He’s A Koonce Too!

This weekend, while working on the family tree of a friend of mine from high school, guess what I discovered?  He’s a Koonce descendant too!

My friend, M.M., has family roots from Craven County – I’d always known that. But I’d never explored his family tree until now. I was so tickled to find out that he is descended from a Koonce.

My friend is a 5th-great grandson of Killis Koonce.  Killis was born in North Carolina, about 1804. Born enslaved, Killis would make it through emancipation and the last record I have of him so far is in 1880 at the age of 76 years old. He is living in Cypress Creek with 21 year-old niece Vannie Koonce.

Killis1880

Killis Koonce with niece Vannie, 1880 Jones County NC

I have no evidence that I too am related to Killis, but of course I will be researching him more in-depth now. I  just thought it was cool that my friend is now part of my surname project!

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.

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.

Passing of Tunisia Koonce

Yesterday,  I learned from a fellow family history researcher of the passing of Tunisia Koonce.

Prior to yesterday, I did not know how Tunisia connected into the Koonce line, but with the news of her passing, I did explore it further.  Tunisia Abdullah Koonce died Wednesday, October 7, 2009 of breast cancer.  She was only 38  years old and leaves to mourn husband George Koonce, daughter Jayla and son George 3rd.

This is a picture of the family that I found on a webpage she’d dedicated to her husband back in 2007.

When I learned who her husband was, I realized that I knew him! Well, now *knew*, but a few months ago, upon learning about George I’d tried to contact him.   George is a former football player and now is Director of Athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaulkee, but I never heard back from him.  I would later learn that at the time I sent my email, he was in the process of transferring to his current position, so it is possible he never received it.

George’s ancestry also goes back to  Jones County, North Carolina like my own Koonce family.  He is the grandson of Sudie Koonce (1912-2008), a native of Pollocksville, NC and the son of George Earl Koonce Sr.  I do not know who Sudie’s parents are at this point but I will further this research over the next few weeks.   My thoughts are with the family during these sorrowful times.