"Surry County Notes"

Various genealogical compilations of the mid 1900's ** refer to what is called "Surry County Notes" provided by one Freeman Lacy - who was a key figure in the compilation of the "Yancey-Medearis Book".  What the original source for these notes was is unclear - and seems to be a hodge-podge of information from various sources. Even the title is rather confusing - since the Yanceys were never in Surry County, Virginia. 


Surry County Notes

"First, Charles Yancey, born in Wales before 1642.  The first tracing we can get of this family is that four welshman, Charles, William, Joel and Robert came to Virginia in 1642 with Sir William Berkeley and settled in the James River region and prospered.   Charles is said to have owned a large landed estate and after serving thirty years in public life was defeated by a young man to whom he had refused the hand of his daughter.  He married a granddaughter of Alexander Leighton and died in 1690.   His son Charles Yancey Jr, born in 1678 at Hanover, Virginia married a Miss Bartlett and died about 1735."


One should use extreme caution in using any of the data cited above in one's genealogical compilations.  Though there seem to be a few grains of truth in it - there seems to be virtually nothing in the way of primary evidence - and other items which can be backed up - don't correspond to the way all these supposed facts are brought together. 

1) The 1642 date comes from the well established fact that Sir William Berkeley came to Virginia in 1642.  However there is no evidence whatsoever that the Yanceys came with him or that they even had any sort of relationship to him.  The first book to cite the William Berkeley connection was the biographer of William Lowndes Yancey - who when discussing the origins of the Yancey family - never had at his access any primary document to support what he wrote (about the origin of the Yanceys)

2) As  to the Charles Yancey who had a landed estate on the James River.  There actually is ample evidence of this - his name was Charles Yancey of Buckingham - and his son in law mentioned who defeated him politically was one John Horsley.  HOWEVER this Charles Yancey was born in 1777 and died in 1857.  This is a whole century later than the supposed immigrant Charles. 

3) The Leighton and Bartlett family connections have never been proven - and even circumstantial evidence is lacking.  It is true though that among the Yancey family the names Bartlett and Leighton have been used as first names - and it was a common practice to name sons with a first name that was a ancestral surname. 

4) The dates in the notes  of 1642, 1685, 1690 - are NOT supported by any primary evidence.  The first documented Yancey was one Charles Yancey listed on the Quit Rent Rolls of 1704. These dates cited seem to be baseless.

 5) As one browses through various genealogical databases such as ancestry.con, rootsweb, new.familysearch - when databases based on user submitted data and not data from primary documents - one can see a whole multitude of varying and often conflicting names & dates - and yet if you ask anyone what there sources were - no one comes up with any primary documents - but simply some reference like the "Surry County notes".  One should use  extreme caution in including dates before 1704 that are not substantiated or for which some explanation is given as to how the date was arrived at.

 6) The names of the Yancey immigrants is often given as Charles, William, Robert, Joel, Richard, Henry and others.   There is no primary evidence for these immigrants - and when one reviews what can be substantiated - one realizes  that these are indeed the names of some of the earliest documented Yanceys - BUT there is no indication that they themselves were immigrants - but rather sons or grandsons of immigrants.  see also:  http://yanceyfamilygenealogy.org/yanceybrothers.htm

See also these pages about the origins of  the Yancey family




**  See for example "Descendants of Jackson M Yancey . . ."   page 3.