In 1783 Thomas WINGFIELD (b. 1745 – d. 1797) of HANOVER County, VA migrated to WILKES County, GA to claim land awarded for his Revolutionary War service. Migrating with WINGFIELD were my first 23 Wilkes County Ancestors.
Upon WINGFIELD’s death in 1797 my Ancestors were willed to his heirs and wife, Elizabeth NELSON WINGFIELD on December 27 1797. Elizabeth WINGFIELD died in 1802. The slaves [and their increase] originally willed to Elizabeth by Thomas, were allotted to their children in 1803 in the following division of slaves:
- Charles – $300
- Mary – $345
- Joe – $395
- Venus – $320
- Jordan – $93
- Washington -$57
- Charles * – $355
- James * – $205
- Patsey – $94
- Suck – $320
- William – $121
- Young Child – $27
John WINGFIELD (Father of James Nelson, owner of my 4th Grandfather James WINGFIELD) — Lot 5 ($522)
- Nate – $285
- Amy – $205
- Lucy – $102
- Pal— * – $270
- Sylvia – $260
- Lucy – $46
- Margaret – $75
Though I knew all African American, Wilkes County WINGFIELDS descended from Thomas’ sons, I never had any idea of how the sorting happened. Now we know — the first parsing of WINGFIELD slaves occurred in 1797 with the death of Thomas WINGFIELD via his will and the second, in 1803 with the lot sale of Elizabeth WINGFIELD’s slaves! Completely blown away!:)
Completely surreal to realize every African American WINGFIELD [and their descendants] out of Wilkes County evolved from these original Ancestors?!
- Follow the estate/inventory records trail of the male WINGFIELD heirs. There’s more to the story about how these family lines evolved what became of their emancipated slaves.
- Determine who John BUTLER * (Lot 6) was and if he had a family connection. Possibly the spouse of a WINGFIELD daughter?
- Map the Ancestor from the Duke University Bible Records to validate names, birth/death dates and children.
- Research Lot 5 — Nate, Amy and Lucy. Were these my direct Ancestors? What is their relationship to my 4th Grandfather James WINGFIELD (b. abt 1836)?
- Check James Nelson WINGFIELD’s (father John WINGFIELD of Lot 5) Indenture record of 1841 to validate name consistencies and how the division affected the group of Ancestors.
- Revisit Ancestry.com to search post 1865 black WINGFIELDS and apply the “cluster” rule by sold lot/descendants.
- Jump for joy and be thankful the Ancestors encouraged me to turn my system back-on at 2AM!
Personally, there’s no real words to sum up what this discovery means to my family legacy and EVERY black WINGFIELD researcher with Wilkes County roots!
In 1 month, I’ve touched the documents that gifted me my Original Ancestors names, brought them home with me, and now today discovered how their family lines spread throughout Wilkes County! WOW!
For anyone still in need of convincing about the necessity [and value] of having our research online — go back and read this post!:)
For my AAGSAR Community and like-minded researchers, be skilled at leveraging technology capable of bringing out-of-reach history to your living room at 2AM in the morning! Because my research and that of every Wilkes County, slave ancestored WINGFIELD researcher will never be the same!
A complete GAMECHANGER!
Props to Family Search — to my knowledge, the first to bring Inventory/Estate Records [in mass] online to the broader research community. These records are vital to anyone tracing their slave ancestry and traditionally, have not been included among digitized records.
Thanks to Keith GIDDEON for the resource his Wilkes County database has always been to local researchers — who aren’t as local as we’d like to be!:)
To my Ancestors, go head WINGFIELDS! Make it do what it do!:)
- Thomas WINGFIELD, Senior: Byrne Family – Byrne & Asimov Genealogy
- WILKES County, Georgia Genealogy – Keith GIDDEON
- Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1990 Wilkes Inventories and appraisements 1794-1806 bk LL
John BUTLER would have been Thomas WINGFIELD’s nephew — eldest son of his sister Elizabeth WINGFIELD & Edward BUTLER. Note the BYNRE Family Pedigree.