My Pettiford Research

6 May 2010

Well, I'm sure some of you are wondering what I've been doing with the research. I have spent the past year doing indepth research specifically on the Pettiford family in NC. The Pettiford family is a prolific group! I have traced over 500 Pettifords who all descend from 3 Pettifords (George, Lawrence, and Lewis) who were first recorded in Granville County in the 1740s and 1750s. George, Lawrence, and Lewis are all likely brothers, but so far I have found nothing that ties the three of them together. The descendants of these 3 men are found primarily in NC before the Civil War, but many began to move out of the state in the 1800s. Other states Pettifords moved to in the antebellum period are Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. There is also a line of Pettifords in Kentucky that I have not yet been able to tie them into the North Carolina lines, but I believe they are a branch. They seem to be descended from a Fanny Pettiford who was listed in the 1790 census in Kentucky, a free black woman, and I have not been able to connect her to anyone yet, but then again my focus is on North Carolina and I have not spent much time on Fanny and her descendants.

One of the things I have been doing with the Pettiford group is tracking them in the census records. I have pulled all Pettifords (and variant spellings) from the census for 1790-1900 and I plan to do 1910-1930 still. One of the things I discovered while pulling the census information is that many of the Pettifords born in the antebellum period were still alive in the 1900s. That is why I'm pulling census information post-Civil War. For all you Pettiford researchers out there, be sure to check the surname index of the website out as there are 11 Pettifords listed. I have a whole lot more at home, just haven't had the time to transcribe them. Hopefully this summer I can get to that.

I will continue to work on the Pettiford family through the end of 2010, but beginning 2011, i need to move on and plan to start working on the Mayo family. Why Mayo? It's actually the first family I started working on all those years ago in the fall of 2000!

Finally, I have my database online! The address to my database is According to the statistics for that site, there are 1640 names in the database with the top surnames being Pettiford, Carter, and Chavis. I actually have more people to add in the uture. Some of the people listed in the database are listed only because of marriage bonds I found for them and nothing else.


Submit comments Please note that all comments are moderated.

Taneya said on May 31, 2010 at 1:45 PM
Hi Erin,

Thank you for sharing your work. I've added a link to your database on the NCGenWeb African-American resources page also linked to your blog from our NC Genealogy 2.0 pag

Mary Jaffe said on September 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I'm searching for a maternal great grandfather's family through FamilyTreeDNA, and was building a second cousin's family tree (who shares a great grandfather) when I came upon your site. I found that my cousin's great grandparents on her paternal side were Frederick Hecker who married Margaret Bassel (1845-1927). I found her in the 1850 US Fed Census - Ohio, living with a Lewis Pedifer b. 1807 in No. Carolina and designated "Mulatto" and his wife, Artmasia Pedifer b. 1816 in Mississippi and designated "Black". Margaret Bassel was 5 yrs. and the other Bassel children were 8, 9, and 11. There was also a boy named Higdon, age 13, also part of the family. I decided these might have been Artmasia's children, but not necessarily Lewis's - or they might have been relatives living with the couple due to many other possible reasons.

MY QUESTION: Do you know anything about this Lewis Pedifer,(family 2190) and am I correct to think he is likely a Pettiford? I have come upon many spellings in many places. What an interesting story this must be!

Our family is mostly Irish, and this was an interesting surprise. My own children are African-American and I have found that with limited information, it's like finding a needle in a haystack -- especially when looking through a list of slaves and all I find is "male - 25 yrs." Listed among twenty other young men the same age. As a mother, it always makes me cry! I also hate the census records with numbers, but no names. It can be so frustrating and depressing. I admire your tenacity.

I found it interesting that Fagan and Mitchell were among your names. My 5th great grandparents, Lady Ellen Bateman and Sir Joseph Fagan arrived in New Hampshire from Wexford, Ireland, stepped off the boat and disappeared. My 5th great grandmother Jane Mitchell, from Scotland, had a huge family, many of whom lived in Virginia and other regions in the south.

Mary Jaffe (a grandmother, not a robot)

Unknown said on September 21, 2015 at 4:08 PM
My name is Linda Pettiford -tates. I never met my birth father.his name Alvin Pettiford. He should be 75 if he is still living I've been stressing over this most of my life.I was born in 1966 to lynnette charolette Pettiford. I don't know anyone on my dad's side of the family. Please help me desperate. You can contact me at Any help would be appreciated. God bless you.

Max Greene said on July 7, 2016 at 5:51 PM
Dear Erin,

I am wondering if you know anything about a Sarah "Sallie" Ann Pettiford, born c. 1822 (probably in Halifax County, NC) who married Harrison Faulcon, born c. 1810.



Emily said on June 1, 2017 at 6:22 PM
Hello, while researching my Great, Great grandmother, Adeline Pettiford- her mother's name as listed on the blog is unknown- on Adeline's death certificate it gives her maiden name as Jefferson. I see a father listed as Alsey but on Adeline's death certificate it is unclear- on your blog he has no parents listed which I'm finding a great deal of difficulty locating on my own research so I am wondering about the accuracy of his first name. I realize this blog is old and so I am not sure if you check it but just seeing if you have any clues as to who his parents were...?

Unknown said on June 15, 2019 at 5:05 PM
I have a friend who lives in komoko, In who's mother is a direct descendent of the Pettifords. I'm a descendent of Johnny Chavis of Grandville cty, NC. We are trying to make a Chavis/Pettiford connection in NC weather it's in wake, chatham, granville, creedmore, or Durham counties. You have anything? EDC