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Perhaps one of the reasons some ancestors cannot be traced may be due to the size if the counties in which they were traveling through. Oxen were often used in the 1700 and early 1800's. Oxen are very slow traveling and cannot do much more than five to eight miles in one day. A man can do much better than this on foot.

To record a birth it would be necessary for a wagon train to stop enroute and for a person to travel to the County Seat, if known. The County Seat might be 50 miles away. Indians would be only one of the many hazards encountered on a trip to a county seat.

It is very doubtful a man would be willing to make such a trip through unfamiliar territory. It is even more doubtful the traveling party would be willing to stop and delay their journey for the time it would take to have a birth recorded.

Lost Paper Trails

Even if the birth were recorded there would be no connection with anyone or anything in that county if the parents did not settle there. In such cases we find ourselves searching for records which are not there.

When these parents did settle there would be no record of that child's birth as it was not born there. If the parents did record a deed there would be no written connection with the baby. We must also take note that many of the Census takers did not entirely cover their territory. In such cases there would be no paper trail.

When the baby grew to adulthood and married his name would be recorded. In many cases the parents of the bride and groom are not listed on the Licenses. Thus we have a person suddenly appearing with no trace of the parents. From here we would have a paper trail.

Theory Two: Is This William My William?

In a 1750 in a North Carolina county Census we find a William Wilkey with a wife named Susan. He has five children, John, James, Elizabeth, Sara and Samuel.

In the 1760 Census William Wilkey does not appear. We do find a William Wilkey and wife Jane in a different county. He has six children, Elizabeth, Samuel, Sara, Fred, Janette, and Jonathan.

Is this two different William Wilkeys. Perhaps, we know the Wilkeys favor certain names for their children. But lets suppose that William's wife Susan, of the 1760 Census, died in 1762 and William moved to a different county. In this county William met and married Jane and had three children by her.

From the years 1750 to 1760 two of William's children grew to adulthood and were on their own. Thus they would not appear with his family in the 1760 Census. It now appears that we have two different William Wilkeys when we do not..