How early were your ancestors in North Carolina?

If they were here prior to the War of Independence, then it might be worthwhile to check the Moseley Map for their names, or at least their surnames.

The Moseley Map was created in 1733 by Edward Moseley (1682-1749), who was Surveyor General of North Carolina from 1710 — just after the famous John Lawson — and was marketed at the time as “A New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina.”

East Carolina University holds the only known original print of the Moseley Map in their incredible archives. Once owned by Mr. Hugh Williamson Collins of Edenton (1863), Moseley’s is said to be “the first map of NC to be based mainly on actual exploration or surveys, rather than reports,” according to the ECU Special Collections website.

The map’s description reads:

A New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina by Edward Moseley, late surveyor general of the said province ([London]: Sold at the Three Crowns, 1733). Shows settlements, inhabitants, soil conditions, rivers, and principal products, with insets showing Port Brunswick or Cape Fear Harbour, Port Beaufort or Topsail Inlet, Ocacock [Ocracoke] Inlet, Explanation, and Directions for Ocacock [Ocracoke] Inlet.

Indexing the Moseley Map

While the Moseley Map is not exhaustive in naming every family that lived in North Carolina at the time, many prominent land-owners were named. Clusters of families and Indian tribes were also named, such as the entry for “Palatines” in the section South of Trent River up to New Bern, referring to families that settled the New Bern area led by Baron Christoph von Graffenreid or “Tuskeruro” named on the Roanoke River referring to the Tuscarora Indian tribe.

In February 1991, Susan M. Trimble of the North Carolina Colonial Records Project compiled a full index to the map, complete with grid locations for the names indexed, and it was published by the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Historical Publications Section.

It can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF (right-click PDF and “Save link as…” to download) at the Internet Archive.

The list below is a wonderful condensed index that I had saved in my archived files on my computer, although, unfortunately, I’m unsure of its attribution, so if you know who originally published the list below, please leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this article.

Here’s an important tip: Do NOT use “Ctrl-F” to try to find your ancestral surnames in this list. Instead, just read the list, as many spellings of surnames are different than the conventionally used spellings.

[A] ROANOKE RIVER-headwaters to the south shore of Albemarle Sound: 

1-Davis[W], Young[J], Spann(Spann’s Mill), Allen, Falls, Reeves, Mellikan[J], Little[W], Mackinne[B], Bryant[T], Ooneroy, Refootketh, Tuskeruro, Cheeweo, Quitzna, Castellan[J], Speller, Charlton[W], Meazle, Blount, Beasly

Note: At the headwaters [here called the Fitzwilliam River] on the NC/VA line-20,000 acres to Col. William Byrd of Virginia.

2-South shore of Albemarle Sound: Whitemarsh, Pollock[C], Buncomb[J], Frilie, Lee[S], Lee, Cooper


1-Along the Meherrin and Chowan Rivers to Albemarle Sound: Allen [E], Pitman, Kirchin, Anderson, Jackson, Gee, Bryan, Nansemond, Dew, Powers, Williams [A], Bond [J], Jones, Cotton [J], Hill [B], Baker, Barfields, Baker [H], Williams, Hains, Forster [R], Maule [W], Winn [G], Boone, Bryan [F], Hill [J], Pollack [T], Lovick [J], Pollock [G]

2-Albemarle Sound [west shore] between Chowan and Roanoke Rivers: Duckinfield [N], laccuck, Lockart [J], Henderson [D], West [R]

[C] CHOWAN PRECINCT – East side of Chowan River:

Meherrin, Baker[H], Alston [J], Bennett, Parker, Blanthard, Spivy, Hill, Perry, Hunter, Lee, Pendal, Speight, Barns

[D] EDENTON AREA – between Chowan and Yaupin Rivers [north shore of Albemarle Sound]:

Heath, Altin, Luten, Paget, Gale [E], Jones [H], Gale [C], Vaile [J], Moseley [E], Jones [F], Beabury, Beasly, Blount [J], Vaile, Porter [E], Pearce [T], Ward [J].

[E] PERQUIMANS PRECINCT – between Yaupin and Pequimans Rivers:

Sturgeons, Durant, Norcomb, Harvey [T], Denman [C], Skinner [R], Sander, Pettiver, Phelps, Speight

[F] PEQUIMANS PRECINCT – between Pequimans and Little Rivers:

Clare, Jessup[J], Sutton[C], Nixon, Forster [F], Whidby[R], Bateman, Sanderton, Swann [S], Parish, Bartlet, Hatch[A], Sanderton[A], Catchmaid.

[G] PASQUOTANK PRECINCT – between Little and Pasquotank Rivers: 

Hall, Nixon, Lowry, Evans, Salton, Boyd, Baily, Swann, Pritchard, Hague, Palin [J], Pendleton, Davis, Mabson [F], Reed [W]

[H] PASQUOTANK PRECINCT – between Pasquotank and North Rivers:

Spence, Burkham [G] (at Joy’s Fork), Jones [G], Janson, Mann, Jones, Hawkins

[J] CURRITUCK PRECINCT – between North River and Currituck Sound:

Wilkins, Balance, Hodges [M], Swann [T], Etheridg, Lowther, Williams, Tulle, Swann [W], Dukes [M], Sanderson, Williamson, Norton, Gibby.

[K] Eastern shore between Albemarle & Pamticoe Sounds:

Moyes Creek, Spencers Creek, Mann [L]


1-North Shore-Pamticoe River: Lillington[A], Adams, Pilkington, Snoad, Boyd

2-Bath Town: Kenyon, Odeon, Aldeson[S], Martin, Worsly [J], Salter [E], Riouset, Adams, Jones, Ottiwell

3-East of Bath Town to the Sound: Jewell, maule [P], Perkins, Barrow, Adams [P], Dowry, Jones [P], Woodstock, Slade, Jasper, Mattamuskeet

[M] South shore – Pamticoe River:

Tuskeruro Indians, Mallard Creek, Chicod Creek, Salter [E], Kingman, Worsly, Blount, Reading, Coldom, Hill, Slade, Slade [B], Crofton, Maule [P], Locker, Peyton [R], Trip [J], Porter, Nevil, Turner [R], Leigh, Jones, Campaign [R]

[N] North shore – Neus River:

1-on Smyth’s Creek – Reels, Gatlin

2-Craven Precinct – Johnson, Beard’s Creek, Frank[M], Wilkinson’s Point, Dawson’s Creek

[P] South shore – Neus River:

1-Craven Precinct-New Bern – Fonville, Handy

2-South of Trent River up to New Bern – Jones [Frederick]-7375 acres, Wilson [W], Hancock, Palatines, Glover [C], Hatch [A], Handcock [H]

[Q] Hatteras Island: Gibbs, Neal, Hatteras Indians

[R] Beaufort Town Area:

1-Near Beaufort Town – Taylor [N], Shakelford, Shaw, Rustul [R]

2-Across North River, east – Wicker, Burnet

3-On Core Banks Sound – Nelson, Willis


1-Cape Carteret – Lees

2-Queens Creek – Green


1-NE shore New River[Jacksonville] – Howard, Lillington[H]

2-SW shore New River – Ennitch

3-Along the coast between New and Cape Fear Rivers [Jacksonville to Wilmington] – Johnson, Beasly, Frederick, Alexander, Vaile[J], Nixon, Hauser, Swann[S], Staples, Hudson, Watts, Perry,
Porter, Howe

4-East bank – NE Branch Cape Fear River – Harrison[C], Watts, Mardsen, Carter

And now, for the map (clicking on the map will bring up a much larger version from East Carolina University in a new window).—

Moseley Map - 1733 - (Large)