Terms to know:
Acquiring Land - terms
(very common in colonial America)
of Primogeniture - and land inheritance
Planter (Plantation) - in
colonial times usually inferred slave ownership)
(yeoman in colonial times - usually referred to a small non-slave holding farmer)
Sources for learning more about life in early Virginia and about Land
Acquisition and Records
Planters of Colonial Virginia by Thomas Wertenbaker -
I highly recomend reading this book!
subjects include Yeomanry versus
Planters/Slavery/Land Aquisiton/Headrigt systems
and Pioneers by Nell M Nugent
of the land
transactions of the 1600's - good to use as a measuring stick
Earth - Land Grants in Virginia
one interesting statement is the fact that
aroudn 1700 only 10% of land granted was being cultivated.
above source focus
on the 1600's versus the 1700's (in the 1700's the land transatction
were usually of greater acreage)
County Formation Maps
Land Records of
Tax and Deed records - pre 1800
Some Families who
we could compare/contrast with the Yanceys as to land records
On the links below - look for terms like
"acres", "grant", "Land" etc,
Note most of these families have
a pretty tight association with the Yanceys (except Quarles)
on the 1704 Quit Rent Rolls
- - another
- Came to America mid 1600's?? - John Quarles had 100 acres in 1704.
but thousands of acres not many decades later
- not listed on 1704 rent rolls. Had many 100's of acres by mid 1700's
saxons seemed to have acquired
land by transporting various people to America (headrights).
- family came to America in 1640's. David Crawford Sr with 400 acres on
1704 rent rolls. Thousands of acres acquired later
have aquired property via dowry of Crawford wives.
acquired much land by paying for the transport of people to America
- Jeremiah Dumas with 250 acres on 1704 rent rolls. various hundreds of
acres aquired later.
- came to America about 1705. Not on 1704 rent rolls. ended
up with about 4000 acres witin a short time.
Yancey probably aquired much land via the dowry of his Kavanaugh wife.
Kavanaughs seem to have aquired land by transporting people to America.
- John Lewis with 2600 acres on 1704 rent rolls
- James Nuckolls - 300 acres on quit rent rolls
- Abraham Estes - 200 acres on 1704 quit rent rolls
Yancey of Buckingham County - probably aquired much via the dowry of
his Spencer wife.
- came to Vriginis about 1690, was on the 1704 rent rolls with 2600 acres.
discussion of working up the social ladder and the rapidity of land acquisition
This coments is pretty amazing:
"Of the forty-four Burgesses who sat in the Assembly of 1629, no less
than seven—John Harris, William Allen, William Popleton, Anthony
Pagett, Richard Townsend, Adam Thoroughgood and Lionell Rowlston—were
listed as servants in the muster of 1624."
Washington / Thomas Jefferson - how wealthy were they? George Washington obtained most of his wealth - via his wife's dowry.
interesting to see that
various Yancey acquired land upon marriage - due to dowry practices
common in the place/time.
It is also noted that it seems common
land or slaves were deedes to sons when they became adults or married.
did not normally have to
wait until their father died to acquire an inheritance.
Also of interest are the numbers
of families closely associated with the Yanceys who acquired land
through the headright system
as they apprently
paid for the transport of others to America.
Yancey) - I welcome contrasting optinions.
the first documented Yancey being Charles Yancey with 100 acres of land
in King William County Virginia. and knowing that
immigrants who paid their
way often started off with 50 acres headrights. And also knowing how
quickly most Virginians were able to acquire additional land
it seems very likely that the Yanceys came to America right about the
year 1700 - as did various families they are closely
with (Saxon, Kavanaugh, Dumas and others). With no even
of the name Yancey on any record of any type in the 17th century
(1600's) it seems unlikely that they came over with or about the same
time as Sir William Berkeley - as lore often cites. About 3
generations could have expired from 1642 to 1704 - where large families
were common. and yet in 1704 we only find one solitary Yancey land
holder with only 2 "headrights" worth of land .
- Also the average repidity of land acquisitons makes it also
seem like the 1704 Charles Yancey must have been a recent immigrant.
- Any theory of close connection of William Berkley
with the Yancey family - - -seems to be devoid of substance.
- Though this site discusses the possibility that it may
have been the Crawford
family that had associations with Berekely and it is this
family that originally started the family story of a connection with
Berkeley. Note two Crawford sisters married into the Yancey Family.
the larger land grants (various hundred of acres) that some Yanceys
were able to acquire in the
early to mid decades of the 1700's do not seem to be too far out
of the norm for the typical family
who may have
started out with a few hundred acres when they first arrived. Note
specific family examples above on this page for a comparison. One
can campare land
and slave counts of Yanceys to extant records of families across the
board to get a general idea of where the Yanceys found themselves in
social strata of the period. Note land acreage was just one
factor among various - land withoutu available cheap labor to
work it, as an example, was not necessarily a great asset. Also
much of the land had to be cleared before it could be used for farming
(again requiring much labor).
I often feel like there is often the possibility that we "totally
miss the boat" in our interpretation of colonial records and
culture - when we, as it were, (allegorically speaking) are
looking through our modern day lenses - instead of looking through the
bi-focals of the colonial period. In other words - judging the
past - by applying our way of interpeting the current
modern world that we know - and in so doing maybe totally
missing and not taking into account huge fatcors that are totally
foreign to us. As an example - people may totally misjudge things
if they are not aware of things like "laws of primogeniture",
"land dowrys" between one family and another, the extremely cheap
price of land in Colonial Virginia, and how tobacco and slavery
impacted almost every aspect of southern life in some way or