In March 2014, there were two great discoveries that not only confirmed oral history but it also opened doors to discoveries abroad and the Ancestors are leading the charge onward and upward to heights I never imagined!!!! The first discovery was finding the March 8, 1855 Inventories and Appraisement record of Henry Heath of Warren County. You see, Henry Heath was the owner of my Heath Ancestors, and there in black in white was the name I always connected with, a slave named Felts. Felts (later spelled Phelps in U.S Census and marriage records) is my 3x Great-Grandfather as well as my maternal Great-Grandfather's, Mitchell Heath, Grandfather. Phelps was the second slave listed in the inventory and valued at $900.00 which was substantial in 1855. He is one of forty slaves accounted for in the appraisement record, and of the forty slaves recorded Phelps along with 3 others are individually valued at $900.00 or greater. This was awesome to see as my Ancestors had value!!!! Although I could look at this from a negative light, I choose not to and instead look at this from the positive, they had value and they were valued according to their skill. Finding the Heath slaves owned by Henry Heath was not just a coincidence but rather a blessing as I was researching something else entirely and then decided to look at the Henry Heath reference. I knew then, the Ancestors were at work!
|Portion of the March 8, 1855 Inventory and Appraisement record of Henry Heath|
Warren County, Georgia
After looking at the Heath slave inventory over and over, I began to notice that all the slaves listed were indeed FAMILY. I had the majority of the names recorded in my family tree which was purely based on oral history and stories passed down through the generations. I could now trace all the slaves and I was blessed when other cousins abroad with whom I have had the pleasure of collaborating with through the years confirmed names as well. A shift in my research took place as family names, places, and records I had researched for years were looking different and new. I then started retracing my years of research, starting anew and yet revisiting everything again, and again removing doubt that I would not find another clue. And then "cluster genealogy" and "triangulation research" took effect! I switched from researching my families to researching the white families! Can you say JACKPOT!!! Stay tuned for the journey continues!
IRISH!!!! Yes, I am 1% Irish and my AncestryDNA proved the oral history of my family's Irish roots. I couldn't be more happier now to actually have concrete evidence of my Irish ancestry. As I continue on my paths to discovery, I am emphatically enthused as well as amazed at the guidance and blessings of my Ancestors as they are paving the way while lighting the path! I encourage all to celebrate your heritage and always be proud of who you are!
From April 2014 to September 2014, I challenged myself in many ways. As I previously stated, I started retracing my years of research, starting anew and yet revisiting everything again, and again and again!!! What was so amazing and made me tremble was my Heath Ancestors were calling me and calling me morning, noon day, and night!!! Everything during these months somehow centered around my Heath family and associated families. For years, I would occasionally look at neighbors and occasionally look at occupations, but it was not until finding the 1855 inventory and appraisement record of Henry Heath that I really paid attention to occupation. Within the estate papers of Henry Heath were another set of documents documenting my Heath Ancestors occupations as well as payments given for their service. YES, my Ancestors not only worked for Henry Heath, but they were loaned out to the neighboring plantations, community, and sometimes the state and county governments all because of their mastery skills. I mentioned my 3x Great-Grandfather, Phelps, was valued at $900. Well, his brother, Clack, was valued at $1500 and was the most valued slave owned by Henry Heath according to the 1855 record. Can you say, WOW!!!!!! Clack was a blacksmith, carpenter, and repairman for so many things on the Heath plantation as well as in the Warren County area, Richmond County, Hancock County, Taliaferro County, and Wilkes County areas of Georgia. Clack was sought out by many among the prominent members of the Heath, Hubert, Ivey, Harrell, Felts, Rabun, Barksdale, and Chapple families. Moving on from the estate documentation and discoveries, I began looking at the occupations more closely in the U.S. Census records, and realized my Ancestors proved to be valuable as well as needed in society. There is so much more to share, so again stay tuned for the journey continues!
Clack was just the beginning and the beginning is still now! After discovering more on Clack, I began to notice how my Heath Ancestors always lived near and worked for the white families whose names I saw in many estate records (family names mentioned above). I began to ask myself, is there a connection? Is there some sort of loyalty? Is there some other information I am overlooking? And then I realized I was in the middle of "cluster genealogy" and "triangulation research" at it's best as I was seeing information from all angles and no longer walking away from my brick walls, but instead knocking the brink walls down by force. As I went back and retraced years of research as far back as 1987 and came forward not just with my Ancestors but now with the owners of my Ancestors and the owners' families. The slave owners were now becoming my focus as I realized there was indeed a connection and it all began with the union of the families through marriages and as neighbors. They were among those who helped to settle Wilkes County pre 1795 era and their beginnings in Virginia and migration to the Carolinas and Georgia laid a foundation and ultimately a trail to follow. Warren County was formed out of Wilkes County, and the white Heath families were a big part of Wilkes County and Warren County. Oh, did I mention it's getting good y'all!!!!
So what have I learned through all of this? What new information have I gained? Where are my Ancestors leading me? And what will I do next? These are all valid questions each one of us dedicated to genealogy must ask ourselves daily. I can tell you this, I am on the move upward and onward. As I research now, I read through everything and I cross check everything. I no longer discount information that appears to not connect with my Ancestors, but instead I follow the trail as I've learned it all triangulates back to somewhere which can connect to my Ancestors, a place, or time in history relative to my ancestry journey. Push forward and allow the Ancestors to guide you, and you will not be disappointed!! I've been on an incredible journey of rediscovery, accomplishments, and research firsts. It's been an awesome year from March 2014 to March 2015, and my journey continues!! There is so much more to share, and one that sticks out is on my Heath-Hubert connection through my 3x Great-Grandmother, Jane Hubert-Heath. She was my Granddaddy Mitchell's Grandmother and was married to Phelps Heath. Stay tuned as the best is yet to come!
I'm celebrating a year of accomplishments! Thank you again for stopping by and sharing in my amazing year of accomplishments and discoveries. I am celebrating Collaboration, Communication, and Support! I'm proud of my heritage, and yes I'm Irish too!!!
St. Patrick's Day 2015