I posted this story to a Genetic Genealogy group I am a part of on Facebook. I decided to post it here as well:
I’ll tell a story some of you may appreciate. For the most part my genealogy efforts are divided in to two main parts, (1) my Allman Family, and though the surname of my father is used, I disproportionately spend more time on my mothers side, (2) my son’s paternal lines, and disproportionately his grandmother’s lines going back to Chambers County, Alabama. And as fate would have it, these two lines cross about 7 generations back.
Of course both of my son’s grandmothers have been DNA tested. On my mom’s side an interesting line goes back to Henrico County, Virginia. I have early Colonial records of my Breazeale line, as well as records of my Griffin, Bolling, Stith, Worsham, Kennon and other lines. One cool source of records is the Bristol Parish Vestry Book. There are interesting colonial stories over on that side with Thomas Jefferson being among the in-laws of the cousins of direct ancestors, as well as one of my directs after being widowed marrying in to the Epps family.
Now over on my son’s paternal grandmother’s lines there are many interesting stories as well. This side is predominantly African American, and we have the stories we can trace through estate records, and sharecropping agreements and artifacts handed down through the family. We can trace our lines directly back to Agnes Winston born about 1848, daughter of Anthony Winston who’s lifespan was about 1824 to 1910.
As you might imagine, records of this early generation are hard to come by. We have many DNA cousins that lead us back to a set of Winston families. We have close cousins that are DNA tested that can get back to Winston through two paths- our shared path though their grandfather back to Agnes, and a separate path through their grandmother who goes back to a General Winston. General is a contemporary of Anthony Winston but at this point we can’t prove linkage. Other’s who have studied General Winston make the case that he is the son of the white “Slaveholder” Peter Tinsley. This is bolstered by the fact that someone in the family has an old Sword with “Tinsley” engraved on it that was said to have been taken from the Tinsley household.
So I’m following all my DNA leads, and working on these converging Winston families. One researcher even has an attached findagrave memorial for Peter Tinsley. Census records of some of our kin reflect they were born in Virginia in the days of slavery. So this is all plausible, but I’m still looking for solid proof. So I google and find a book about old homes in Richmond Virginia. Wow, this book mentions so many names I’m familiar with from my mom’s lines, the contemporaries of Thomas Jefferson. Many of the brief biographies of these owners of the early homes end with a statement that they are buried in nearby Shockoe Hill Cemetery. I’m kind of freaking out that the book has several references to Peter Tinsley, the findagrave info indicates he lived in Richmond Virginia, and was buried in Shockoe Hill Cemetery. Am I narrowing in on the cross-over between the two family lines?
I have kind of a cool update. In my story above I mentioned a slave holding Tinsley family apparently related to my son’s paternal kin; another mention was the Bolling family on my son’s maternal side, many generations back from me and my mother’s side. I focused in on Peter Tinsley of Richmond, Virginia. Today’s googles lead me to a relative of his, John Tinsley. He had an “Inn” or “ordinary” that has made it on to the national register of historic places. The location had also been refered to as Tinsleyville. Here’s a quote from the application submitted, “The building known as Tinsley Tavern has long been known as a drover’s tavern. It is situated along the major road through Goochland County over which herds of cattle and sheep were driven in the 1800s. The 1820 John Wood map of Goochland County shows three taverns along the Charlottesville to Richmond stage road, now River Road. ” A google for Tinsleyville lead me to this photo of something that had been offered on Ebay. It seems likely the Tinsley and Bolling families knew each other.