Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Photo That Started It All....

Springfield, Greene Co., Missouri
Standing left to right: George Yancey, Estella Yancey , Florance Anderson, Daniel W. Yancey, Daniel J. Yancey
Sitting: Delphia Yancey 
This is the photo that started it all! I googled my last name and African American, clicked a link that said something about Yancey's of African American descent ,and this popped up as soon as the page loaded. The man on the far right looked just like my maternal grandpa.I knew his dad's name was Daniel and that he was from Springfield, Missouri.

Left: Herbert Yancy (grandpa), Right: Daniel J. Yancey(2nd great grandpa)
I was a little unsure if these people were related to me because we don't use the "E" in our last name. Family legend has it that someone got mad at his father over a property dispute and dropped the "E", changing our last name from Yancey to Yancy. I don't know how true it is as old records go back and forth between using the "E" and dropping the "E". Nothing consistent until later generations. Fortunately, there was other information related to this family on the website. Obituary records listed my grandpa and his siblings and I was able to confirm these were my peoples!

It wasn't until later that I realized just how lucky I actually was that I found such a wealth of information about one of my family lines the very FIRST time I attempted to dig into my roots. Turns out someone bought a house that once belonged to Estella Yancy (Anderson), my grandpa's aunt. It had been sitting unoccupied for several years. A friend volunteered to help the buyer clean the house out and found photos, obituaries, newspaper clippings etc. 
The most important part of this story is they did not throw them out! They preserved them, compiled them and luckily for me digitized them. Lots of these treasures were included in an exhibit about the History of African Americans in Greene, County Missouri. My ancestors were waiting to be found and remembered... I just wish my grandpa were alive to witness the things I uncovered.  

If it weren't for my favorite search engine Google, and the kindness of strangers ( DennisJ.Yancey, Judy Reustle, and Dr. Katherine Lederer- I have never met any of them- but I am SO thankful for them- wish they knew!) I may have never have known what I know now about my roots and where I come from. I may have never continued my pursuit of finding my roots or have been introduced to the wonderful world of genealogy.

Here are the lists of sites that started it all for me! If your searching for African Americans in Greene County Missouri or adjacent counties, I hope that you find these resources to be of use...

Yancey/Yancy genealogy by Dennis J. Yancey ( Awesomeness! Nice guy, very helpful! Loads of info!) 


  1. I so love the miracle of Google searches for this reason. What an amazing find!

  2. I love google! I didn't realize commenting on your blog would allow you to see mine yet!lol! I am in the OBA FB Group (How I found your blog), but I was hesitant to share my blogs, as I just started them and was unsure if I even liked my own blogs yet!lol.. :)