These items can tell us more about an individual or a family than you would think. Not just what they purchased, what medicines they took, or what the cost of things were back then, but other important things genealogically.
These records have names in them that are not listed anywhere else. Some of them of from the 'days of the dashes', where, if you were not a head of a household, your name is not listed.
- the names of sons who came of age between censuses and either died or migrated.
-the names of wives who didn't make it to 1850, where they would be listed.
-entries where people of the same surname came in on the same day. This does not prove a relation, but certainly suggests it.
-Proof that certain individuals were still in the area on a certain date, which narrows the window of their time of migration.
-medicines they bought which may indicate an illness they had.
-certain signs of character.
-and some named relationships "son of", "widow of", "with father" and the like.
These books are a treasure.
Below are some examples:
This entry in Daniel Freeman's Ledger from Lawrenceville, Montgomery County, North Carolina, is the only record of a "Weaver" being in the vicinity in the years 1833 to 1837. Lawrenceville was one of the several county seats when Montgomery and Stanly County was one. It was on the east side of the PeeDee and not too incredibly far from the Swift Island area. The families that lived on the Stanly County side of the Swift Island ferry seemed to visit the store at the same time. Perhaps they did this purposely and shared a ferry ride. Weaver becomes important in the Melton/Milton research later.
John Melton Jr. on the same day as James Boysworth and Joab C. Bird. John Jr. married Nancy Boysworth and James was his brother-in-law. Joab C Bird did migrate and I've spoken to his descendants. Notice that he purchased lead in conjunction with J. Boysworth. It is likely these neighbors/relatives made the trip together.
On this page, John Melton Sr. is listed right over his daughter, Fanny (Frances Melton) Lilly.
In January of 1834, Polly purchased a set of cups and saucers, needles, side combs and a pair of women's shoes. Side combs were a popular item, they must have been easily lost. Cups and saucers were not a common purchase. . They were expensive. She must have been entertaining. Benjamin Bird also came shopping that day. He made a purchase with Calvin, most likely referring to Calvin Bird.
Polly made a purchase on the same day as William B Christian, Eli Shad and Randall Howell.
Here William B Melton made a purchase following Henry Melton and John Jr. on the previous page. Same date. Turner Scarborough was also a customer. Many of the Scarboroughs migrated to Tennesee about the same time as the Solomons and Jephta Melton, who fought in the War of 1812, from Montgomery County, NC.
William B Melton buying more silk. Who was it for, I wonder?
In this entry, William Howell, part of my earlier research on the Howell's, is identified as a Post Rider.
A big order from William B Melton. Below, William Solomon is making a purchase with Catherine Marks.
Here, William Solomon is making a purchase for "E. Marks".
In this one, William Solomon is making a purchase for B. Marks.
William Solomon is my great-grandfather's grandfather. In someone else's research, I have seen his wife as "Tabitha Collins". In the census records, she is just Tabitha Solomon. In other research, she is Tabitha Marks. I have a tendency to believe that "Marks" was the correct maiden name for her, due to William Solomon's involvement with the Marks family. He was probably their son-in-law. I have found no proof, connection, or involvement with any Collins family at all.
While ledgers like these would offer a definitive proof of nothing, they can offer many hints and clues that bring us to our own conclusions. While it is interesting to see what our ancestors purchased, it also offers a glimpse into how they lived. Groups that require proof of ancestry, would probably not allow store journal entries as proof of lineage, but for personal benefit, you can accept that someone named as a relative in the journal, was in fact a relative, or that someone referred to as "Miss" was a single, never married woman.
Dr. Francis Kron treated these families that lived along the Yadkin/PeeDee River. I am now researching his records for mention of them. His observations are lending credence to speculations and corroborations to conjecture.