This e-book is an updated version of Bynum and Baynham Families of America 1616-1850 (Gateway Press, 1983) which I wrote more than twenty years ago.
The bulk of the book concentrates on the descendants of John Bynum of Surry County, Virginia. The research for the first four or five generations of the family is reasonably thorough, and in some cases exhaustive. Thus, the members of the first few generations are honored with a significant amount of text. As the family expanded and became more numerous and more widely dispersed geographically, the same thoroughness of research became nearly impossible. Thus the text devoted to members of the last few generations is typically brief. For many members of the last two generations, relatively little research was done beyond what was necessary to place them into a lineage.
For those readers looking for help with later generations of Bynums I should note that, except for my own line, I know little about these families beyond what I’ve included in the book.
Improvements and Changes From the 1983 Edition
The genealogy itself is largely unchanged. A few individuals have been shifted among family groups, and several more which were “unplaced” in 1983 have now been assigned to their correct family lines. The separate errata sheet which accompanied the 1983 book has also been incorporated into the text.
There are, however, three significant differences between this volume and the first edition of 1983:
- Considerably more detail is provided on most individuals.
- Readers familiar with the printed book will note the addition of footnoted references. Twenty-odd years ago I had intended to publish a companion volume consisting of several hundred pages of chronologically-arranged records relating to Bynums and Baynhams. Once that project was abandoned, the absence of references in the original became a glaring omission which I am now pleased to remedy. A portion of that original chronology, covering the period to 1750, is included here as a supplement.
- This edition covers the first seven generations of the descendants of John Bynum of Surry County, Virginia, so far as I could identify them. The 1983 version of this book had a slightly different focus, including in the genealogy however many generations were necessary to end with those which produced adults by 1850. In order to achieve the symmetry of a seven-generation genealogy, this edition omits a generation from some family lines, and adds a generation to others. Where known, a list of children born to the seventh generation is included, without biographical details.
A Comment on Taxonomy
This edition uses a different taxonomy than the 1983 book. With the availability of word processors which can automatically accommodate the addition, deletion, and movement of individuals, I have chosen to use an outline-numbered system, essentially what genealogists refer to as the “d’Aboville System.” The earliest ancestor is not numbered, but his children are numbered 1, 2, 3 and so on. The children of person 1 are numbered 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and so on, and the children of person 2 are numbered 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and so on. Each succeeding generation adds one number to the sequence and is indented for visual clarity. I have chosen this taxonomy largely because my word processor easily accommodates adding, moving, and deleting individuals by automatically renumbering everyone affected.
This system is, I think, quite intuitive. Each individual has a unique identification number, consisting of numerals separated by periods. The number of terms in the number gives the generation. A person numbered 188.8.131.52.2 would be the fifth generation following the original ancestor. The last numeral, 3 in this case, indicates the birth order within a family. Lop off the last digit, and you have the identification of the father (184.108.40.206 in this case). Lop off the last two digits, and you have the identification of the grandfather (1.2.2 in this case). And so on back to the first generation.
The usual genealogical numbering system for a tops-down effort like this is the “Record” system, a version of the “Register” system in which each individual is given a single number. Unfortunately, this system does not lend itself to use of a word processor for automatically providing unique identifications. It also requires renumbering the entire database of persons when one is added, deleted, or moved – not an attractive prospect in an effort as dynamic as this one. Nor is it particularly intuitive for tracing an individual “up” the tree.
A Brief Acknowledgement
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I collected quite a few Bynum records. The 1983 book came about as a means of organizing what seemed to be a confusing array of Bynum families. Most of the information I had collected was original research, but a great deal was provided by others. Many researchers shared their efforts with me, and I acknowledge my debt to all of them. Above all, though, I must recognize Mrs. Virginia Regan of Gretna, Louisiana. Without her tireless research and constant encouragement this effort would never have consummated in the original book.