These pages from the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting records in North Carolina have several entries that refer to Orring County:

Sarah Wright daughter of John & Rachel Wright was; born in North Carolina Orring County 23-12-1749; Hannah Wright daughter of John & Rachel Wright was; born in North Carolina Orring County 27-9-1751; James Wright son of John & Rachel Wright was; born in North Carolina Orring County 25-5-1753; Susannah Wright daughter of John & Rachel Wright; was born in North Carolina Orring County 16-4-1755; Elizabeth Wright daughter of John & Rachel Wright; was born in North Carolina Orring County 15-12-1756; Nathan Wright son of John & Rachel Wright; was born in North Carolina Orring County 7-10-1758.

Link to the image at Ancestry.

Why does it refer to Orring County North Carolina when there does not appear to be any such place. I think they mean Orange county, but why would they write Orring? Is this just a handwriting thing? Or did author not know how to spell it?


2 Answers 2


Since you are asking about a place name, and especially because you are looking at a record on Ancestry, I think it's important to step back and get a better understanding of what you're looking at.

Ancestry says this list of births is from Cane Creek Monthly Meeting in Alamance County, North Carolina, from a volume titled: Marriages, Vol 01, 1756-1840.

What's wrong with this picture?

If you go to the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries at the Newberry Library, and look at the Individual County Chronologies for North Carolina, you'll see that the entry for ALAMANCE county says:

19 Apr 1849 ALAMANCE created from ORANGE. (N.C. Sess. Laws 1848-1849, ch. 14, sec. 1/pp. 39-40, and ch. 15, secs. 22-25, 28/pp. 40-48; N.C. Sess. Laws 1852-1853, ch. 22, secs. 1, 3/pp. 71-72)

So the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, which may be in Alamance County now, couldn't have been in Alamance County at the time this meeting closed out the book, assuming the last entry is indeed from 1840. Alamance County didn't exist yet.

On the record page, Ancestry offers you a link to Search for this monthly meeting in the 'Quaker Monthly Meetings Index' but their link only searches for other references to Cane Creek Monthly meeting in their own database (which is useful if you're looking for references to people who left Cane Creek Monthly meeting, but that's not what we want right now).

Searching Quakermeetings.com for Cane Creek in North Carolina gives us much useful information about the meeting, starting with this:

State or Province: NORTH CAROLINA 
Physical location: SNOW CAMP 27349, 719 W. GREENSBORO-CHAPEL HILL RD. 
Latitude: 35.89925° N.    Longitude:  079.41053° W.

Date granted: 1751/10/31 
Date of first meeting: 1751/12/07 
Current Status: ACTIVE 

The listing goes on to say what the Yearly Meeting is, where the original records are kept, known extant records, what local histories mention this monthly meeting, and lists the associated meetings -- all useful information if you are tracing Quaker Families.

Where records are kept: GUILFORD COLLEGE mf LDS 371251, SWARTHMORE

The film notes for film number 371251 in the FamilySearch catalog read:

FHL Catalog film notes for 371251

The catalog notes say:

Microfilm of originals in the Guilford College in North Carolina.

Includes minutes, births, deaths, marriages for 1755-1840 and other miscellaneous information.

However, note that Ancestry doesn't cite FamilySearch as its source for this collection of Quaker Meetings. Ancestry says the records come from:

North Carolina Yearly Meeting Minutes. Hege Friends Historical Library, Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Scrolling back to the start of this group of images, the first image after the title card seems to be the endpapers of the book, on which someone has written in modern handwriting:

Western Quarter Cane Creek M. M. Records, Vol I Marriages, 1756-1840

Presumably Ancestry used this information when making their waypoint label. All of this suggests that Ancestry could have made an independent imaging rather than a copy of the film at FamilySearch, but it's difficult to know without comparing the images to the film.

In conclusion -- given the history of Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, and the county boundary history for the area, it seems likely that what you've read as "Orring" does refer to Orange County.

For ORANGE the first entry in the county chronology reads:

31 Mar 1752 ORANGE created from BLADEN, GRANVILLE, and JOHNSTON; western boundary limit was indefinite. (N.C. Recs., ch. 6, secs. 1-2/23:383-384)

This predates the individual record you linked to for Elizabeth Wright that referred to her birth dated 15 Twelfth 1756, so Orange County was in existence at that time.


Standardisation of spelling is a relatively recent concept -- Webster did not publish his first dictionary until the first decades of the nineteenth century.

So it wasn't a question of 'not knowing how to spell it' -- in the 18th century any way of spelling a word that could be understood was valid.

Be aware that personal and family names, as well as places, could be the subject of some creative spelling -- so you need to be careful when searching not to exclude some likely alternatives.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.