This collection of information on the genealogy of the Winfrey family name
is taken from my collections gathered over the past ten years. My early intention
was to put in book form the history of Winfreys in Virginia and Kentucky. Because of failure of health and family obligations, my objectives may be reduced
In the January/February 1987 issue of the Genealogical Helper, page
69, I had three items asking for information from the Winfreys who had lines connecting with John Winfrey and his wife, Mary
Turpin. The results were highly favorable.
I gained helpful information, and was privileged to materially help most of those who responded to my requests. In the end, many more persons will benefit from the contacts with those who had contacted
This collection is being given to those who wrote me and to many of my correspondents
of the past ten years. Many other subjects are well worth writing about, but my time is limited. This short edition is much better than single-sheet letters, and I hope its contents will be helpful to
many readers who will hear about its existence and find a copy to read.
Although this report is written in the
first person of Robley E. Winfrey, he was aided greatly by the efforts, counsel, and support of his wife Verne Cooper Winfrey. Her help was continuous from 1976 through the completion of this report.
I was aided materially by professional genealogists who searched the state
and county records in Virginia and Kentucky.
Robley E. Winfrey
10 May 1987
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Background Information
Brief History of the Development of
Winfreys in Virginia and Kentucky
The John Winfrey Genealogical Line
Proof that the John Winfrey who
married Mary Turpin is our John
The French Huguenots as Related
to the Virginia Winfreys
Land Office Military Warrant No. 1684
and John Winphrey
Tables and Graphs
A. Variant Spellings of the Family
Winfrey/Winfree as Found in Sources of
B. Work Chart of the John Winfrey Family
C. Pedigree Chart – Philip Winfrey
Israel Winfrey and Philip Turpin
D. List of John Winfrey Family Members
Before 1936 by Thomas Henry Winfrey
E. John Winphrey’s land Warrant
F. Reverse Side of Warrant No. 1684
G. Typed Copy of Wording on Each Side
Warrant No. 1684
SEARCHING THE GENEALOGY
OF THE WINFREY
My searching the genealogical aspects of
the Winfrey name, with 30 or so different spellings, started about 1976. My start
was to develop my family line as the main objective. As I got deeper and deeper
into the available records and developed correspondents over the states, I began to see that researchers in general were reading
from the library and county headquarters the same papers, files, books, records, and documents. Further, the searchers were being blocked by the same factors they could not find answers to, and also
they were gathering and believing “facts” that were not facts, as well as adding in their own information of doubtful
My reaction to these findings and observations
was to change my objective from developing my Winfrey family line to the broader one of finding the history of the Winfrey
name and variations in spellings in Virginia and Kentucky,
1607 to 1850. The Winfrey Family, a book by
James Clifton Winfrey, fulfills part of my objective. I am pleased to have had
the opportunity to work with him and enhance my own knowledge and capabilities. I
also broadened the scope with extensive searching in England,
especially in Lincolnshire.
My own Winfrey genealogical line is from
our John Winfrey and wife, Mary Turpin, through their son, John, Jr., whose son Thomas went from Kentucky
to Polk County, Iowa in 1861. My grandfather, James King Winfrey, was born in Russell County, Kentucky, in 1843, and went to Iowa
in 1861 with his father, Thomas.
Our John Winfrey family, from which I, Robley
E. Winfrey, am descended, consists of seven sons and six daughters, most of who went to Kentucky
from Virginia in the period from 1785 to 1820.
Then some went on to Missouri.
John’s family is described later in this statement.
Herein the widespread geographical coverage,
the time period, the spellings of names, and the stories of how, when, and where the Winfrey families developed brought to
my attention conflicting “facts.” A few comments about such items
is of interest.
I have found no evidence that allow a positive
story of how and when the Winfreys came into Virginia or other colonies. These stories are varied in detail, but many relate to two, three, four, five, six,
or seven brothers coming from England to Virginia,
then spreading out to other colonies or states. My father says two brothers came;
one went to Kentucky and one stayed in Virginia. Another story says three brothers came from England
to Georgia with James Oglethorpe in 1733; later they went
north to Virginia or west to Louisiana.
These brothers stories are family fiction. All of them cannot be true.
But here in Virginia and Georgia and in England I found
no Winfrey brothers or nonbrothers who came from England to
the American colonies. Floods, fires, Indians, and wars destroyed many collections
of genealogical records, so we cannot be certain of many early events and actions of peoples.
We are 99% certain that our Virginia Winfreys
(all spellings) did come into Virginia from England,
but when, how, and who is not known.
This collection of Winfrey information has
been put together rather hurriedly, but hopefully helpful to my correspondents. This
collection will provide more information than I would put in single letters. Also,
less time is required to prepare the replies. We had three “queries”
in the January/February 1987 Genealogical Helper magazine, page 69. All
persons sending in replies will get this collection.
In the printed magazine, the birth of our John Winfrey is given as CA 1747, which is in error. The correct year is CA 1740.
2. BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF
WINFREYS IN VIRGINIA
Where cometh from the Winfrey families of
Virginia? The general belief of
those persons who have searched carefully for the history and origin of the Winfrey family name is that they came directly
from England sometime after 1607. Searching in England and in Virginia
has not located any records that prove that the Winfrey in early Virginia came
from England or other European country. The Jamestown, Virginia, records here
or in England do not list any Winfreys. However, the fires, floods, Indians, and wars destroyed many record of the 1600’s, 1700’s,
and 1800’s. County, state and national records have all suffered from these
losses. Most of the early histories will never be discovered.
A search of England,
especially Lincolnshire, of the records of about 1550 to 1750 (the span of time
searched) shows that Winfrey persons, with some 26 variant spellings, were then in England. The spelling of “Winfrey” was quite common. What has high probability, but no proof, is that the following four “Winfrey” persons came
to Virginia during the years shown and then spread around the Virginia
counties with changes in spelling of the name. Not one of these persons has been
identified after arrival in Virginia.
A land grant was given to the person who sponsored the trip from England
to Virginia for these four “Winfreys” and other named persons.
William Winifrett – 5 July 1636 – Charles
William Winnfrye – 18 June 1638 – Isle of
George M(W)infrey – 6 January 1655 – Lancaster
Bernard Winefry – 18 April 1668 – Old Rappahannoch
The actual spelling of the names of these
four persons may be questioned. How, when, and at what place these four “Winfreys”
entered Virginia is not known. Where
those persons lived in Virginia and under what spelling of the name what became
of them is not known.
From the vestry book of Blissland Parish,
New Kent and James City Counties, Virginia, 1721-1786,
the following information is found: “Jan.
29, 1677, Commissioners sent over by the English Government to inquire and report upon state of affairs in the
Colony arrived in Virginia. Grievances
complaining of the oppressions . . . were presented . . . .” Henry Winifride was one of the inhabitants who signed the statement presented from Blissland Parish.
the Winfrey persons begin to show up in the Parish and County records about 1675. The
St. Peter Parish records of New Kent County
report the marriage of Jacob Winfree and Elizabeth Alford in 1698, the earliest marriage
I have found of a Winfrey. From
Winfreys began moving to North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and
Kentucky about 1750. The movement of the John Winfrey line to Kentucky started
Not only is there a wide spread of spelling,
there also are many reported meaning of different spellings. Examples are:
Friend in peace--White wave--White phantom--Streamy
Win (something won) and free (freedom)
This freedom applied to serfs or slaves who
won their freedom, or the French Huguenots winning their religious freedom.
Some references say the Winfrey name is derived
from a different family given name or person’s first given name, but from the evidence as cited it is illogical to conclude
that the family name Winfrey comes from another name when there are 20 to 40 spellings of the name, starting from before 1550
the spelling “Winfrey” seems to have appeared before “Winfree.”
But now in Virginia the Winfree spelling is the leader. For the United States as a whole in 1976
of total Winfrey/Winfree spellings there were 72 percent Winfrey and 28 percent Winfree.
This information is based on a tally made from telephone directories for 189 cities and towns.
Our John Winfrey, husband of Mary Turpin(e)
at the time he moved to Kentucky, spelled his name “Winphrey.”
by Robley Winfrey – 17 September 1984
Neither the origin of the family name of
Winfrey nor its meaning are clearly stated in the many references I have read. Starting
with Saint Boniface in 680 A.D., and coming forward to 1750 in time in England, there are different spellings of names that
can be accepted as variants of “Winfrey” or “Winfree.” Writers
at all ages of history do not agree as to spelling, origin, or meaning of the names and spellings of “Winfrey.” Country and language sources involved include German, French, Norse, Danish, Anglo-Saxon,
Welsh, Irish, etc., in many writings over a time span of 1,400 years. The detailed
support for specific positions is rarely stated.
I have collected papers on the subject that
are not presented herein. I doubt that a full-scale search of the complete literature
would come up with a name and source from which “Winfrey” was developed, and a specific meaning of that name. My position is strengthened by correspondence with a Winfrey family from Petersborough,
England. The names “Winfrey”
and “Winfree,” as commonly used today, may be said to have just come from hundreds of years of “evolution”
as evolved within a collection of languages, spellings, and meanings.
3. THE JOHN WINFREY GENEALOGICAL LINE
The Winfreys and Winfrees in Virginia
comprised a high number of such persons with the same or similar names, from about 1700 to 1800. Two genealogical lines have developed – the John Winfrey line, from which the Kentucky Winfreys were
started by our John Winfrey, who started the movement to Kentucky about 1785. The Valentine Winfree line as a whole stayed in Virginia,
though some persons went west and south, reaching out through Tennessee to Louisiana
and Texas. I see signs of these
two lines having a common beginning and a geographic home in the area of New Kent, King William, and nearby counties. We know that the John Winfrey line dates back to his father, Israel Winfrey, born
CA 1720, probably in Henrico or Goochland County. We have land transfers by a Valentine Winfree in King
William County as early as 1702 and 1705.
There has been no record of where or when
the first Valentine came from. Persons have theorized or directly assumed that
the first Valentine family came out of New Kent County,
probably the St. Peters Parish. Extensive searches of the records of the parish
and of New Kent County
do not show any Valentine Winfree entries in either place.
Though I have searched the Valentine name
extensively, this statement treats mainly only the John line. See attached work
chart on our John Winfrey and his 13 children as of my findings of 10 February 1986. My father, Thomas Henry Winfrey (1866-1936) comes up from John, Jr. (No. 6 on chart),
Thomas Winfrey and James King Winfrey. The Thomas in this line moved from Russell
County, Kentucky, to Polk County, Iowa, in 1861.
The handwritten notes as prepared by my father
list 12 of the 13 children shown on the chart. James (No. 9) was located in my
searches before I knew there was a thirteenth child. Much of my searching has
been directed to finding the birth, marriage, and death of our John Winfrey, the marriages of his children, and his ancestors. An examination of the work chart will disclose what has been found and what has not
been found. I started searching about 1976, but did not find our John’s
wife, Mary Turpin, until late 1985. I am still hunting for more facts on the
Turpin line from England to our John. Although we now have our John’s wife, the date and place of marriage has not been found. It is a strange fact that I have not seen in Virginia or Kentucky any mention of Mary, his wife (except
for the Winfrey/Turpin, father/mother existence at the birth of their first child (Sarah), 13 February 1762, or mention of
John as a parent to the 13 children. The only record or signature found of our
John is to his land office military warrant No. 1684 when he sold his warrant in January 1784.
The warrant was issued 29 August 1773 to John Winphrey.
See attached Section 4 on the proof that
Mary Turpin did marry our John, having sons Philip, Henry and John, Jr. The proof that Israel is the father of our
John is in the same section. See also Section 6 on the Warrant No. 1684.
My father lists five sons of Israel
and his wife, Elizabeth Slaughter: Reuben, Hilly, John, William and Philip. I have put forth but little effort to identify these sons other than for our John.
I have searched for Mary (Polly) Winfrey
Luttrell, but have found no trace as yet.
On the work chart there are sufficient birth
spaces left to fit in the remaining three sisters.
The Turpin line is under search to develop
the Mary Turpin family. It appears now that the line will extend back through
about 1650 in Virginia to Yorkshire in England.
4. PROOF THAT THE JOHN WINFREY WHO
MARRIED MARY TURPIN IS OUR JOHN
This section is directed to the proof that
the John Winfrey, father of our Philip and Henry Winfrey, is the John Winfrey who married Mary Turpin. The date and place of this marriage is not known. The source
of information of the husband/wife relationship of John and Mary and birth date and name of their first child is found in
the Douglas Register.* The basic information
given in the Douglas Register is: John Winfrey and Mary Turpin – first child to be born 13 February 1762, named
Sally Winfrey. The source of this information, the Douglas Register, is
fully reliable to the last detail. It is noted that the date and place of the
marriage of John and Mary is not given.
Israel Winfrey is the father of our John. In a deed transferring land from Israel to Arthur Moseley, 5 June 1778, in Powhatan
County, Israel states “which tract or parcel of land my son John Winfrey now liveth on” (TWF** p. 19). Thomas Henry Winfrey (1866-1936), father of Robley E. Winfrey, and descendant of our John Winfrey Via John,
Jr., and his son, Thomas, left papers (TWF p. 30) which list Israel as the father of our John.
These same papers list six sons of our John and Mary, and six daughters, including one daughter named Sarah. The son, James, was not listed. Coming from written papers
and in a direct line from our John, these items from Thomas Henry Winfrey are considered to be fact. The information supports Israel as our
John’s father and Sarah Winfrey as John’s daughter, as shown in the 10
February 1986 work chart of our John’s family.
James C. Winfrey, author of The Winfrey
Family, and I each arrived separately at CA 1740 as the birth year of our John.
Adding 21 years to 1740 gives 1761 as the probable year of his marriage (at age 21).
With his daughter, Sarah, being born in 1762, a one-year subtraction gives the year 1761 as a probable year of marriage
of our John and his Mary.
Israel Winfrey and Philip Turpin owned adjacent
land on Swift Creek in Cumberland County
(in 1777 this area became Powhatan County). Thus, they were neighbors, and Israel’s
young son, John, didn’t have to go far to find Mary Turpin to court and later to marry.
Elizabeth Turpin, widow of Philip Turpin, in her
will names her daughter, Mary Winfrey, and also names her granddaughter, Sally Winfrey.
*The Douglas Register, by W. Mac Jones, 31 July 1928, published by J. W. Fergusson & Sons, Richmond, Virginia. This register covers the years 1750 to 1797 as recorded by the Reverend
William Douglas, pastor of the Dover Church, St. James Northern Parish, Goochland County, Virginia. See pages 122, 146 and 321.
**The Winfrey Family,
by James Clifton Winfrey, 1982.
The Winfrey persons and the Turpin persons
were together in Goochland, Powhatan, Cumberland, and other Virginia
counties, and also in Kentucky and Missouri. So a marriage of our John and Mary Turpin is a normal type of event to expect from
We have found no other John Winfrey who could
be identified as our John. The John Winfrey who married Mary Hughes Walton has
been chosen by many Winfrey genealogical researchers as our John, but examination of the records does not bring forth any
related facts (see TWF, pp. 11, 20). The military record of John, the sons
Philip and Henry, and the travel to Kentucky, all are missing from the records
of the other John. Also, the marriage date of 17 April 1752 does fit into the birth record of Philip, Henry, and John, Jr. The more that the John Winfrey/Mary Walton family is searched, the more facts are found that prove their
John is not our John.
Their first child, Sarah, of our John and
Mary, fits well into the birth schedule of the ten children identified to date. Note
in the 10 February work chart of the position of the child No 3, Judy Elizabeth. For
proof of our John, Sally is correct in name and also by year of birth, related to her brothers and sisters. The daughters Patsey, Betsey, and Nancy have not been isolated as yet.
The generation-to-generation listings and
travels by our John Winfrey family as begun by his father, Israel,
fit well as a whole. Other Johns may not include this fact.
Our John Winfrey and Jacob Ashurst were witnesses
to the will of Josiah Turpin, their brother-in-law.
Herein the references
to the book, The Winfrey Family, by James Clifton Winfrey, are made by (TWF, p__).
Note that this book was available May 1982. The author died 26 July 1982.
5. THE FRENCH HUGUENOTS AS RELATED
TO THE VIRGINIA WINFREYS
There are many Winfrees (and other spellings)
who claim they are descendants of the French Huguenots. Different stories of
how this came about prevail, though I have not found here in America or in England a reference to how French Huguenots became
American members of the family line names Winfrey, Winfree, or other spelling. The
following writings are my effort to clarify the mixed-up stories and to relate the correct history.
First, the Huguenots. They began leaving France about the time
of the St. Bartholomew Massacre in 1572. Over the years they entered the lowland
countries nearby to France and across the channel to England
and associated lands, such as Wales. Some Huguenots probably went to England
first then to the continent. From all three general areas, the Huguenots went
to America. Virginia
was one of their settlement areas, particularly near Richmond about 1700. These movements took place over 300 years or so.
Suring this long period of years, many changes took place in family makeup, spoken language, family names, religion,
Stories relate to a change in name from their
French name to some form of Winfrey. After a change in name, they went to America
(Virginia). A search of the Huguenot
Societies here and in England does not reveal any French Huguenot
having a Winfrey name by any similar spelling. One source of the spelling is
that the Huguenots just took an English spelling like Win-free, with the inference that they had “won their freedom.” Nowhere in the records of Virginia and Huguenot Society is there any finding of a
Huguenot by the Winfrey name. The conclusion to all of this: there seems to be no French Huguenot Winfreys in the Virginia
One story is that one source of the Huguenots
was from the ship landing in 1733 in Georgia under the leadership
of James Oglethorpe. Three Winfrey brothers (French origin) landed; John went
north to Powhatan County, Virginia. William went north
to Chesterfield County, Virginia, and the third (no name)
went to western Virginia. Searchers
in Georgia do not support any element of this story, which
has many variations, depending upon who is telling it. But the lack in all versions
of this story and all other stories on the French Huguenot Winfreys is the lack of named persons, places, and dates to give
support to the stories.
It is true, and is just a normal development
still as of today, there were marriages between the English (and other nationalities) men and women and Huguenot men and women
in the settlement in Virginia. But
such marriages did not make French descendants out of the Winfreys in early Virginia. But the many reports, verbal and written, give rise to a need to trace the history
of the statements and beliefs. The absence of reliable data on names, dates,
and places makes for difficulty in tracing the history of the Huguenot Winfrey beliefs.
Perhaps the autobiography of
William Powhatan Winfrey, published in 1920,
has been themain source to spread the beliefs. However, the
beliefs could have been widespread before 1920. William Powhatan Winfrey was
born 28 January 1843 and died 25
January 1919, in Kentucky.
To quote from the William Powhatan Winfrey
autobiography: “My Winfree progenitors were refugees from France
after the St. Bartholomew Massacre of the Huguenots.” This French massacre
occurred in 1572. During the years following 1572, the French Huguenots were
steadily leaving France to seek permanent homes where they
could live their way of life in peace.
A variation of the statement above is found
in “The Winifree Family of Powhatan County, Virginia,”
as prepared by Misses Edna and Billy Whitlow. To quote: “The Winifree (note spelling) family were Huguenots who came to America
from France after the St. Bartholomew Massacre, 1572, and
settled in Powhatan County at Bartholomew Springs, Virginia. The first of the
names known to the contributor were John, William, and another brother. John
lived in Powhatan County, William in
Chesterfield County, and the unnamed
brother in Western Virginia.”
The uncertainty here is what persons are
included in the statement. “The Winifree family were Huguenots.” Does
“family” include all Winfree families in Virginia, just the parents and children of Powhatan’s familu, or
all in-line families back to Valentine Winfrey. Neither of the two statements
puts a year of beginning of the Huguenot ancestors. The Whitlow version states
that the John Winifree was a revolutionary soldier, so he probably was in Cumberland
County before his land became part of Powhatan
County in 1777.
In these Huguenot/Winfree uncertainties,
it needs to be clearly accepted as to whether we are tracking human nationality or are tracing family names. As a general practice in genealogy tracing, we follow the family names.
As in the present case, we are tracking the movement of families of the name of Winfree (with variations) from England
(we assume) to Virginia and then within America. However, there is a restriction. The
name Winfrey has to be attached to a Huguenot person. Actually, many of the searchers
neglect the name follow only the Huguenot persons. How can such persons fit into
the genealogical history of the Winfrey name when the name and history are French?
Any other named family or person is of no interest unless the other family names have an in-marriage connection. If a French Huguenot was named Winfrey, there would be no question, he would be included
in our genealogical family. But to date no such person has been identified. The French Huguenots have scattered to other countries under their French name or
a name to which they changed. No one has a record of a French Huguenot with a
Winfree name being in Virginia at any time.
William Powhatan Winfree does not identify
the Huguenots who are his progenitors of the Winfrees who claim to be descendants of the Huguenots. Powhatan’s statement could mean that all Winfrees descend from the Huguenots or that just his own
ancestors descend from the Huguenots, there are the questions of where and when the Huguenot persons came into the William
Powhatan Winfree genealogical line.
This collection of Winfrey genealogical information
was planned to include a Powhatan pedigree and his family groups leading backward in time to Valentine I. Winfree, who died
in Chesterfield, Virginia, in 1795. This Valentine I.
had two sons who have been mentioned as being in the Powhatan line. They are
Reuben and John. Reuben also had a son as a candidate for the Powhatan line.
My search for the genealogy of William Powhatan
Winfree encountered “facts” that were not facts, questionable statements, and the absence of information. Working on an acceptable statement was delaying the printing of this collection of
Winfrey information. This printed collection does not include the Powhatan data,
but the searching will continue.
I would be thankful to receive Powhatan Winfree
information from any readers who care to send me what they have.
Should a Huguenot woman marry a Winfree man,
the past history of the affected Winfree line would be unaltered. The future
years, however, would continue to be inclusive of the one generation French Huguenot entry under the Winfree name. Marriages of this type would not form a base acceptable for developing a genealogical line of French Huguenots.
Consider the Winfreys in Virginia
about the year 1700, when the Huguenots were settling in Virginia. By this year the Winfreys were already in Virginia, and they
were not Huguenots. No records have been found that indicate that the French
Huguenots entered Virginia at any year, before or after 1700, under the family
name of Winfree. Not finding any Huguenots with the Winfrey name entering Virginia
does not support Powhatan Winfrees progenitors of his family of Winfrees as refugees from France. However, marriages between English Winfreys and French Huguenots were found in the
records, 1700 forward over time.
The paper, “The Winifree Family of
Powhatan County, Virginia,” relates that John Winifree,
one of the three brothers (French Huguenots) who came into Powhatan County
was a Revolutionary War soldier. This John married Betsy Owens of Prince
The book, The Winfrey Family, by James C. Winfrey, describes on page 12 the one John Winfrey as a Revolutionary
War soldier from Powhatan County. The wife of this John was Elizabeth
who applied for a widow’s
pension. The records state this John Winfrey was the son of Valentine Winfree. Then this John Winfrey, by positive evidence, was the son of Valentine and born in Chesterfield County. Therefore, he cannot have been a Huguenot coming into Virginia. Also, this John had a brother William who no doubt lived in Chesterfield
County, and who was most likely a son of Valentine Winfree and not the William
as the Huguenot brother who came into Chesterfield County.
What is needed as a means of separating the
facts from the fiction as related to the French Huguenot/Winfrey family name is for those Winfreys who claim the Huguenot
ancestry to study all aspects involved and bring to light the whole story. The
genealogical viewpoint should prevail, since that is the area of interest and use of such information.
6. LAND OFFICE MILITARY WARRANT NO. 1684
AND JOHN WINFREY
This specific Warrant, No. 1684, has been
searched for by many searchers of Winfrey genealogy in the past ten years in Virginia
and Kentucky with no success. Finding
the warrant, or any land obtained by John Winphrey by use of the warrant, could be helpful in tracking John Winphrey or getting
clues as to the dates and places of his birth, marriage and travels. Now the
story unfolds and hunt ends with the final story about Warrant No. 1684.
At my request for another search for the
warrant, Mrs. Kandie Adkinson, of the Office of the Secretary of State for Kentucky
at Frankfort, brought together the full story of this warrant. We all owe her our thanks.
The original act set apart land for the officers
and soldiers of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1780, the lands set aside for these warrants became Kentucky
lands in the new state. The history Warrant No. 1684:
29 August 1783 Issued
to John Winphrey
? January 1784 Sold by John Winphrey to Alexander Petrie
?? Sold by A. Petrie to Walter Edward Strong
16 December 1793 Land*
granted to Walter Edward Strong
Note that prints of the front and back sides
of Warrant No. 1684 are presented. The original print and the write-in information
are difficult to read, partially because of the old colonial spelling. New typewritten
translations are separately printed here so that correct reading of the original is assured.
So far as is known, John Winphrey’s
handwriting has never been found by genealogical searchers. Therefore, this signature,
when he sold the warrant, becomes the only signature know to exist. A talented
person in graphic arts touched up the signature and produced an accurate version of the original, but clean of the dark markings.
It is important to note that the spelling
John used here, “Winphrey,” is the same as found in the 1800 Green County, Kentucky,
tax rolls for John, Sr., John, Jr., and Philip Winfrey. Henry in the same list
*Grant totaled 2,333.33
acres for 18 warrants. Located of this land was along the Big Barren River. This grant was later sold for nonpayment of taxes.
7. OTHER SUBJECTS
On the assumption that our early Winfrey-named
persons date back to England, to, say, 1500, many persons
expected that there would be found an historical coat of arms for the name Winfrey or a varied spelling. Search in England and Ireland
does not show any such coat of arms ever to have been registered. Here in the
United States, several outlets make up and sell coats of arms
for Winfrey. The practice is to make up the coat of arms according to acceptable
colors, shapes, and objects to fit what they think the name means. I have seen
three Winfrey coats of arms----all different. These coats of arms are original
designs coming out of their “back room workshop” here in the States and are the product of whatever the makers
schemed together. In general, these outlets are honest, but seem to avoid admitting
that they do not have, or know of, any historical coat of arms for the name “Winfrey.” The Turpin name, however, does have a registered coat of arms.
There are in Virginia
early records of its counties that are not available to the public because of their fragile paper. A program is underway to photocopy all county records, or otherwise provide public access to the records. In Chesterfield County,
the seat of much Winfrey history, there are hundreds of metal file boxes. They
are open to the public, but are not used because nothing is indexed by date, subject, or name.
There will be an explosion of Winfrey information when the contents of these boxes are arranged in an indexed system.
I have the national census for 1790 through
1850 for all states, completely listed for Winfrey and similar spellings. I refer
to it frequently.
When the number of Winfrey persons in our
population is compared to the total United States population,
one sees why the sources of genealogical data are so few. But the fact is that
for the period of 1607 to 1700, Virginia is the only source for Winfrey records. Papers written on the genealogical searches of Winfrey families are few and scattered. The book, The Winfrey Family, by James Clifton Winfrey, is the only one of
its kind. Here is a short description of the book and a statement of its availability.
THE WINFREY FAMILY
The Winfrey Family is a 414-page
hard-bound book published in May 1982. The author, James
Clifton Winfrey, of Littleton, Colorado,
met his untimely death the following July.
The Winfrey Family (often called
“The Red Book”) is excellent in every respect – physical makeup, genealogical factors,
reliability of information, and geographical coverage.
The Winfrey name in early England
is treated briefly, as is done also for the 1600’s in Virginia. The John Winfrey line in Virginia
is developed from the mid-1700’s to about 1785, when the John Winfrey family started moving
These Winfreys began their
move to Missouri about 1830. Many of the children,
though, remained in Kentucky.
The searching for the genealogical factors
of the early history of the Winfree-ee family name in Virginia and Kentucky
takes un into and through the era of the buildup of the counties and a form of civil government. At the beginning in Virginia, 1607, the land of this colony
extended west and north to cover what now is several other states. Kentucky
was wholly within Virginia until 1780.
In 1634, eight Virginia counties were established. By 1699, 15 more counties had been carved out of the original lands assigned to each of the original eight
counties. As new counties in both Virginia
and Kentucky continued to be formed, the county lands were subdivided a second,
third, fourth, . . . time. Some of the residents of a county, such as Henrico,
could find themselves having lived in Henrico, Goochland, Cumberland, and Powhatan
counties, yet never having moved from their original land location. Kentucky
was in Virginia when it was formed in 1780 as a state with three counties: Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln.
Winfreys are found over the years 1650 to
1825 in many counties. The following list includes the counties that were the
main areas of Winfrey families for both Virginia and Kentucky.
(Year Formed) Kentucky
King William 1701
The literature during the 1700’s contains references of
Winfrey persons moving into or from the state of Pennsylvania. Such references correctly probably should read Pittsylvania or Spotsylvania
VARIANT SPELLINGS OF THE FAMILY WINFREY/WINFREE
AS FOUND IN SOURCES OF GENEALOGICAL INFORMATION
for Years 1550 to 1700
01 Whinfrea 21 Winnifree
02 Whinfrey 22 Winphrey
03 Whinphrey 23 Wymfray
04 Wimpra 24 Wynfray
05 Wimprah 25 Wynfree
06 Wimprey 26 Wynfrey
Public and Private Documents in
North Carolina, and
for Years 1636 to 1850
01 Whinfrey 21 Winfrith
02 Wimbrey 22
03 Wimps 23 Winfryth
04 Wimpee 24
05 Wimphrey 25 Winifrett
06 Wimpie 26 Winifirey
07 Wimpy 27 Winifride
08 Wimpys 28
09 Windberrie 29 Winiphrey
10 Wimberry 30 Winneford
11 Wineford 31 Winney
12 Winford 32
13 Winefred 33 Winnifree
14 Winefry 34
15 Winfred 35
16 Winfree 36
17 Winfret 37 Winphrey
18 Winfrey 38
19 Winfrid 39 Wynfrid
20 Winfrie 40 Wynfryth
NOTES: Some names may be considered to be true variants and other names may just
be confused with Winfrey/Winfree. Winfield, Wingate, and Wingfield do not appear
to be confused with the Winfrey spellings; they are excluded. In both lists the spelling of “Winfrey”
is found far more frequently than the spelling “Winfree.”
The above lists should be considered as just illustrative of what may be found
in sources of genealogical information.
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