First Families of Virginia – The Custises

All families on the First Families list were involved across the world in one way or another, but arguably no one was more involved than the Custises.

Their family history is relatively short, but from their rather humble beginnings as Cliffes in England, they grew into important figures. The Cliffe name morphed into Custis, and then the Custis name spread to Ireland, Belgium, The Netherlands, the Caribbean, and Virginia.

Along the way, they mingled with royalty and aided some of history’s most famous people. Then, they became important and famous themselves. The main Virginia Custis line may have ended in the 1850s, but their accomplishments and landmarks endure, from the somewhat obscure Custis tombs to the hallowed Arlington National Cemetery. Indeed, without them, there wouldn’t be an Arlington.

In this pair of episodes, we take a look at the Custis family beginnings, and detail how they became the great family who played an important part in so much of Virginia’s history.

Custis Episode Part 1
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Custis Episode Part 2


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All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Custis Family Crest. Woodlawn and the Tudor Place are both from Wikipedia. The Arlington Mansion sketch is from Northampton County.

Music used for the first episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and “Waiting for Lightning” by The National Parks also available on Apple Music.

Music used for the second episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and “Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers also available on Apple Music.