Dinner for Lt. Richard S. Koonce

As part of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Week series, I am dedicating to regular blogging about family history research. Most of my posts will be on my personal genealogy blog, but from time to time I’ll post on my other blogs, including this Koonce Surname Project blog.

This week’s prompt for the series is “Invite to Dinner.” Specifically, to discuss an ancestor whom you’d like to invite to dinner.  I am deciding to alter it slightly however and searched historical newspapers for a story about a dinner involving a Koonce person.  I’m always on the lookout for additional Koonce families to research and thought this would be a good way to do some exploring.

A quick search later, I found this article from The Tennessean newspaper (Nashville, TN), about a dinner planned for Lt. Richard Sidney Koonce Jr. and Joanne Frazer Winters.  Published October 31, 1952, the article describes the dinner held just a few days prior to the couple’s wedding in early November and to be held just after the wedding rehearsal.

DInner for Joanne Frazer Winters and Lt. Richard Sydney Koonce (1952)

Lt. Richard Sidney Koonce lived from 1929-2008 and was born in Raleigh, NC to Richard Sidney Koonce and Minnie Russell. Tracing his Koonce ancestral line, I’ve found out his grandparents were Calvin Koonce and Laura Cox.  I’ve read about the family of Calvin and Laura before in books I’ve read documenting the history of Jones County, NC, but it looks like I did not have all of their children listed correctly. I can now update their family structure to include Richard Koonce Sr.  Calvin’s 2nd great-grandfather was George Koonce, the Koonce ancestor whose family was killed when he was a child.

The dinner menu included baked ham, potato puff, cole slaw, and hot buttered biscuits. Sounds yummy! Meanwhile, I’ll have to add Richard Jr. to the Koonce research database and see what else I can learn about his family.



Koonce Genealogy Database Statistics

Tonight, my fellow genealogy blogger, Randy Seaver, posts a fun Saturday night challenge for genealogy databases – to share our latest database statistics. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to check up on where things stand with the Koonce Surname Project genealogy database I’ve been working on over the years.

I currently manage the database in 3 places – my personal website using a software program called TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Site-building, RootsMagic, FamilySearch Family Tree, and as of today, Ancestry Member Trees. If you’re curious as to why I manage it in so many places, check out one of my recent blog posts on my genealogy blog.

I won’t go into all the numbers, but using RootsMagic, I calculated that I have close to 4,000 individuals representing more than 1,100 families.  And, I have more than 6,000 citations.


I am not yet able to calculate the total number of pictures & documents I have, but I will work towards being able to have a count by next year. Of course, this database would not be where it is without the many interactions I’ve had with Koonce family members over the years. I hope to continue to grow

Of course, this database would not be where it is without the many interactions I’ve had with Koonce family members over the years. I hope to continue to grow. If you have information to share with me, please do let me know! Our combined efforts help others make connections too. 


Koonces in Arlington National Cemetery

Hi everyone!

It has been many years since I have written a blog post for my Koonce Genealogy website, but rest assured the research has not stopped.  I still continue to hear from Koonces descendants and work with everyone to try and document families.

Most recently, I visited Arlington National Cemetery and out of curiosity, looked up all the Koonces buried there.  There are 11.  I’ve begun researching their families and have learned the following:

JC Koonce born in Geneva, Alabama, and his wife Beulah Patterson Koonce are buried at the cemetery. JC and Beulah have a daughter also buried there, Beverly. Beverly was less than a year old when she passed in 1957 and JC was a Sergeant in the military at the time of her passing. Interment records show that the grave next to Beulah was reserved for her parents as early as the time of her death, though Beulah and JC passed away many years later in 1984 and 2012 respectively.

I’ve not yet learned much about Charles Jimmy Koonce or Paul Koonce beyond some very basic details. I’ve not yet been able to link either man to the Koonce trees I currently have going either.

There is another Paul Koonce there – this one being Paul Brogden Koonce. Paul retired as a US Navy Rear Admiral. Paul was from Jones County, NC and was a great-grandson of Simon Everett Koonce and Orpah Brock Koonce.  Paul’s wife Mildred Gordon Koonce is buried with him.

I learned that Frank Koonce, of Missouri, is a descendant of Isaac Enloe Koonce & Cynthia Sutbblefield. This was interesting because just a few weeks prior to my visit I’d been exchanging Koonce research information with another descendant of Isaac’s.

Jerry Lloyd Koonce passed away only in 2014 and was from Florida. Jerry’s Koonce lineage goes back through John Henry & Martha (Pigg) Koonce – who are also ancestors of my good friend John Paul Koonce.  In case you don’t know John, he started the Koonce Newsletter in the 1990s and is the inspiration for me starting this Koonce Genealogy website!

Last, but not least, are Henry T. & Dorothy H. Koonce of Pennsylvania. Henry was a Captain in the Navy and it seems he is descended from Koonces that settled in Pennsylvania ( a separate line from eastern NC Koonces).

It has been fun to research these Koonce family members. I’ll continue to share research updates and of course, if you have Koonce family history information to share, please let me know!  

A quick note to readers — some of you are receiving this blog post directly in your email inboxes. I’ve started a new feature to begin this type of post delivery, but if you’d rather not receive them via email, please click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.


Another UNC & Koonce Connection

Amber Micole Koonce

One day last month while using Facebook, I had a story appear in my sidebar about a UNC student named Amber Koonce.  She is a current senior and was named by Glamour Magazine as one of their Top 10 College Women.

Me being as obsessed as I am, I had to start researching her family tree.  Her parents, Donnie & Masherill, were graduates of UNC-Charlotte and thanks to the large collection of yearbooks from the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, I was able to find them easily.  Tracing Donnie back further, I located his father and grandmother, Dora Koonce.

However, I am now stuck on Dora. I know she is from Jones County but I don’t know anything about her family.  I have a speculation as to how she may fit in with the Koonces I already know about, but I need further documentation or, contact with Amber’s family to see if they can help fill the gap.  The research will continue of course 🙂

From one UNC Koonce grad to another soon to be one (Amber will graduate in May 2012), I wish her the best of luck! Amber is quite accomplished and I know she has great things ahead of her.

Are They Connected?

I’m currently working on investigating more Koonce families of Dothan, AL.  There has turned out to be quite a cluster of Koonce’s there and there are several other researchers seeking to learn if there are explicit connections. The four African-American family groups of particular interest right now are:

a) Elizabeth Koonce was born abt. 1842 in Dothan, AL.  To date, I have primarily worked on the family of her son Eugene who migrated to nearby Seminole County, Georgia and  Leon & Wayne counties in Florida.

b) Henry Koonce was born about August 1854, likely in Dothan, AL and died between 1910-1920. His wife was Elizabeth was from Jackson County, Florida.  Henry& Lizzie were living in Jackson County by 1900 and their descendants populate that area, with a few branches migrating up to New Jersey.

c) Maliki Koonce – was born Oct 1879 in Alabama – it seems he too was from near Dothan, AL as in 1900 and 1910 he and wife Lizzie and their family are in Cowarts, a community just outside Dothan.

d) Clopton Koonce – born abt. 1854 in Alabama – descendants believe he and wife Sarah are from Gordon, AL, which is not too far away from Dothan. By 1900 were living in Jackson County, Florida.

The challenge is trying to find connections between these four families.  Are Henry (b) and Clopton (d) related? Both have descendants named Hosea and Clopton has a son named Henry.  Maliki (c) also has a son named Hosea.    I am fascinated by this and the research continues!


Selver Koonce (1904-1980)

Tonight while browsing the website of the Genealogical Society of Sarasota, I discovered they offer a wonderful resource online. They have taken a book they published in 1992 and made it available online – a comprehensive survey of cemeteries in the county.  I immediately looked for any Koonces because I know there were plenty in Florida; I was not sure if any were in Sarasota County.

Turns out they did have one listing – Selver Koonce who is buried in Galilee Cemetery.  His entry states he was born March 4, 1904 and died June 5, 1980.

Cemetery burial listing from the Genealogical Society of Florida files


A quick Ancestry search yielded a few records; a Google search found nothing; ditto with Mocavo.


I’m curious about Selver – I’d like to know if I can trace his family tree.  The quickest route back would be to order his death certificate to see if parents are listed – that only costs $5 from the state.  But then, I remembered that Google News Archive (which Google will no longer actively add to), had the Sarasota Journal newspaper from about 1952-1982 online.  This is the perfect time period to check for an obit.

Sure enough, I found it by navigating directly to the issues for the month of June 1980.











The details found here will be a great start to my search. I will still order the death certificate, but this should help get me jump started.  Google News Archive – I’ll miss the fact that you aren’t adding new papers, but it’s finds like these that show just how valuable the present existing content can be.

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New Lineages Added

Over the past month I’ve added a couple of new lineages to the database.

1) Lineage of Cato Koonce – Cato was a former slave of Jones County, North Carolina. So far, I only know of one child of he and wife Matilda Cox – Noah Franklin Koonce (1860-1930) who settled in Lenoir County. Noah appears to have married twice – first to Louisa Jones and second to Henrietta. Between the two, he had at least 13 children.

2) Descendants of Retus Koonce (abt. 1811- ?) – Retus was a son of Daniel Koonce & Nancy Blackshear  of Craven & Onslow counties in NC.  Retus moved away from North Carolina to Sumter County, Alabama then to Yolushaba and Grenada counties in Mississippi.  He and wife Drucilla McDaniel had at least 12 children.  I started filling out this line in response to an inquiry on the Ancestry.com message boards on one of Retus’ grandsons  –  Hiriam M. Koonce.


A Koonce Wedding Announcement

Just found this at GenealogyBank.com

Margaret was the daughter of Henry James Campbell.  She married Jefferson Harrison Koonce (1908-1969).  He is buried in Columbia Cemetery in Houston County, AL and I’ve not researched this family enough to find out her death date; though, it is possible she is still alive.  If so, she’d be 102 years old.

Jefferson Harrison Koonce’s great-grandfather, John Fordham Koonce, left North Carolina and settled in Henry County, AL in 1819 and was a pioneer of that county.



Tombstone Tuesday: Capt. Michael Koonce Graveyard

Just a quick note that four tombstones from the graveyard of Capt. Michael Koonce have been added to the Jones County, NCGenWeb site.   Koonce researcher Claude Thomas Hardison Jr. captured the photos and while he didn’t find headstones for the Captain,  he found that of grandson Amos Simmons Koonce (1809-1882).

Headstone of Amos Simmons Koonce (1809-1882)

More here.

Wordless Wednesday: Native American Koonces

Not a “wordless post” but this is an interesting picture to share.  From time to time I’ll run across Native American Koonce families, though I’ve not taken the time to fully research them.   Hat tip to John Paul Koonce who sent me the following picture he found.   This picture is Mah-nah-ee & Wah-zush Koonce, both Chippewa Indians.  This picture, taken by photographer Frances Densmore, shows them seated in a wigwam at Grand Portage Reservation in Minnesota.

The photo is part of the image collection of the Minnesota Historical Society.  More details are available here.