Kinsearching July 24, 2011




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Renowned genealogist John Anderson Brayton recently started a new series: ORDER OF FIRST FAMILIES OF NORTH CAROLINA ANCESTOR BIOGRAPHIES, VOL. 1: “THE FIRST TWO HUNDRED.” Membership in the distinguished Order of the First Families of North Carolina requires an individual to descend from a progenitor who lived in what is now the Tar Heel State before it became a royal colony on 12 July 1729.

     Brayton begins the first volume in his latest series with an introduction and a foreword in which he explains a person’s eligibility for membership in the organization, his genealogical style, and the sources he consulted. Undertaken with the blessings of the hereditary society, he draws upon the documented data about the first two hundred ancestors submitted by members of the Order. Accumulating a vast knowledge of the early settlers and genealogical resources of North Carolina in the course of his own research, he included additional information to try to complete the family tree of each pioneering ancestor. Combining all available materials about each progenitor in his biographical sketches, Brayton establishes the individual’s origins (if known), the name of his or her spouse, and the names of all of his or her children and their spouses (if possible). In addition, he furnishes a wide variety of miscellaneous facts about the main subject and abbreviated proof for his statements.

     Depending upon the amount of information he discovered, he varies each biographical sketch in length and quantity of detail. For instance, the entry concerning Johan/John CUNYS/KOONCE, born about 1676 in Germany or Switzerland and died in 1711 in North Carolina, covers only half a page, while information about his son, George CUNYS/KOONCE (1704-1778), extends to nearly a page. The sketch about James LEIGH, born about 1670 and died in 1728 in Bath County, NC, encompasses approximately two pages.

     Interestingly, names of many of these ancestors also appear in the collections of the First Families of Virginia (FFV). In approximately a dozen cases, Brayton found news lines of descent for the FFV families, which he includes in this volume. Examples of some of the new lines are CULPEPER, MOORE, PUGH, and TORKSEY. Besides providing details about settlers coming from Virginia, the material demonstrates the migration routes of many pioneers began in the colonies of Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

     Because descendants of many of these early settlers later moved to other colonies or states, millions of modern-day Americans may eventually trace their pedigrees back to the Tar Heel State. Brayton is to be commended for his hard work in compiling ORDER OF FIRST FAMILIES OF NORTH CAROLINA ANCESTOR BIOGRAPHIES, VOL. 1: “THE FIRST TWO HUNDRED.” Genealogical libraries will certainly want to have a copy available on their book shelves.

     The 357-page hardback has an introduction, a foreword, an appendix of selected verbatim North Carolina wills, separate full name and location indexes, and a bibliography of Brayton’s previous publications. To the book's price of $45.00, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #9714) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website at

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