The Carolina Connection

Although my Southern ancestors on my mother’s side settled in the British colonies sometime before the Revolution, the question of when they arrived and where they first settled is challenging and, in some cases, controversial. Nevertheless, I have found one branch, the Morgan family, that is well documented. In contrast, other branches lack sources for events before the American Revolution. I recently viewed the primary source for Birth/Marriage/Death events of ancestors living in North Carolina in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Two of my ancestors Nathaniel Prothro and his wife, Zilpha Morgan, were first cousins and were married in St David’s Parish, South Carolina, in 1786. Zilpha’s father, Solomon Morgan, was born in North Carolina and later migrated to South Carolina and Georgia. Solomon’s sister, Elizabeth Morgan, the mother of Nathaniel, married Evan “the Patriot” Prothro in 1763 in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Visiting the shared tree at, I noticed that other researchers had provided links to a source for marriages and births of ancestors in my Morgan branch who settled in North Carolina in the late 1600s before migrating to South Carolina sometime in the 1740s. In each case, the links pointed to the same source, a collection of 150 pages (images) titled North Carolina Perquimans Precinct – Births, Marriages, Deaths, and Flesh Marks 1659-1739. The Genealogical Society of Utah in Raleigh, North Carolina, filmed this record collection in 1941.

Perquimans Precinct (later Perquimans County) is in the northeast corner of North Carolina, not too far from the Virginia state line and the Great Dismal Swamp. As I noted in a previous post, the Plantation where the family lived was known as Morgan’s Swamp.

Note: while a subscription to may cost hundreds of dollars a year,, an LDS-supported website, is free to anyone. There was one drawback: the information on each record came from a group of images; to view the image of a record, I needed to browse through several images.

It is good that I knew the answers ahead of time; otherwise, I doubt I would have been able to locate each record as quickly as I did. For the most part, the records were in chronological order; however, there was some strange mix of records from different years appearing on the same page. For example, on a page where most of the entries were dated 1703, there might be one or two records from 1699. As a result, I needed to eyeball each page before I found what I was looking for.

Solomon and Elizabeth’s parents were William Morgan and Frances Hendricks. William Morgan was born to William Morgan and his wife Sarah Fletcher on the fourteenth day of September 1703.

The marriage record for William Morgan and Sarah Fletcher were clustered on the page with other Morgan family entries. The entry for their marriage reads: “William Morgan, son of James Morgan and Jane (Jean) his wife, was married to Sarah Fletcher, daughter of Ralph Fletcher and Elizabeth his wife, the thirteenth day of March Anno 1699.”

I found Sarah’s birth record on a page lumped with other Fletcher family entries. Her birth record reads: “Sarah Fletcher, the daughter of Ralph Fletcher and Elizabeth his wife was born 8 September 1681.”

Similarly, William’s birth record followed the record of two of his brothers. His record reads: “William Morgan the son of James Morgan and Jane his wife was born 27 May 1679.

Finally, the marriage record of James and Jane reads as follows: “James Morgan and Jane Knea was married by a magistrate in Mary Land the 12th of October 1673.”

There is no indication as to why a Maryland marriage was recorded in North Carolina, only that it was recorded two years after the fact in 1675.

James was the son of John Morgan, one of three brothers from Wales who came to America in 1636. He settled first in the Massachusetts Bay colony before drifting South, disgusted with the bigotry, superstition, and the persecutions (including the witch trials), then taking place in New England. John’s younger brother, Miles Morgan, was an ancestor of the American financier and investment banker John Pierpont Morgan.

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