them.
Finally, I have made extensive comments on previously published works to the
researcher can see where the errors were made and how the original records
I make no claim that my reconstruction of the families involved is the final
word on the subject. I present this material so other researchers will have a
solid base from which to proceed. All comments are welcome.