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Warren County, North Carolina – Earth Day, 2017: Trees, branches, and documenting family roots

IMG_20170422_154125283 - Copy (2)

Warren County, North Carolina


April 22, 2017 · 9:45 pm

Portsmouth, VA: Unmarked no longer

Portsmouth Headstone Copyright Nadia Orton

Unmarked no longer! We finally received the headstone to mark the gravesite of Cpl Edmond Riddick (ca. 1845-1926), a native of Southampton County, Virginia, and member of the 36th Regiment, U. S. Colored Troops. His grave had been unmarked for over ninety years, but now it is done, thanks to the assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He served his community faithfully and selflessly for decades, as a long-time member of Zion Baptist Church, and commander of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was the father of educator William E. Riddick, whose well-known philosophy was “If you can make it at Norcom, you can make it anywhere.” We’re not related to him, but paid for the installation anyway, to avoid delays. Happy to have been able to serve this worthy citizen of Portsmouth.

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January 28, 2017 · 5:55 pm

Portsmouth, VA: Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex Historical Marker

Marker Portsmouth Nadia Orton Copyright

Historical marker dedicated September 19, 2016. Sponsoring organizations: African American Historical Society of Portsmouth, Virginia, INC./VDOT. Co-authors of text: members of the cemetery preservation committee Nadia K. Orton, descendant and independent historian/professional genealogist, and Mr. Charles Johnson, descendant, historian and member, African American Historical Society of Portsmouth, Virginia, Inc

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September 19, 2016 · 5:50 pm

Portsmouth, VA: Restoring dignity to a Civil War veteran’s gravesite

Gravestone Brinkley Portsmouth Copyright Nadia Orton

I first documented Pvt. Henry Brinkley’s gravesite in 2010. Born enslaved in Suffolk, he enlisted on January 1, 1864 at Fort Monroe, and engaged in action at various sites in Tidewater including Petersburg, part of the campaign that led directly to the liberation of Richmond on April 3, 1865. He mustered out in 1866. I always felt a connection to Pvt. Brinkley, and wanted to take care of his grave; he’d survived the Siege of Petersburg, while some of our USCT ancestors had not. Sadly, during a 2013 research visit, I noticed his headstone had been hit by a car (the cemetery gates can’t be locked at night.) Horrified, I made an attempt to find a descendant (current rules stipulate that a living descendant’s permission is required), but in this instance, made glacial progress. Over time, I got really tired of seeing Henry’s broken headstone. It looked terrible, and I didn’t want to fail him, so I contacted the Dept. of Veterans Affairs with a humble plea…and the gravestone was replaced! Lookin’ good, Pvt. Brinkley! RIP

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September 16, 2016 · 5:39 pm

North Carolina: Hidden gravestones in the Lower Cape Fear

Lower Cape Fear Cemetery

Hidden gravestones in the Lower Cape Fear

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February 20, 2016 · 8:30 pm

Chesapeake, Virginia: The Sykes Cemetery, Cornland

Sykes Cemetery Cornland Chesapeake Virginia

Researching the souls interred, Sykes Cemetery, Cornland, Chesapeake


February 9, 2016 · 5:18 pm

Franklin County, North Carolina: Haywood Baptist Church Cemetery

Haywood Baptist Louisburg NC Orton 2016

Haywood Baptist Church Cemetery, Ingleside, Franklin County, NC

Looking for great-great-grandfather’s grave site. In the foreground are several yucca plants.

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February 5, 2016 · 8:02 pm

Hopewell, Va: At City Point

City Point Va. Nadia Orton 2016

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January 12, 2016 · 6:40 am

Portsmouth, Va.: Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex (1879)

Portsmouth Mt. Calvary Cemetery Orton

Last of the fall colors in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex ♦



December 8, 2015 · 4:27 am

Richmond, Va. Evergreen Cemetery (1891)

Evergreen Cemetery Richmond Virginia Orton

Evergreen Cemetery

A recent view of Evergreen Cemetery, established in 1891, Richmond, Virginia. This image was captured near the entrance located on E. Richmond Road, on the southern border of the 59+ acre cemetery. A historical marker, dedicated in 2012, stands sentinel as nature slowly reclaims the historic site.

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November 26, 2015 · 2:12 am