My Name is William Newbill, born 11/16/66. I am descended on my father's side from Dan Newbill and his father, also named Dan Newbill, from Burnt Chimney, Va.
When I was growing up in Hawaii, where my father moved, I always thought my family surname was interesting and odd, because no one else had it, including people on TV, in the movies, in books, etc. The only Newbills in the phonebook were us.
I also remember that when I was a teenager visiting the family farm in Virginia (since sold) I read a family history written by a distant cousin who was trying to get a degree in genealogy (if I'm not mistaken).
Three things about that document caught my attention. First, this person reported that all Newbills could be traced back to a single progenitor, who had arrived in America from Europe, except for the African American Newbills. That was the second surprise to me. As a young boy from Hawaii, I had never considered the fact that my ancestors had owned slaves. The story continued that many freed slaves took the name of the family that owned them, especially if the relation was relatively civil. I remember hoping that was true.
The third thing that surprised me was that no one knew our progenitor's original name. There was mention, however, of a family myth that the person was angry regarding the inheritance laws in England (I don't think it was Scotland, but I could be wrong), so they had changed their name to Newbill.
Could it be that changing one's name to Newbill was a protest engaged in by more than one immigrant? After all, if a name is changed in protest, one would hope that the protest was recognized by others, which could have only happened if it was an accepted custom.
Of course, it's more likely that I misremember the story, or that the story just got changed over time.
There was also discussion of the name having been changed from a French surname that sounds like Newbill, though I can't remember now what that was.
The genealogy also discussed the fact that one part of the family had moved to Oregon, and I believe that there were letters from that branch.
I'm pretty sure the family history still exists in one of my Uncle's houses. If you'd like I can ask after it, though it may take some time to locate.
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