Too many William Harwards were living in Wake and Chatham Counties of NC in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Sorting them all out has been a recent research interest of mine. Little did I know that I was delving into an area of genealogy known as cluster genealogy. The concept of doing cluster genealogy is exciting, but overwhelming at the same time.
First there is William Howard (Harward) who is the first Howard/Harward to show up in Orange County, NC (now Wake County, NC) in 1767. He is found in the registration of deeds documents for Orange County, NC as buying land from Joseph Barbee. He is believed to have died sometime around 1804/1805. This is based on a deed in Wake County, NC in 1805 where James Haward buys the other heirs shares of William's land.
Next there is William Harward (II) who married Keziah Beasley. He may have been the first William's son. Estate records in the NC Archives have his death in 1819. Among his heirs was a minor child also named William.
Next is William Harward who was married to an Edy (Unknown). In the 1850 census, he was age 61 and living in Chatham County, NC with his wife and three of his children, one of whose name was William (of course). It's possible he was the son of James.
The given name William filters further down several collateral lines into the mid-1800's to later 1800's. These gentlemen fall outside my time frame of study, so I have made note of them, but not studied them.
I would like to say that in today's computer world I have stumbled on a high tech way to track these men named William. But I can't. I track and trace the Williams the old fashion way. I study the records and then with pen and paper put the data in paper chart form. Eventually, I do plan to put this information in a higher tech form.
Fortunately the Harward family was not hiding. The family members show up frequently in census records, land records, war records, and estate papers. They did live on the border of Chatham and Wake Counties, so checking both counties has provided much information. I have high hopes for success as I try to sort through all the Williams.