Researching the Descendants and Ancestors of the Weeping Time People

Brian Sheffey
May 7, 2021
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1m 45s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 16s
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5m 25s
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Research Overview
8m 33s
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Research Phases
5m 54s
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Phase 1
3m 59s
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The First Africans
9m 16s
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Butler Papers
10m 37s
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Missing Records
9m 14s
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Announcements / prizes
9m 17s
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Questions / answers
23m 34s

About this webinar

1859 bore witness to the largest single sale of human beings in the United States' history. 440 people were sold over a 3 day period by Pierce Mease Butler to settle his enormous debts. This presentation covers the process in researching the descendants of the 400 souls who were sold, as well as the descendants of the 400+ enslaved people Pierce Mease Butler did not sell. Collectively, this research project traces the ancestry of both groups of enslaved people further in time to connect them with their captured African ancestors who were brought to Charleston, South Carolina. The presentation covers creating a robust and flexible research strategy and the extensive international archives and repositories that have been used in the course of this research project.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Brian Sheffey is the founder and host of the popular online genealogy website and program Genealogy Adventures. Genealogy Adventures provides a mix of genealogy research
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    Extremely well organized with excellent syllabus and resources. I have been trying to break through the slave ship brickwall for years and the information provided today may help me advance in my research. thank you Brian and also Marian for hosting.

    A fascinating webinar and research

    A webinar exploring the slave ships and their records would be interesting…so we can explore the links between the owners/shipmates/DNA side of things.

    A wonderful presentation!!

    Always learning something new – Thank You

    Amazing presentation – very interesting hearing about the Middleton Family

    Amazing presentation, topic, and presenter. Thanks

    Amazing project. Thank you for sharing!

    appreciate all the sources that I can use in my research

    Awesome presenter was clear, organized

    Brian always offers excellent information & resources for aiding researching. Hope you have him back!

    Brian is always excellent!

    Brian is an excellent presenter. He gave me new ways to search and places to search for my ancestors. I am looking forward to any other webinars he has presented because he shares a lot of information and resources with the audience. Thanks, Brian for opening my eyes to more resources to search!!

    Each webinar tops the last one. Amazing research and sources.


    excellent presentation

    Excellent presentation and very informative.

    Excellent presentation on finding slaves

    Excellent presentation!!

    Excellent presentation.

    Excellent research and presentation.

    Excellent webinar! Great job Brian. Your presentation was informative, detailed, and clear. I loved the resources you shared as well as the style of your presentation. Thank you.

    Excellent Webinar. Please have the presenter back again.

    Excellent! Provided an excellent road map for research.

    Excellent! Thankful for his work and the webinar!



    Exceptional presentation…clear, concise, easy to follow…thank you

    Fabulous, Fabulous! ! Another one I hope comes back to update Brian Sheffley, outstanding work!

    Fantastic webinar documenting an aspect of slave history.


    Fascinating! Seems very helpful for those seeking information about their enslaved ancestors

    Great presentation with fascinating information!


    He was an excellent speaker. It was in inspirational webinar in showing what was possible.

    It was excellent information.

    Lots of good information, even for those of us who may not have a Butler connection. Because the movement of the Butler slaves corresponds with the movement of my ancestors it gives me something else to consider.

    loved it

    Offers many possibilities for new adventures. Cutting edge research!

    One of the best presentations to date with an extensive syllabus. Thanks for the resources and suggestions.

    Outstanding information and easy to understand.

    Presentation provided new resources and clear paths in researching.

    Pure excellence!

    Really fantastic, from moderator to speaker and everything in between. Thank you!

    Rich with information and insights! I wished for more time.

    Slides were fairly faint to see, but the information was astounding.

    So much great information and how to figure out connections. The time flew by. Excellent! Thank you.

    Super interesting webinar! Will share with some friends and fellow researchers!

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    Thank You so much! My slave/ owner research is now off and running! Excellent info

    Thanks for all the resource links!

    Thanks for inspiring discussion of how to be successful with a huuuuuge project. It deserves a book or two, doesn’t it?

    The webinar was great.

    This is very informative and I appreciate all the time and effort that went into it!

    This was like the framework for all the webinars on researching enslaved people I have been fortunate enough to attend. Even realizing there is still so much to discover, hearing Brian’s approach to research opened up my thinking about how to proceed, and exposed me to some new avenues for research. I am excited about the possibilities (and finally understand how to use kinship linkages work in my existing software!)

    This webinar gave so much information. Loved it!

    This webinar was very helpful as I was wondering how and who to research my ancestors enslavers.

    Thought provoking. Amazing research.

    touched my heart

    Very interesting. I’m not African American, but learned a lot. I have always read a lot about slavery, and hope Bryan can continue to open up new areas.

    Very good. Help me with more resources for my genealogy.

    very happy to hear early african american virginia settlers mentioned as I’ve just begun to try and trace my enslaved ancestors back to that region

    Very informative

    Very informative! Never know what you might find when you have a plan!

    Very informative.

    very interesting

    Very interesting

    Very interesting and verified some of my research approaches.

    Very interesting to hear about this research project and resources available.

    Very interesting, with lots of resource ideas and giving us a valuable new perspective

    Very interesting. I would have liked to learn more about his results (larger overview). I do think he and his partners’ research will assist those who have ancestry within this group of people. It’s pretty awesome.

    Very organized and informative. Thanks for sharing.

    Very well presented. A lot of things to consider, as I have ancestors from North Carolina and Virginia. Some of thier ancestors may have been in some of the groups in America that were sent to South Carolina.

    Very well done with a resourceful handout!

    Well structured and documented presentation

    What a wonderful speaker! Although this project doesn’t relate to my personal research, I am very interested in what is being done. There is SO much history that many of us know nothing about. Thank you for presenting this.

    Wow didn’t know about that subject! Will be investigating further.

    Wow! Excellent.


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