This North Carolina-based family is on a mission to get the news out about their record-breaking lineage, which has been surviving and thriving for decades.

Augusta Bunge’s family holds the title for the most living generations, seven, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. But after a recent discovery, there’s a new bloodline, the Aycock-Crawford family, with the same amount of breathing generations today. They would also be the first Black family recognized with a large number of living relatives. Natonya Walker, a fourth-generation descendent, recently sat down with Blavity to discuss how the family learned they had a rare gift of life in front of them and how they’re spreading the word.


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The family tree begins with Leora Aycock Crawford and Simon Crawford (deceased). The couple welcomed their offspring Pauline Crawford Dickerson (deceased, first generation) and Alma Crawford Williams (living, first generation). Pauline gave birth to Leola Dickerson Shockley (living, second generation), who had her first child Nellie Ruth Dickerson (living, third generation) before having five more (Justine, Annie, William, Marsha and Clifton Earl) with her late husband William “Bill” Shockley.

The couple’s kids went on to continue growing the family tree. When Nellie was a teenager, she birthed J. Anthony (living, fourth generation). Through her branch, her great-great-grandson Zy’aire, the first seven living generation child, was born. Many years ago her half-sister Justine (living, third generation) was the one who kicked off the sixth generation during that time she was the mother of the firstborn. Their siblings Marsha and William Jr. (both living, third generation), will be adding to the family with the births of Naomi and Zuri, who will be born later this year in June and September.

During a conversation at her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration in March, the family started discussing how rare it was to have six living generations. This was rolling over from them talking about it last year when the sixth generation child of Leola’s branch of the family tree was born.

“Our grandmother herself realized our family had reached this amazing milestone and honey, she was ecstatic! I recall a conversation on the phone with her about how excited she was to have lived this long and to see our family grow,” Walker told Blavity.

After this year’s discussion, she volunteered to be the family’s historian, putting her in charge of leading the census and family tree research for next year’s family gathering. She plans to create documents, files, pamphlets, and “hard copy” documents that would house her family’s history.

“I have spent over 60 hours a week for the last seven weeks combing state records, census reports, and household census documents,” she shared. “I have an arsenal of information linking our family and our bloodline back to the early 1800s.”

The Aycock-Crawford family has submitted their application to the Guinness Book of World Records and passed the first couple of steps to be considered. The organization’s board is currently reviewing their information. They were told it could take up to 12 weeks to hear back.

“We’ve made it through phase two and our application is actually at the Guinness [Book of World Records] board for voting,” Walker said. “We applied for both categories [“Most Living Generations” and “Seven Living Generations of an African American Family”] to be added and to be the record breakers.”

Since many American Black families were separated during slavery and still have a disproportionate amount of access to resources to change the trajectory of their family’s future generations, this will be a monumental moment.

“Having seven living generations in a family can be a truly unique and special experience. It provides a deep sense of connection to one’s ancestry and roots, as well as a profound appreciation for the passage of time and the continuity of life,” is a quote from Walker’s cousin J. Anthony shared with Blavity since she believes it best answers how the family will feel when recognized by The Guinness  Book of World Records.

Walker said she hopes the legacy she and her relatives leave behind leaves their lineage with nothing but confidence.

“[My hope is] that we will never have to knock on a door and ask to be received in a room. We will be legacy,” she said. “There is a small group of us that are propelling this campaign for visibility, but also to build our rightful empire for ourselves and our next generations. We are a progressive family full of entrepreneurs, professionals, business owners, college-educated, go-getters, hustlers.”

To learn more about the family’s mission, visit their website.