Bastardy Records of Tyrrell County, North Carolina
1791 - 1879



George Merritt

The bastardy records of Tyrrell County, NC have not previously been published. As I, Charles Barnes, researched my gg-grandfather, George Merritt, it became evident that he was a bastard child of Keziah Merritt. I was thus led to the bastardy bonds of Tyrrell County to see if I could identify his father. A search of the appropriate time frame resulted in five documents and the identification of Joseph Gibson as George's father. Surveying these records, I was surprised by their significance from a genealogical perspective. Although the child's name is never mentioned, direct and implied relationships of the mother and father are available in most records. Hoping that these records do not ruffle anyone's feathers, I have decided to begin extracting them.

This will be another work in progress, with additional records added periodically. The period 1791 - 1829 is being extracted from Microfilm Number 2047664, Item #4, available through your local Family History Center. The period 1830 - 1879 will be extracted from Microfilm Number 2047665, Item #1. The transcribed records are in the same sequence as the actual records. An index is also provided for all names that appear in every record. This index includes the date and type of record and the involvement of the individual in the record. Use the index to locate names you are interested in, then click on that name to go to that person in the record cited. Then just click on your browser's BACK feature to return to the index after you are done.

There are many different type records found among the bastardy bonds and records. The reason for bastardy bonds was to place the ultimate burden of support for a bastard child upon the father should the mother become unable to provide proper support. Otherwise, the child would become a ward of the county poor house and be an expense to the county. Typically the process started with public knowledge or a complaint that an unwed woman was with child. Sometimes the process was started after the fact. A warrant would be issued to bring the woman before the local justices of the peace where she would be examined to determine the father of the child. If she named the father, another warrant was then issued to bring him before the local justices of the peace and he posted bond to appear in court to answer the charges on a particular date. If found guilty, he would then have to post bond for support of the bastard child. This is what is known as a bastardy bond. Where support subsequently became necessary, the court would issue a judgement for collection of the requisite amount from the father and/or his bondsmen (security). If the pregnant woman refused to name the father, she and her family typically had to post bond for support of the bastard child. I have titled these type records herein as follows:

1. Warrant for Pregnant Woman to Appear
2. Examination of Pregnant Woman
3. Warrant for Reputed Father to Appear
4. Examination of Reputed Father
5. Appearance Bond of Reputed Father
6. Bastardy Bond
7. Warrant to Collect Judgement

Only one or two of these records still exist for the 1790s and early 1800s in any particular case of bastardy. Most of them exist in each case for later periods.


Go to Bastardy Records (1791 - 1799)

Go to Bastardy Records (1800 - 1809)

Go to Bastardy Records Index