Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Holt and Foust Family Lines – A Genealogy Detour

A couple weeks ago a neighbor sent us an email asking if we could help him locate a repository for a packet of old documents he had inherited from his mother. We said we would be happy to look at what he had and depending on what was there, maybe we could, and if not, we knew people that could do an evaluation.

We arranged a time when we both were free and he brought his packet to us. We asked our neighbor to write down his parents’ names, birth and death dates and where they were from. After he left, we sorted the documents on our dining room table. Once sorted, hubby went to his computer and started a family tree using our Reunion software. I grabbed the laptop and created abstracts of the deeds.

In the black packet with the label “Compliments of The Pocomoke Guano Co., Manufacturers of Fertilizers, Norfolk, VA, Double your crop by using Pocomoke Fertilizers, It means a full pocket book,” were indentures (deeds) for Michael Holt, Jr. dated 1760, indenture for Thomas Mathews dated 1775, indenture of James Rogers to John Holt dated 1796, land transfer from Benjamin and Ann Tyson to their infant grandson, Henry McKenzie dated 1805/1806, with private examination of Ann Tyson to make sure she was okay with the transfer. These deeds were all in the Alamance County/Orange County, North Carolina area.

Besides the Holt documents, we had many items of the Foust family, including the will of Marie Foust, Alamance County, North Carolina dated 18 April 1881. Canceled checks and receipts of Marie’s son, Thomas Foust. A War Ration book with stamps of Gina S. Holmes.

I Googled Alamance Historical Society and got their museum’s website. I sent them a note, and then followed up with a phone call. The museum is located in the country home of Michael Holt, III, built in 1790, so yes, they were very familiar with both the Holt and Foust names. I offered to send a list of the materials that were on our table, plus the abstracts, and I did that on Sunday.

Today we received an email from the Alamance County Historical Museum, and they are indeed interested in the packet of documents. Our neighbor is going to be thrilled when he learns there is a repository that cares about and will preserve these documents.

In the meantime, hubby’s a bit frustrated that he could not find a connection between our neighbor’s mother and the Holts or Fousts. Maybe the museum folks can solve that mystery for us. In the meantime it was fun taking a genealogy detour, having documents from the 1700s in our hands, and coming up with a happy ending for everyone.


  1. This is wonderful--the packet will go to a repository that values them and will archive them for future researchers to study.

  2. We are getting together with our neighbor this morning, and we are all relieved that this task was so easy and that the museum is interested in preserving these documents. We hope they will help other researchers.