Copy of a letter written by Dennis J Yancey SEP 18, 1991

See Family chart for CURRENT info on how I believe the relationships in this family to be.

It has now been many years since I first started researching the Yancey family as a whole - its origins and the early members of the family. All of my research would indicate that except for one very minor exception, that all Yanceys of America descend from either one of two main branches of the family - 1) The Hanover County Branch of the family with a Charles Yancey at its head and 2) the Culpeper County Branch of the family with Lewis Davis Yancey at its head. It would now seem that we have a record of all the children of Lewis Davis Yancey. Concerning the Hanover County Branch of the family at present we know of seven recorded sons. It seems somewhat unusual that there are no recorded daughters and it would seem quite possible that there were indeed daughters who names have been lost to those of us of the present generation. If their were other brothers their names have also been lost to the present generation. It would now also seem that we have documented most (but probably not all) of the grandchildren of these two Yanceys. In reference to the Hanover County Branch of the family - it has not yet been determined whether John Yancey - the son of Charles - ever married and whether he had any children or not is unknown - but would seem to be possible. It is also uncertain whether John's brother Charles left any descendants either. But extant records concerning the other five brothers would seem to record most (if not all) of their children.

As to the Lewis Davis Yancey branch of the family it would seem that most of his grandchildren have also been documented. It would seem, however, that John Yancey had more children than have been commonly attributed to him and it would also seem that Philemon Yancey may have had more than the two sons commonly attributed to him.

There are, however, two elusive members of the early Yancey family which I have been keeping my eyes open for in the research I have done. They both had the same name, they both seem to have left descendants - although all genealogical reports to date have not recorded anything as to them. Now, after extensive research of the Yancey family as a whole, I have come to the conclusion that these two different Yanceys are one and the same person and it would seem that I have also discovered members of the family which probably descend from this quite obscure member of the Yancey family. Let me explain:

Among Culpeper County records used in documenting the Yancey family of Virginia is the last will and testament of Lewis Yancey (the son of Lewis Davis Yancey). In his will he refers to his children including his daughter Winifred Yancey. He refers to her as the wife of one Thomas Yancey. The identity of this Thomas Yancey has eluded researcher for many years even up to the present time. One, at first, might assume that he must also have been a descendant of Lewis Davis Yancey (The Culpeper County Branch of the family and the Hanover County Branch - seem to have maintained an almost unusual distinctness and separate identity). Although there does not seem to have existed any negative feelings between the two branches of the family - association between the two branches of the family seems to have been kept to an unusual minimum. Intermarriage between members of the Culpeper branch of the family was quite common - first cousins often married each other and the family stuck together and were often quite concerned about who and what type of persons the children of the family married. This also seems to be the case (although to a lesser degree) among the Hanover County Branch of the family. But it has always struck me as unusual that their seems to have been no intermarriage or close connections between these two branches of the family. A recent re-analysis, however, has now convinced me that their were indeed connections between the two families and it would now seem that their were even inter-marriages between the two families - indeed, more than one.

After coming to the conclusion that Thomas Yancey, husband of Winifred, was probably not a descendant of Lewis Davis Yancey - I began to look at the Hanover Branch of the family to see if there were any Thomas' who could possibly qualify as the elusive Yancey who married Lewis Yancey's daughter. My attention soon came to Thomas Yancey the son of James Yancey of Granville County, North Carolina. Thomas was named as one of his sons in his will of 1779. This other Thomas has also been particularly elusive. Some have thought that he died young or never married. No reports to date have recorded any wife or children. Could these two Yanceys - Thomas the husband of Winifred and Thomas the son of James be one and the same persons. I have for some time considered it a possibility - but with no real evidence to back it up I have considered it a "stab in the dark" and thought it rather foolish to assume the two to be the same without any further evidence.

But after extensive researching of the early Yancey families and some new evidence which has come up rather recently - and a lot of circumstantial and implied evidence - I really believe now that the two are one and the same person.

Let me here now, bring up a few loose points of evidence and clues and I will then tie everything together and propose my theory as to how all the clues fit.

1) It is quite interesting to note that their are certain names exclusively used by members of the Culpeper Branch of the Yancey family and also exclusive name usage among the Hanover branch of the family. Among the Culpeper branch of the family, ELEANOR, WINIFRED, GEORGE used among the early family which are not to be found among the Hanover Branch. THORNTON, ZACHARIAH, HEZEKIAH and ARCHELAUS are names exclusively used by the Hanover branch.

2) In view of the above information a few things stand out. North Carolina Records show the marriage of one George G. Yancey to Rebeccah Yancey. Rebeccah was the daughter of Philip Yancey and Agatha Benson of Granville. But the parentage of George has eluded researchers. An 1810 census of Virginia shows one Thornton Yancey to be found living in Culpeper County Virginia. Extensive search of Culpeper County records show little if any records in reference to this Thornton Yancey and he also has been rather elusive.

I now propose the following theory:

1) That Thomas Yancey, the son of James, was the same Thomas Yancey referred to in the will of Lewis Yancey of Culpeper as the husband of his wife Winifred.

2) That Thomas and Winifred Yancey had various children including, but not exclusive to, George G. Yancey who married Rebecca Yancey in 1816 in Person Co., NC, and the Thornton Yancey who is recorded on the 1810 census of Culpeper County. Thomas and Winifred were probably married around the 1770's. They may have traveled various times between Culpeper and Granville County North Carolina. Tax records of Mecklenburg County Virginia in 1812, do indeed, refer to a Thornton Yancey and refer to him as "son of Thomas".

Census records show George G. Yancey living in Pittsylvania County Virginia from 1820 to 1840. In 1850 Both George G. Yancey and his family and Thornton Yancey and his wife as well as others who it would seem were descendants all lived in Christian County, Kentucky. And this would bring me to my final proposition that Thomas and Winifred were the ancestors of the Christian County, Kentucky Yancey families some of which still live in the county today.

There are various other Yanceys who it would seem in most probability also descended from this mysterious branch of the family. Among them is one Thornton C. Yancey who lived in Cherokee County Georgia and left various descendants. Another possible descendant is Lewis T(illotson?) Yancey who settled in Putnam County, Georgia. Two other possible candidates for children of Thomas & Winifred include James L. Yancey who married Frances Fuller (1809 - In Person Co., NC) and Frances Yancey who married John True (1819 - Person Co., NC). Keep in mind that George G. Yancey married Rebeccah Yancey in Person County.

Included is a chart showing the families as I believe them to be related. I would very much appreciate your input and any clues you may be aware of. Your assistance in Yancey family research is very much appreciated.

Hope to continue hearing from you.

Dennis J Yancey
19341 NW 61 Ave
Miami, FL 33015

Family chart


Andy Watkins  provided some interesting info in 2012 related to these families.


Thomas Yancey info

Thomas Yancey & Mary Watkins

Thomas Watkins Probate info