Branscomb/Branscum Genealogy

The Genealogy of
Richard Branscomb
of Brunswick County, Virginia,
and a Number of his Descendants

by Fred Tubbs






Notes from the author

I began working on the history of the Branscomb family in America in 1980. My immediate goals were to discover the ancestry of my great-grandfather Isaac Branscum and to identify his descendants who were my near relatives. I did not imagine that the study would become a major activity for the next quarter century, but such has been the case. I soon learned that the one major book about Branscombs in America was quite limited in presenting the history of the family and was replete with errors which cried out for correction. Further, several people used the content of the book as established truth, to the point that the misinformation has become ingrained. After all, it is in print, and therefore it must be true-right?? Had Cletie Elroy Branscome noted the sources of his information in his book, Branscom, Branscome, Branscomb, Branscombe: (Laurel Fork, VA, published by the author, 1966), and had he indicated where his statements were based upon verbal or written communication from others and which therefore required further verification, I may not have felt the necessity of delving so deeply into the wider history of this family. (Throughout the work presented herein, references to Mr. Branscome and to his book are indicated by “CEB.”)

All persons who are interested in the history of the Branscombs in America are nevertheless indebted to CEB for collecting whatever information he could find about the family. He made it possible for others to focus upon the locations where he found persons with the many variants of the surname and, with diligence, to find evidence leading to a more detailed history and with far fewer errors than his.

In 1991 I completed a 214-page book, Isaac and Elizabeth Branscum, their Ancestors and their Children, and distributed the 200 copies to relatives and to other persons who had shown interest in the family. It covered not only Isaac and Elizabeth but also a number of related families. Persons who still have copies are urged to destroy all parts of the book except the Author’s Note (though page xi) and Chapter Three (pp. 25-82) as being out of date. (Chapter Three covers the Vancleves, the family of great-grandmother Elizabeth Vancleve Branscum, and I hope to have the time soon to update the history of that family.) The information which flowed in after the 1991 book led to a corrected and expanded version in 1996: Isaac Branscum, his Ancestors and his Children. All 500 copies of that book are now distributed to others. Again, an avalanche of information ensued as a result, and again it becomes important to provide an update in order to correct errors and to elaborate the history of families which were inadequately covered in that book.

This Web site is the medium for such an update. I am indebted to my daughter Joanne Kelly for the technological aspects of producing the Web site.

Procedures I follow in quoting from primary sources

To the extent practical I retain the spelling and capitalization as they appear in the originals. If a letter within a word is difficult to decipher, and if the text permits, I use the accepted spelling. Occasionally I will add a word or phrase in brackets [thus] to clarify the meaning, and I will alter the punctuation to improve readability. When quoting from letters I sometimes edit slightly and so state.

Numbering system

John W. Tubbs of Granbury, TX, proposed a numbering system which I have modified only slightly:

  • The progenitor of any line is identified by a capital letter or two capital letters. Almost all of the lines which are to be presented are for children of John Branscomb, son of Richard the immigrant. The capital letters to designate the respective lines:
    Rebecca: RBRoland: RElizabeth: ES
    Mary: MDDavid: DEdmond: E
    Wesley: WIsaac: IHenry: H

    For Harrison, s/o Thomas: HA
    For John Wesley, s/o Thomas: JW
    For William s/o Polly and gs/o Thomas: WM
    For Isaac, s/o Polly and gs/o Thomas: IS

    For persons who are not descended from John s/o Richard the immigrant and who are progenitors for lines of descent:
    Zachariah, s/o Richard II and gs/o Richard the immigrant: Z

    Benjamin, s/o Edmond, gs/o Thomas, and ggs/o Richard the immigrant: B.

    (These initial letters are used only in cases where their omission is likely to cause confusion or misidentification.)

  • Each child of the progenitor is designated by the capital letter(s) of the parent plus a single digit representing the child’s position in the birth order. The tenth child is represented by the capital letter A, the eleventh by B, etc.
  • Each child of the next generation retains the parent’s digit and adds one digit to represent the child’s position in the birth order. Thus, the first child of Benjamin’s second child is numbered B-21 (or merely 21 if no likelihood of confusion exists)
  • And so forth through the known generations. However, my work normally covers only three generations beyond the progenitor.
  • The spouse of any descendant of a progenitor has the same number as the lineal descendant plus a zero: 0. A subsequent spouse of the lineal descendant has the lineal descendant’s number plus “02,” “03,” etc.
  • The parent of a spouse has the spouse’s number plus a “P” for “PA” or “M” for “MA.”
  • Use of lower-case letters, especially w,x,y, and z, show that the order of descent is unknown or is in doubt. An ID number like 43x shows that the birth order is known for the first two generations but not for the third.

A full list of families whose history is to be presented appears on the Contacts page. My apologies to those whose families are not covered in depth; it is impossible for any one individual to do justice to all of the lines of descent, no matter the number of capable helpers who are involved. Other lines can be added if knowledgeable individuals will provide the information for those lines and then will agree to serve as contacts. Such individuals are invited to contact me (see Contacts page for details).

(Please note also that for the future the persons listed on the Contacts page will be responsible for dealing with questions and comments concerning the respective families which they cover. These persons will maintain contact with me as necessary for as long as I am able to serve.)

Copyright 2004
Frederick B. Tubbs

Permission is granted to make copies of information on this Web site for personal (non-commercial) use only, and only with the provision that you include all the caveats expressed by the author.

I have relied upon competent and dedicated colleagues who provided census data, information from county records, correspondence, and other sources. We have worked closely to assure that the content on this Web site is as free from error as we can make it.

We will be glad to hear from anyone who can provide firm evidence to correct any error. Please see the contacts page for a list of individuals responsible for maintaining accurate information on the various family branches.