Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why the Mention of Bill Grimke-Drayton Still Makes Me Angry?

Yesterday, I posted a question to my new African-American Genealogy and Slave Ancestry Research Facebook Group, asking how many over the course of their research, had identified and attempted to contact the descendants of their Ancestors slave owner(s).

There were several responses citing the positive and sometimes, not so positive exchanges that occur when our research leads us back to the descendant of a long-gone slaveholder. Our hope? That the descendant is willing to engage us and moved to share any documentation/information that might shed light on our once enslaved Ancestor.

These dialogues can be awkward and unpredictable. As a family historian who’s outreached many white descendants, I still never know what to expect when I hit my “send” button.

I’ve been appreciative of the WINGFIELD and CODY support received over the years to push my research further. Angered when it became clear I might never fully know Catie’s Story due to the unwillingness of the DICKEY family to share with me what information exists about her in the bibles/journals of Rev. James Madison DICKEY, her Washington-Wilkes owner. And disappointed beyond words to find the Southwestern Claude CARR CODY Collection — which contains hundreds of original documents belonging to Catie’s first owner Madison Derrelle CODY — completely purged of ANY reference to the family’s abundant slave holdings.

Yes, engaging white descendants in an attempt to identify your lost family lineage can be a mixed bag! There’s a lot of ugly history to sort through, and even after 15+ years of researching, I still struggle to make my peace with it — as well as its cultural, genealogical and […]

WINGFIELD: Wilkes Co. Georgia Tax Records (1785-1793)

James WINGFIELD & Catie DICKEY Marriage License ~ Wilkes County 1868The Wilkes County Georgia Tax Records below are a duplication of the transcribed records posted to the WINGFIELD Family Society website. If you are of WINGFIELD descent, membership to the Family Society is encouraged.

Many have often heard me express gratitude to the late Wilsie WINGFIELD CARR, the GG Grandaughter of Arcihbald WINGFIELD, who answered the biggest unknown of my family’s history — how exactly did we become WINGFIELDS? A census record gift from Wilsie confirmed my 4th Grandmother Catie DICKEY had actually married James WINGFIELD, my 4th Grandfather in Wilkes County, October 15th 1868.

As it turned out, widow Susan WINGFIELD, James’ owner and Rev. James DICKEY, Catie’s owner were next door neighbors according to the 1860 Wilkes County Census.

For any researcher of African-American/Slave Ancestry it’s imperative to identify your Ancestors pre-1865 slave owner(s) and to outreach when possible, any descendants online researching the shared family line(s).

Slave ownership and property records are critical elements in completing our collective family history.

Make an effort to extend your conversation and research efforts beyond your family/social circles and in some cases, comfort level.

Is the outcome of white descendant engagement always what you’d expect? NO – sometimes it’s MUCH more and at times, far less.

Nevertheless, if it aids in closing the gaps in your family’s story and helps to restore lost names, connections and lineage, isn’t it well worth the effort?

Happy root digging…



WILKES COUNTY GEORGIA TAX RECORDS, 1785-1805, Vol 1&2, by Frank Parker […]