23andMe Connects Up with FamilySearch

23andMe has always been primarily a DNA health company. You can purchase either a DNA for ancestry only kit or a DNA kit that includes both ancestry and health information. Their focus has always been on health, with genealogists providing both revenue and the possibility of genealogists opting-in to 23andMe’s health information data gathering initiative.

23andMe was the first company to offer commercial autosomal tests that included cousin matching, so genealogists flocked to test there in the early days.

Unfortunately, 23andMe didn’t mature to include or support trees which are the hallmark of genealogy.

Beginning in 2016 with Family Tree DNA’s Phased Family Matching and followed in 2019 by Ancestry’s ThruLines and MyHeritage’s Theories of Family Relativity, all major vendors except 23andMe have both tree functionality in terms of support as well as additional tree-based advanced features to assist genealogists.

Recently, 23andMe announced a liaison with FamilySearch, although it’s not a tree but a list of ancestors reaching back 7 generations.

The Family Search Connection

The e-mail I received from 23andMe said the following:

Dear 23andMe Beta Tester,

You’re invited to test our new beta feature! If you have a FamilySearch® Family Tree, you can now upload information about your ancestors to 23andMe and display it to your DNA Relatives and connections.

With this beta feature, it’s now easier for your DNA Relatives to view your family tree information and find shared ancestors. You can also use a new filter to find DNA Relatives who have uploaded their own family tree information.

Learn more about FamilySearch and start exploring.


The 23andMe Team

23andMe does not share any of your personal information, including your genetic results, with FamilySearch.

FamilySearch International is a wholly owned nonprofit subsidiary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch is a registered 2019 trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc, and is used under license.

Yes, I am a beta tester, and you can be too.

About FamilySearch

I have used FamilySearch for years, but mostly for records.

Relative to trees, I find it quite confusing in terms of who can and cannot modify ancestor information and what happens to trees that non-church members upload as GEDCOM files.

FamilySearch is really one big shared world tree – meaning that everyone’s information is combined into one large “family.”

I’m not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I’m by no means an expert on how to use their software. Therefore, I don’t understand the inner workings of how (if) accuracy is determined,” who moderates disputes and their qualifications, and how changes are made. Furthermore, multiple questions about this topic have produced inconsistent answers.

It was my original understanding that one could never modify the main shared tree, but through this exercise, I’ve discovered that FamilySearch has made some significant changes and that is (apparently) no longer true.

This is great news, at least I think it is, unless several people wind up in a tug-of-war over a particular ancestor.

For this discussion, we are interested in the FamilySearch shared “big tree” and not in what happens with individual trees.

Ok, now that we’ve defined how FamilySearch works, at least in concept, let’s take a look at how to utilize the FamilySearch tree through 23andMe.

Enable Beta Testing

Sign into your account at 23andMe.

23andMe FamilySearch settings.png

Beside your name at the upper right hand side of your page, you’ll see a down arrow. Click on that arrow or on your name and a list of options, above, will appear.

Click on “Settings.”

Scroll down to preferences where you’ll see Beta Program.

23andMe beta.png

To join the Beta program, which is required for the FamilySearch functionality at this time, click on the magenta “Become a tester” button.

Next, you’ll need to connect your 23andMe profile to your tree, either at FamilySearch or another public tree.

Scroll back up to the “Personal Information” section, and look for the Enhanced Profile section, below.

23andMe enhanced profile.png

Click on “Edit enhanced profile.”

23andMe share a link.png

Then select “Share a link to your online family tree” and click there. You’ll see the information, below.

23andMe FamilySearch online tree.png

At this point you have two options. You can click to add the FamilySearch information which they refer to as a tree, or you can enter a link to another supported tree in the area below. As you can see, that’s what I chose to do. You can also do both.

Supported trees are:

23andme supported trees.png

I believe they’ve forgotten to mention Family Tree DNA who also provides a link to share a tree that you might have created or uploaded there.

However, for this exercise, we’re going to click on the “Add FamilySearch” link.

If you already have a FamilySearch account and have constructed a tree at FamilySearch, you’ll click on the blue box to be directed to sign in.

23andMe FamilySearch signin.png

Creating an Account and Building a Tree

If you haven’t built or uploaded a GEDCOM file to FamilySearch, you’ll be directed to build a tree which consists of adding enough people, beginning with you, until FamilySearch can discover someone already in their shared big tree. Your grandparents might be there, for example.

Once FamilySearch recognizes someone that you enter as being already in their tree, and you confirm that it’s the same person, FamilySearch simply adds your line to the existing big shared tree – whether those ancestors further back are right or wrong. That’s the ying and yang of shared trees.

I’m not a huge fan of shared trees, but FamilySearch has implemented a very nice hints system and allows you to make modifications, so even if you’re not thrilled either, don’t write this option off without an evaluation. They are working to make their tools more accommodating and less cast in stone.

Here’s what you see at FamilySearch.

23andMe FamilySearch getting started.png

Beneath this page, you’ll be stepped through creating an account.

If You Have an Account

In my case, I have an account and a tree, so I click on the large blue box that says “Add your FamilySearch tree” which takes me to the FamilySearch sign-in page.

After signing in, you’ll see something similar to the following:

23andMe FamilySearch ancestor list.png

Note that if you’ve made corrections or changes at FamilySearch, you can upload a new version of this information by clicking on the blue “upload your new tree” link above the ancestors.

Based on my tree, I’m showing 4 grandparents, 8, great-grandparents, and so forth based on the shared FamilySearch tree, which is not necessarily the same as the GEDCOM file I uploaded. Don’t assume that it is.

Clicking the down arrow displays the various people in that category.

I strongly suggest checking these lineages well before you leave the FamilySearch tree connected to your 23andMe account.

These ancestors are connected in your 23andMe account at this point. Remember, your tree is not your own – but a combination of your twig connected to and interwoven with the larger shared tree which has been built using other users’ trees and input.

Click on the down arrows to display the ancestors gathered from the FamilySearch tree on your behalf.

23andme FamilySearch ancestors.png

In my case, the first, second and third generations are pretty much fine, needing only minor tweeking, like birth locations added. The people themselves are accurate.

In the fourth generation, we have some issues that can be easily fixed, like a misspelled name and missing birth and death information.

23andMe FamilySearch checking for issues.png

By clicking on the specific ancestor, you can view that ancestor’s information, but to actually modify that information, you’ll need to sign into your account through the regular FamilySearch page, not the 23andMe interface. We’ll cover how to make FamilySearch modifications after we finish the instructions for how to connect the FamilySearch tree to your 23andMe account.

By scrolling down to the bottom, beneath your ancestors, you’ll notice two options.

23andMe FamilySearch options.png

You can either remove this list of ancestors from your tree, or go to DNA Relatives at 23andMe. If you don’t remove the list of ancestors, exactly what you saw, above, is what your matches will see too.

After you fix issues with the FamilySearch tree, you will need to reupload by reinitiating this process in your Enhanced Profile, because the link to 23andMe is not live. Changes are not automatically reflected.

If you leave the FamilySearch list at 23andMe, be aware that you can also link to another tree as well. You don’t have to pick one or the other.

My 23andMe Choice

After taking a look at the FamilySearch shared tree, I quickly decided that until I am able to devote some significant time working on the tree at FamilySearch, I’m entering the link to my Ancestry, MyHeritage or Family Tree DNA tree – all 3 of which I control entirely meaning that they are not mixed with or predicated upon anyone else’s trees.

In the FamilySearch tree, I can find and replace incorrect ancestors through the 3th great-grandparents level pretty easily, assuming they stay that way and no one “recorrects” them. There are fewer descendants, so fewer cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. The information is newer in time, and therefore more likely to be accurate.

What I can’t do very well though, is to resolve several issues at the 4th and 5th great-grandparent level in the FamilySearch tree. By resolve, I mean that I’m not going to make changes unless I’m sure of the information I’m entering.

My issues that I really don’t know how to resolve are:

  • One speculative couple with no documentation. It could be right, or wrong but I can’t readily tell without more research. I have never seen anything to suggest that the information is accurate and was surprised to see these people connected as parents – but I also can’t prove it wrong because I haven’t worked on the problem.
  • A very convoluted mess wherein one ancestral couple, Gideon Farris (Faires) and Sarah McSpadden, is shown with daughter Anne Farris marrying Charles Beckworth Speak. That’s incorrect because although we don’t know Charles’ wife’s name, he was married in Maryland and the Faires family was in Virginia at that time. However, their daughter Sarah Faires did marry Charles Speak’s son, Nicholas Speak. This tree “fix” would not be quick or easy, I’m afraid, as there’s a lot of unraveling to be done.
  • An incorrect set of parents. This I could resolve by removing the parents, but I’m hesitant to do so without additional research. At this point, it doesn’t matter, because unless I can fix the issues above, I don’t want this list showing to matches as my ancestors. That’s exactly how misinformation spreads.
  • Several speculative wives for multiple ancestors which have been circulating without documentation online for years, including some that have been disproven. Sigh.
  • My Dutch lines are a mess. I’m not sure if it’s incorrect information, or someone entirely unfamiliar with the Dutch language and records. In any case, one error leads to wrong parents in the next generation in several places – and yes – I’m sure because I’m working with Yvette Hoitink, a top-notch Dutch genealogist in the Netherlands and I have the original records.

Fixing Issues at FamilySearch

However, I would like to take advantage of the FamilySearch option as soon as I get my ancestors straightened out there, so let’s step through the process of fixing issues. You may become inspired to work on your ancestors at FamilySearch too. You’ll be helping others as well.

You might be asking why you might want to fix FamilySearch if you’re going to link to your own tree.

My personal goal is to, hopefully, leave this earth with my ancestors correctly recorded and connected – be it in my own tree or large public trees.

At FamilySearch, sign in and click on Family Tree.

FamilySearch tree.png

You’ll see your ancestors, with you as the home person after you’ve set up your account and connected yourself.

I have no idea where the photo of me came from, but I assure you that I’m replacing it! You may find photos of family members at FamilySearch that you didn’t know about.

By clicking on any person’s name, you open their profile and you can then see information items available for you to edit.

FamilySearch edit.png

For example, here’s my father, with Detail View enabled which shows sources of changes. Hmm, I wonder who Robert Lewis is. Who would be entering my father’s information?

I can click to send Robert a message, or I can click on the Edit box to make changes, or both.

I can scroll on down to view my father’s family information including spouses, children, parents and siblings. I have some work to do here, but at least I can now that FamilySearch has enabled editing.

You can do the same for each ancestor, including replacing one or both parents, or simply removing your ancestor as the child of the couple.

Be sure to read carefully while you’re getting to know the software. It’s easy to make editing mistakes and remove a mother from all the children, for example, instead of just from your ancestor.

Of course, you can always add her back, but slow and careful is always best.

Filter Results by FamilySearch Information

Back at 23andMe, you can filter your DNA Relatives matches by people who have uploaded FamilySearch results.

23andMe DNA Relatives.png

Look at the bottom of the list of filters on the left side of your matches.

23andMe FamilySearch filter.png

Checking the box shows only people with the FamilySearch connection, but you can see that none of my matches have done this, so my number is a big fat zero.

What you cannot see here is if your matches have linked to other trees or have entered their family surnames which can be quite useful too. I wish we could filter on those features.

Two More Quick Tips!

Whether or not you utilize the FamilySearch connection to 23andMe, please, PLEASE connect some tree to your 23andMe account.

Adding surnames and linking a tree benefits everyone, because 23andMe displays this information when you click on your matches.

Please add your family surnames under the Family Background section of your settings, shown below. No, this does NOT integrate with FamilySearch or any other tree – so you need to do it manually.

23andMe Family surnames.png

23andMe displays both you and your matches locations and surnames side-by-side along with tree links when you click on any match, shown below.

23andMe Family background.png

I didn’t recognize my cousin, Patricia’s surnames, nor her name because she only used an initial for a surname, but when I clicked on her Ancestry tree, I immediately recognized our common ancestors, my great-grandparents.

Identifying our common ancestors with matches makes tools like shared matches much more useful.

Shared matches with Patricia show other people who we both match, AND, at 23andMe, if we share a DNA segment in common, indicated by the “yes” below. Assuming those matches are not identical by chance, knowing that someone matches both me and Patricia suggests that we share a common ancestor. In fact, I share 98 relatives in common with Patricia.

23andMe Relatives in common shared DNA.png

The “Yes” under shared DNA means that Patricia and that person and I share some common segment of DNA, inherited from our common ancestor.

Furthermore, by utilizing the chromosome browser, we can confirm that we share the same triangulated segments of DNA with other descendants of that same couple, which further strengthens the connections, adding to the genealogical DNA evidence needed to confirm ancestors.

23andMe X matches.png

Wow, look, 4 of these people share a substantial piece of the X chromosome with me and Patricia (burgundy, on top). The X chromosome, has a unique inheritance path. This X match immediately narrows the potential ancestors.

23andMe X pedigree.png

I know that Curtis Lore didn’t receive an X chromosome from his father, because he received a Y chromosome which made him a male, so these people have to be related through Rachel Levina Hill or her ancestors. Rachel’s X chromosome descended from the pink or blue ancestors. Viewing matches’ trees (if they have them) might well indicate which of these ancestors provided Rachel’s, which is that segment of my X chromosome.

What a lucky break and how exciting to know I carry something tangible from these people!

You can’t do this without trees or family information and you can’t do it without a chromosome browser. In this case, 1+1=goldmine. So connect up one way or another and have fun!



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Genealogy Research

Mary Rice (c 1723 – c 1778/81), Are You Really Your Sister? – 52 Ancestors #251

Dearest Great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Mary,

I’d wager that you were born in Hanover County, Virginia given that Amelia County hadn’t been settled yet when you were born. In fact, there wasn’t much out there even a few years later, in 1751 when the Fry-Jefferson map was drawn. Most of the settlement was along the James and other major rivers. Amelia was the hinterlands!

Mary Rice Amelia in 1751.png

You were probably a late teen or even in your early 20s when your family lumbered along in the wagon, moving the homestead, all the family and probably several animals to what was then the frontier on the slow-flowing emerald green waters of the Sandy River in Amelia County.

You said goodbye to most everything that was familiar, but some of the neighbors and at least a few family members made that same journey to the new frontier.

That must have been some trip!

Bang – crash! Another hole in the trail, carved by the line of wagons moving westward. Another rut. Another broken wagon wheel.

What an adventure!

Your uncle, Matthew Rice, had purchased land and probably lived in Amelia County since 1741, but your father, Joseph didn’t purchase land until 1746. Maybe he wanted to see how Matthew did living past the edge of civilization. Maybe Matthew’s letters back home talked about cheap land and opportunity.

Your father was last mentioned in a merchant’s account book in 1743 and again in 1744-45. It’s possible that you and James Moore were courting or married about this time.

Of course, it’s also possible that you met young James and were smitten after you both arrived in Amelia County.

Your family could have lived with your uncle Matthew for awhile until your Dad decided which land to purchase. Or, your family could have been “sizing up” the land for farmability by living there.

In any case, in 1746, your Dad, Joseph Rice, put down roots in Amelia County and he would never move again.

I think your first son, James, named after your husband of course, was born about 1746. It could have been a little later, but not a lot later based on the fact that in 1767, your son James was listed on the poll tax list with your husband. That means young James was at least 16 years of age. Sometimes the age was “misremembered” to avoid taxes for an extra year or two, so James could have been as old as 20 or 21 that year instead of 16. If James actually was 16, then he would have been born in 1750 or 1751.

Your next two oldest children, Lydia and William Moore were born about this time as well – probably before or right near 1750.

We know you had a child as late as 1767 and may have had two more children after that.

Based on these brackets, your birth year was probably about 1723, give or take a year or two in either direction. I’d say we’d be safe saying 1720-1725.

Given that “you” signed a deed relinquishing your dower right in property sold in 1778, but not in property sold in 1781 and later, you probably died about that time. Your youngest children wouldn’t have yet been adults.

I wonder what happened.

But more than anything, I wonder who you were.

Ironically, we know who your father was, but we don’t really know who you were.

In fact, you might just have been your sister.

You, of course, know the answer to this puzzle, but we’re quite confused.

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Your father, Joseph Rice died in 1766 and wrote his will on December 14, a few days before Christmas in the winter of 1765. That must have been a terrible Christmas, knowing his death was imminent.

He clearly knew his days were numbered, because at that time, men didn’t write a will until they felt it was necessary. His will was probated on June 16, 1766, about 6 months later, so he was probably in declining health for the last several months of his 66 years on this earth.

In his will, he left 100 acres to your husband, James Moore, stating that James is his son-in-law.

Thank you Joseph! All’s well.

Your Dad then left land to your brothers, all 5 of them.

Still all good.

But then your Dad says a really confounding thing.

“To my well beloved daughter Mary Rice one feather bed and furniture and one cow and calf.”

What the heck?

Your name is NOT Mary Rice. At least not in 1766. The wife of James Moore, if named Mary, would be Mary Moore, not Rice.

So, is your name something else, and your sister, Mary Rice was unmarried in 1766? That’s certainly what Joseph Rice’s will strongly suggests.

Your Dad wrote this will 6 months before he died, so it’s not like he was literally on his death bed. He wasn’t.

There are NO records of you in Prince Edward County – not a single one. When you and James sold land, you never signed to release your dower right.

Furthermore, there is no record of you and James Moore selling the 100 acres that your father left James, nor the other 36 acres you and James owned.

If you had released your dower rights in the land James sold before your father’s will, and James’s wife’s name was Mary before your Dad died, then we’d have the answer to the question.

But we don’t.

Then why do we think your name was Mary Rice, or better stated, why have genealogists assigned Mary Rice as the wife of James Moore? The answer to that lies in Halifax County, Virginia.


By 1770, James Moore and some wife had moved to Halifax County where he proceeded to buy land. Lots of it.

In 1774, James sold land twice, and again in 1778 and Mary Moore, his wife, relinquished her dower rights. However, in 1781 when James sold land, there was no Mary, nor does she ever appear in records again.

The only wife’s name we have for James is Mary.

And of course Joseph Rice left one feather bed, furniture along with a cow and calf to daughter Mary Rice in 1766, not Mary Moore.

So, here’s the question.

We know for sure that James Moore’s wife was the daughter of Joseph Rice. There’s no doubt about that because I and some of your other descendants match descendants of your siblings and Joseph Rice states such in his will.

So, are you really Mary Rice and your father was having a senior moment when he wrote his will and didn’t refer to you by your married name? I don’t think so, because by leaving you property without your husband implies that he didn’t approve of your husband and that clearly was not the case because he left James Moore 100 acres of land.

Were you dead already by the time your father died? I don’t think that’s the case either because your father would have left the land to your children and a guardian would have been appointed for them as your heirs. That didn’t happen either.

So, you were apparently alive in December of 1765, and probably in June of 1766.

James Moore, along with your oldest son, James, was on the tax list in Prince Edward County in 1767 – so you had been married to James a minimum of 15 years by 1765.

Your family was in Halifax County by 1770.

But the question is, were you with them?

Were you still alive in 1774, 8 years later when Mary Moore signed as James Moore’s wife?

If you were, then maybe your father really was having a senior moment and your name really is Mary Rice Moore.

If you died, before 1774, was your death part of the reason that your heartbroken husband picked up and left Prince Edward County between 1767 and 1770?

Could be.

If so, your death was between December of 1765 and 1774 instead of between 1778 and 1781 when Mary Moore disappears from the Halifax .

Which means, you might not be buried in Halifax County, but someplace in Prince Edward County – likely in the same location as your father. In a little cemetery on his land now long forgotten..

Did your husband have the very bad judgement to marry a second wife named Mary with the full intention of massively confusing your descendants some 250 years later?

Why didn’t you make James register those deeds when you two sold the land in Prince Edward County? Why didn’t you release your dower rights? You folks owned 3 separate parcels. That’s three chances I had to discover your name – but no!

And oh, another question too.

Why didn’t you and James name any children Joseph? Or Rachel? Or wasn’t Rachel your mother?

Or, did you have those children and they died? There are several unexplained multi-year gaps between your children that silently whisper of death.

You also didn’t name any of your children John, Charles or David after your brothers? You did name a daughter Mary and a son William, but then again, William Moore in Prince Edward County was probably your brother-in-law and if Mary wasn’t your name, then your named your daughter after your sister, Mary.

Is the Mary who was married to James Moore in Halifax County your sister, Mary Rice? Did James Moore marry your sister after both your father and then you died?

Am I way out on a limb here?

Why the heck were there no marriage documents filed? Oh, yea, that’s right, you were dissenters.

OK, since we can’t tell for sure who you are, aside from being Joseph Rice’s daughter, let’s at least look at where you and your family lived in Prince Edward County after it separated from Amelia.

That much we can do!

The Lay of the Land

Did you know that a century after you left this land that just a mile down the road, in what is now the Sailor’s Creek State Park, the decisive battle of the Civil War took place? Of course, the battle, more of a massacre actually, raged all over that area, including on your land.

I know that you and James Moore didn’t own slaves, and neither did your father – so you might have been pleased that your land was involved in the battle that swung the victory for the north, resulting in freeing the slaves.

Sadly, almost 8000 men died that April 6th, 1865 when half of Lee’s Army was either killed or captured. You can read more about that here, here and here. Were you watching from the great beyond that day?

I know you thought I never would, but I found your land using DeedMapper.

Let’s start with the land you and James Moore owned before your father died.

Mary Rice Sailor Creek land.png

Look Mary, there it is, outlined in purple. It might not be positioned perfectly, but it’s close. You and James owned the upper part of the purple square which was originally Abraham Womack’s land. William Womack was your neighbor too.

Your Dad, Joseph Rice’s land is shown with the green arrow, and the village of Rice today, Rice’s Depot in the 1800s and Rice’s Station during the Civil War is located where the purple arrow points.

Right beside your Dad’s land is Samuel Goode’s land. Somehow Samuel descends from John Goode and Frances Mackerness. I think they might have been his grandparents. In any case, the Mackness first name in Virginia is tied to this family and the Rowlett family. John Rowlett born about 1705 in Henrico County is reported to have been married to Elizabeth Goode, although I have never seen any documentation for that and don’t know if it’s supposition based on the fact that John Rowlett named a son who was born in Prince Edward County, Mackness. John Rowlett’s father, William was married to Frances Worsham. Of course, those Henrico families all moved to the part of Amelia County that became Prince Edward.

Did I mention to you that our DNA strongly suggests that we are relate to the Womack family? Would you mind telling me how?

By the time these families arrived in Amelia County in the 1740s, they had been intermarrying for 4 or 5 generations. Lord help us ever straighten this out! Maybe you can assist.

Samuel Goode sold his land to Charles Rice, your brother, in 1761. Your son, Mackness Moore was born in 1765 or earlier. I know there’s a connection. There has to be. What is it?

Is this family somehow connected to your parents or your husband’s parents? How?

By the way, who were your husband’s parents?

Who was your mother?

And were you actually your sister?

I need answers, Mary!


I found your brother-in-law’s land too – or at least I think William Moore is your husband’s brother.

Mary Rice William Moore land.png

In 1752 William Craddock sold this 148 acre tract outlined in purple to William Moore who lived not far from your father (upper left) and adjacent your uncle, Matthew Rice whose land also abutted yours. Your own land is noted upper right with Womack. Everyone lived in close proximity and lent helping hands whenever necessary.

Not only that, another common bond was probably that you were all dissenters – meaning not members of the Anglican church. Your uncle David Rice’s son, the Reverend David Rice, was a Presbyterian minister known as the “Apostle of Kentucky” and your own father built a dissenting meeting house on his property in 1759.

By the time your father died in 1766 and you moved to Halifax County by 1770, your brother-in-law, William Moore, was getting up there in years. William’s son, William Jr. came of age in about 1762, according to the tax list, so William Sr. appears to be older than James Sr. In 1774, William Moore and his wife Margaret sold part of his land to Thomas Vaughan and by 1782, William disappeared from the tax lists. In 1784, he sold more land, except 13 acres. I’d say that William moved on or died about this time. You wouldn’t have heard about this in Halifax County until a letter could have arrived.

You and James must have been close to your brother-in-law William, because you named your eldest son James and your second son, William. Since William was older than James, this makes me wonder if their father’s name was also William.

The Old Neighborhood

The family names of those old patents and deeds on the map look so warmly familiar don’t they? There’s the Certain land and the Richee land too. They weren’t just names to you – you knew these people and were probably related to many.

The Spradling land is just east of the Certain land. These families moved to Halifax County when you and James Moore packed up and left. In Halifax County, James Moore bought his land from James Spradling and another James Spradling lived with you for 2 years in 1774 and 1775 before he enlisted to serve in the Revolutionary War. There’s surely a family connection someplace.

And look, the green arrows below approximate your father’s land. Of course, your Dad owned more than this. Eventually he bought the Atwood land above his original land too.

Mary Rice Joseph Rice land.png

Here’s the approximate land on Google maps today.

Mary Rice Joseph Rice aerial.png

I think, based on the Civil War map that the mill branch was just about where the red star is placed. Did you and James own a mill? Is that why you never sold the last 36 acres of that land?

Mary Rice Sailor Creek aerial.png

Here’s the land you and James owned.

Mary Rice Sailor Creek map.png

Looks pretty boring here, but if you look at the Civil War map, you can see the mill and the millpond.

Mary Rice Civil War map.png

You can even see the subtle roads from the mill going north and south. Those roads aren’t visible today, but the Mill Branch is mentioned in the 1760 deed where you sold 75 acres to Noel Waddill on Sailor’s Creek, part of the tract that you and James purchased from Abraham Womack, bounded by Ryan, Matthew Rice, and the Mill Branch.

Sailor’s Creek old road is mentioned too in the tax descriptions. In fact, the 1759 description says that your land is between Ligon’s Rolling Road, Sailor’s Creek Old Road, Sailor’s Creek and Sandy River.

James was clearing land in 1745 with the Ligon men who owned land on the south and west of your father. In fact, your Dad’s land abutted theirs.

Mary Rice Joseph Rice 1746.png

It’s ironic that there are two cemeteries on your Dad’s land today. Of course, 100 acres of this 400 would become yours. We just don’t know which hundred.

One cemetery is located at the Pisgah Baptist Church and another on the west side of the property, on Highway 460, in green. That cemetery looks to be new, but I wonder about the history of the Pisgah Baptist Church Cemetery. Is that your original family cemetery where your Mom and Dad are buried? It looks too perfectly square, but you never know. I wonder where the dissenting meeting house was located that your Dad built in 1759. I’d wager the cemetery is someplace close to that.

Mary Rice Pisgah cemetery.png

Now that I think of it, if you died in Prince Edward County, you’re probably buried someplace on this land as well.

Your Dad left one fourth of this land to you and James, although we don’t really know which fourth other than it was not the eastern portion that William inherited.

Your brothers, John, William and Charles owned the other 300 acres and your mother lived there, probably with Charles, judging from the way the will is constructed. On the other hand, in 1767, John is listed as living with Rachel Rice – probably because he was underage but 16 or over, so taxable.

On the Civil War map, we can see several houses on your dad’s land.

Mary Rice houses.png

I’d wager that your father’s house was at Rice’s Station, in the present-day village of Rice. That makes sense since he built a church here. A nice crossroads would have delivered travelers perhaps for a bit of a business. This was the main road at the time.

Did you and James live in one of those houses too? I’d bet that you did. We know your brother inherited the east part of the land, and your other brother’s land abutted yours. I’d almost bet that you had the north portion.

Mary Rice Rice's Station.png

The Battle of Rice’s Station took place here the same morning as the infamous Battle of Saylor’s Creek.

Mary Rice Battle Rice's Station.jpg

This map shows the battlefield area, right where your family lived – exactly 100 years earlier.


A few years ago, I visited Rice, quite by accident actually. I remember at the time thinking that this was somehow significant. Too much to be happenstance. I didn’t really realize just how significant at the time, or that I was literally on Joseph Rice’s land.

I guess he summoned me home.

Actually it wasn’t just Joseph’s, but also yours and James’ land.

Let’s drive along the old Rolling Road headed north out of Rice.

Rolling Road

This looks like it could well be the old Ligon Rolling Road referred to in the deed – in fact, the locals told me it was called the Rolling Road. I thought it was named that because of the rolling hills, but it was because these roads were used to roll tobacco hogsheads, or casks, to the docks for shipping downriver.

Mary Rice Rolling Road house.jpg

This very old building was being restored. The owners told me that it dated from before the Revolution. This is on the property that would either have been Joseph Rice’s or just north of his land.

Mary Rice Rolling Road house 2.jpg

Did you or a family member live here? You surely would have been familiar with this house and probably visited. Maybe another family member lived here, because it appears that the Rice and Moore families owned this entire region.

Mary Rice Rolling Road outbuildings.jpg

The outbuilding.

Mary Rice fields

Looking across the fields.

Mary Rice old building.jpg

This old building is or was at the Rice crossroads with Prince Edward Highway. It was pretty dilapidated years ago and appears to be gone today. It wouldn’t have existed in the 1700s, but I had to wonder about the history of this structure.

Unfortunately, Google Street View doesn’t include any of the roads in this area except for what is today Prince Edward Highway. Ironically, the road then would have been dirt and much smaller, but it too was probably the equivalent of a colonial highway – bring people into and out of Prince Edward County.

Today, Prince Edward Highway circumvents the sleepy village of Rice, which is probably the manifestation of Joseph Rice’s plantation.

Google maps shows Rice to be above the highway, but it isn’t. The center of Rice is the location of the old depot, near the Post Office today. At upper right, Saylor’s Creek Road reaches towards your old homestead. You and James would have traveled this road, now named Gully Tavern Road, many, many times to visit your parents and attend church on your father’s property. Of course, except when you were in “child bed.”

Mary Rice Rice.png

It’s about two and a half miles distant using today’s Gully Tavern Road, County Road 619.

Mary Rice Sailor Creek road.png

Today Gully Tavern Road just looks like typical farm country.

Mary Rice Gully Tavern Road.png

Here’s the old split, with Saylor’s Creek Road, now Gully Tavern, to the right. You probably knew this well, as did your horses.

Mary Rice road split.png

Did you marry at your father’s house, taking this road to your new home as a bride?

On down Sailor’s Creek Road, it looks like the old mill branch and pond would have been here, with the mill too of course, but nothing remains today. Was this where your house was located before you and James lived on your father’s land?

Mary Rice Mill pond.png

Looks like current Sunshine Lane might have been the old road, or near to it, with the mill pond below.

Mary Rice Sunshine Lane.png

We know that by the time your father died, in 1766, you and James lived on his land because in his will, he said, “To my son-in-law James Moore 100 acres land whereon he now lives to be divided from the tract I live on by a line that was run by Robert Farguson to him and his heirs forever.”

Today, the road out of Rice, leading away from your father’s land, down Saylor Creek Road looks like this, punctuated by the ever-present Dollar General store.

Mary Rice intersection.png

The road to the left leads right onto the plantation from the east, but of course, that’s gone today.

Mary Rice road Prince Edward highway.png

Driving west across your Dad’s land.

Mary Rice highway 2.png

Not widely cleared today.

Mary Rice Highway 3.png

The old road into Rice on the left. Of course, this “new road” we’re driving on didn’t exist then.

Mary Rice highway 4.png

The old train track is now a hiking trail. It’s probably thanks to the railroad going through Rice that the name was preserved.

Mary Rice highway 5.png

A typical Virginia byway. I wonder, was this more cleared when you lived here, or has this really never been entirely cleared?

Mary Rice highway aerial.png

The Exxon Station today marks the old road as well.

Mary Rice Exxon station.png

I guess you’ll have to think of this as our current livery stable for our gasoline horses.

Mary Rice highway 6.png

To the west, there’s some cleared land peeking through, but it doesn’t look like this was very great farm land. It’s hilly, swampy and wooded. Maybe that’s why you chose to leave for Halifax County after your father died. I’d bet your Mom died shortly thereafter.

This must have been a very sad time for you, especially if you also buried children named Joseph and Rachel. Somehow, I’m guessing that you did.

Mary Rice Trinity Gardens.png

Towards the western edge of your Dad’s land, today, we find the Trinity Memorial Gardens. Of course, when you lived on this land, there was a cemetery someplace too. Today, your family cemetery is lost to time.

You probably went back to the family cemetery one last time, visiting the graves of your parents and perhaps those of some of your babies as well, before leaving that final time for Halifax County. You would have been about 47 years old then.

There weren’t gravestones except for field stones, but you didn’t need stones with names. Who could ever forget where their parents are buried.

Once gone, you probably never went back. What today is a day trip in a car was a week’s journey, one way, for you, over badly rutted roads – if you can even call them that.

Nope, the ticket to Halifax County was one way.

Halifax County

By far, the largest portion of your life was spent in Prince Edward County. In fact, I wonder whatever possessed you to leave.

What happened after your father’s death?

Did you make it to Halifax County?

Did your husband marry your sister, Mary Rice?

Or are you Mary Rice?

If not, what was your first name?

If you made it to Halifax County, the landscape wouldn’t have looked a lot different, with the exception that the hills seem to be steeper and you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. It’s not too far until you begin to climb upward in the foothills. Some would consider these ridges the foothills.

This is your land in Halifax County, although it was probably much more wooded then, at least until James Moore and your sons cleared it.

Mary Rice Halifax Blue Ridge.jpg

As you can see, it’s very hilly. In fact, a place on the main road just northwest of your land is called “Top of the World” because you can see straight to the Peaks of Otter some 50 miles away.

Those mountains in the distance aren’t good farming area, so you wouldn’t have wanted to move that far west. Although several of your children would do just that.

They crossed those mountains to the next frontier of Tennessee. They too had a one-way ticket, but I don’t think any of them left until after you passed away. You didn’t have to wave goodbye to them as the horses strained to start the heavy wagon on it’s journey.

It seems that the Womack family once again preceded you to the ever westward-shifting frontier – this time in Halifax County. In fact, you and James bought land in Halifax County from James Spradling in 1770, but he had obtained the land patent from Isham Womack. Of course, both men were Prince Edward County neighbors.

It seems that a subset of the Amelia and Prince Edward families moved together – and kept moving together.

They probably all attended the dissenting church on Joseph Rice’s property. Maybe these are the neighbors who constructed the old Moore Meeting House where your son William would begin preaching in Halifax County before 1775.

Your son, the Reverend William Moore must have made you proud, because he became a Methodist minister, as did your son Rice Moore. Even your daughters were known as incredible exhorters in Hawkins County, Tennessee.

I wonder if the process of changing dissenting religions, probably Presbyterian in Prince Edward County to Methodist in Halifax was smooth or fraught with heartache. Could this be part of the reason why your family along with a few others moved away?

I sure wish I had answers Mary.

I am going to leave you here, in the peaceful Henderson Cemetery that almost no one knows about, located on your original land in Halifax County.

Mary Rice Halifax cemetery.jpg

Of course, the Mary Moore buried here by James Moore in an unmarked grave might not be you. Or maybe it is.

Was your grave the first one dug in this cemetery as your family gathered ’round?

Are you the Mary Moore that was married to James Moore when he lived here?

Are you Mary Rice Moore?

Or are you really Mary Rice’s sister whose name we don’t know?

Mary Rice Moore’s Daughters

Whatever your actual name, I’m calling you Mary Rice.

That’s what all of the family trees say, and it’s entirely possible that Mary Rice indeed was married to James Moore as his only wife. It’s a given that James Moore’s first wife was Joseph Rice’s daughter. It’s also entirely possible that James just happened to marry a woman named Mary as his second wife.

Given that Joseph Rice could have told us the name of James Moore’s wife that was his daughter, the joke’s on us these 253 years later because all we can do now is to speculate. There’s no way to ever confirm either way, short of finding a long-lost letter or Bible. Regardless of what James Moore’s Rice wife’s first name was, she was a daughter of Joseph Rice – that’s much is for sure. So the older genealogy is intact either way.

Some people have wondered if Joseph Rice’s wife at his death, Rachel was his first or second wife, and that perhaps both of his wives named a daughter Mary. It sounds improbable, but it wouldn’t be the first time that two children had the same name from two different wives.

One way or another, for genealogy, it really doesn’t matter because James Moore’s wife’s parents were the same regardless of whether she was Mary Rice or her sister.

Mary Rice Moore’s Mitochondrial DNA

I’d love to be able to document the mitochondrial DNA line of James Moore’s wife, referred to as Mary Rice Moore.

Her mitochondrial DNA would have been passed through her daughters to the current generation, if any descendants matching that description exist.

  • Lydia Moore, wife of Edward Henderson, is almost unquestionably a Moore and was born about 1762. Edward Henderson has a lifelong relationship with the Moore family and owns land which is sold to him by James and abuts both James and William Moore’s land. Edward and Lydia named a child Rice Henderson. Daughters were named:
    • Sally (1796-1870) married William Shelton and had daughters Elizabeth Shelton (1822-1900), Frances Fuqua Shelton (1829-1901) and Jemima Ruth Shelton (1837-?)
    • Peggy (c1786-1840) married Thomas Clark
    • Oney (c1782-after 1860) married William Frederick Ferrell and had daughters Emilia Mildred Ferrell born in 1815, Margaret Ferrell born in 1820 and Susan Jane Ferrell born in 1822
    • Mary (c1804-?) marred William Clark
  • Sally (Sarah) Moore was born about 1767 and married Martin Stubblefield in October 1788 with James Rice as surety. This family migrated to Grainger Co., TN, naming their daughters:
    • Nancy Stubblefield (1794-1836) married James Lebow
    • Rebecca Stubblefield (1798-1862) married Abel Wilson
    • Mary Stubblefield (1806-1888) married Henry Countz (Counts)
    • Elizabeth Ann (1807-1885) married William Chaen (Chain) Jr.
  • Mary Moore, probably born before 1769 was married to Richard Thompson in February 1789 by the Rev. William Moore with Edward Henderson as surety. The Richard Thompson family is found in Grainger Co. with the other Moore siblings. Their daughters were named:
    • Mary Thompson
    • Frances “Fanny” Thompson

If you descend from any of these women to the current generation through all females, I have a free DNA testing scholarship for you. The current generation can be male, because females contribute their mitochondrial DNA to all of their children, but only females pass it on.

Are you a direct maternal descendant of Mary Rice Moore, or whatever her name is? If so, your DNA may hold the key to the next breakthrough! I’d love to hear from you!



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Mitochondrial DNA: Part 5 – Joining Projects

This is the fifth article in the Mitochondrial DNA series. The first four are:

One of the best things about Family Tree DNA is their projects. Just this week, one of my brick walls is falling, thanks to a project administrator’s keen eye!

There are lots of projects to choose from for just about every interest. Let’s take a look at what’s available and why you should join.

What Are Projects?

Family Tree DNA offers customers the ability to join roughly 10,000 free projects that are administered by volunteer project administrators who have a particular interest in the subject of the project.

The most well-known projects are surname projects, but of course, the challenge with mitochondrial DNA, inherited through generations of female to female genetic transmission, is that the surname changes with each generation. Surname projects generally are founded based on paternal surnames.

For example, I started and administer the Estes surname project, even though I’m not a male and have no Y chromosome. To represent my line, I tested my Estes male family members.

Some Y DNA projects welcome all people who descend from an ancestor with that surname, and others do not. I do, because within projects members can use advanced matching tools to see who they match within the project. Of course, a match within a project does NOT guarantee that you match the person BECAUSE of that specific ancestor. It’s a good clue and a place to start, however, and I encourage everyone to consider joining all projects that pertain to their genealogy.

Testers can join an unlimited number of projects and they are all free, although some may have specific criteria required to join.

Why Join a Project?

You might be wondering why one would want to join a project. There are several reasons.

  • Expertise

Project administrators generally offer some level of expertise in the subject at hand. They have to have a reason to spend the time creating and maintaining the project and corresponding with members. Relative to haplogroup projects, project administrators are literally the most knowledgeable people on earth about their haplogroups of interest.

  • Common Interests

Whether you’re trying to figure out where your haplogroup came from, your ancestor of a specific surname or you’re interested in a particular ancestral group, like Acadian ancestors, other project members clearly have the same interest. Project members know that others in the project share that interest and if the project administrators have enabled the social media feature of projects, you can post and discuss topics and make requests there.

  • Camaraderie

Who wants to exist on a genealogical island? Working together with others often reaps huge benefits. For example, in the Crumley project, a few years ago I was able to reconstruct the partial genome of the common ancestor of 57 group members who descend from James Crumley. Without collaboration, we could never make this type of genetic progress – not to mention simply sharing traditional research.

  • Access to project feed or project results

Some project administrators make the viewing the project as well as the social media feed available only to project members who are signed in. Whether you can view the project page or social media feed or not as a non-project member, the only way to actually participate is by joining the project. The more joiners, the better for everyone.

  • Map

Every project has the ability to display a map based on the entire project, as well as by project groupings. By clicking on Manage myProjects, then on DNA Results, you’ll see options for both the results and a map, if the administrator has enabled both features.

mitochondrial DNA projects.png

Maps show the distribution of the earliest known ancestors of project members if they have provided that information and agreed to project sharing.

Mitochondrial DNA hap J map.png

My first map selection in the haplogroup J project, shown above, was for “All” meaning the entire project. There’s not much of a story here except that there’s lots of haplogroup J in Europe.

Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup J1c2f map.png

My second selection was for the group the administrator created for my own complete haplogroup, J1c2f. This map distribution, found primarily in Scandinavia is suggestive of a much more granular story.

Project maps are an important under-utilized resource.

  • Advanced matching and searching within projects

Mitochodrial DNA matching on your regular match page allows you to view your matches in the entire database or to filter by projects that you have joined.

Mitochondrial DNA project matches.png

When selecting a project view, I’m only shown matches who are members of projects that I have joined, shown above.

However, there’s another, more powerful matching tool.

The Advanced Matching Tool

Mitochondrial DNA advanced matching tool

Click to enlarge

Utilizing the Advanced Matching tool, I have more options and can select to filter and match from a variety of tests, match types and features.

Mitochondrial DNA advanced matches.png

For example, I can select the level of mitochondrial DNA match I want to see, pair it with a Family Finder match, see only people who match me on both tests and who are in a specific project.

These are powerful combined tools.

How do you know if anyone else with your surname or interests have tested and if a project exists?

Does A Project Exist?

Without signing into your account, click here to go to the primary Family Tree DNA home page.

Scroll down. Keep scrolling….

You will eventually see this surname search box.

Mitochondrial DNA project search.png

Type the surname of interest into the box and press enter. I’ll use Estes for this example.

You will see three types of results:

  • The number of people with that exact surname that you typed, “Estes” in this case, that have tested – both male and female. In the first red box below, you can see that 320 people who currently have the surname of Estes have tested.
  • The surname projects that include that surname spelling in the project description. Looking at the second red box, you can see that the Estes project has 370 members and the Estis Jewish Ukraine project has 62. The Estis Jewish project administrator has included the spelling Estes in the project description which is why this project is listed under Estes surname Projects.
  • Other projects, in the green box, where the administrators have listed the surname Estes because their project might be of interest to some Estes descendants. This doesn’t mean that this project pertains to your Estes family – but it does mean you might want to click on the project and read the description.

Mitochondrial DNA projects by group.png

For example, here’s the North Carolina Early 1700s project description.

Mitochondrial DNA Early North Carolina

Click to enlarge

For all projects, you can see the administrators’ names at the bottom left, below the project links. You can click on their names to contact them with questions.

You can click on this page to join. If you click “Join” and have not purchased a kit, you will be prompted to do so. If you have already purchased a kit, you will be prompted to sign in at this point so that your kit can be joined to the project.

Project results are available for viewing through the links at the left.

The Early North Carolina project includes both Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA participants.

Project Grouping

Project administrators group participants in various ways, depending on the goals of the project. In this case, mitochondrial DNA results are grouped by haplogroup.

Mitochondrial DNA project display

Click to enlarge

Note that the first 2 people didn’t enter their earliest known ancestor, but the last 3 did. Results are so much more useful with ancestor information.

HVR1, HVR2 and Full Sequence

Project administrators have a lot of leeway about the purpose and goals of the project, the criteria to join, grouping (or not) and even whether the project has a public-facing results page, like the one shown above.

However, two things project administrators have NO CONTROL OVER at all are:

  • Whether your full name displays. It does NOT! A surname only may be displayed if the administrator selects that option.
  • Whether or not the coding region results are shown. That’s not an option and never has been at Family Tree DNA. Only HVR1 and HVR2 are shown, as shown above.

If, as project members, you grant administrators coding region view access so that they can properly group your results, there is no option for administrators to show coding region results on any web page.

Joining Projects from Your Personal Page

After signing on to your personal page at Family Tree DNA, to join or manage projects, click on myProjects at the top of your personal page.

Mitochondrial DNA myProjects.png

You will then see the following option.

Mitochondrial DNA join a project.png

Click on “Join a Project.”

At this point, you will see a list of projects. People interpret this to mean that Family Tree DNA is recommending these projects, but that’s not the case. The project administrators have listed your surname as a surname that is relevant to the project they are running. That’s why the project is displayed on the project list you see initially.

Here’s the list that I see.

Mitochondrial DNA project list.png

Of these projects, 2 are of interest, Estes and Cumberland Gap Y DNA, except that I don’t carry the Y chromosome. My mitochondrial DNA is not relevant, so unless the Cumberland Gap Y DNA project accepts people who don’t descend via the Y chromosome, only the Estes project is relevant to me.

The project with the purple star is new since the last time I looked. It may be relevant to me. I’ll need to read the project description to see.


Let’s say I’m interested in joining the Lore project, my mother’s mother’s surname. I want to search for projects that include Lore. I won’t see any initially, because my surname is not Lore.

Scrolling down below the initial project names shown above, I see a search box.

Mitochondrial DNA project search by surname.png

Typing Lore in the search box and clicking on “search” displays the following projects.

Mitochondrial DNA project join link.png

Both of these projects are relevant to me. My Lore great-grandfather is indeed Acadian.

Clicking on the link displays more information about the project. Clicking on the Join button joins you to the project, or, for projects that require a join request, takes you to the join request page.

Mitochondrial DNA join button.png

If the project requires a join request, be sure to read the project goals and state why the project is a good fit for you.

For example, if the project is the Mitochondrial Haplogroup B Project, and you’re a haplogroup H, the project is not a good fit for you.

Many projects include key words that make searching more effective. For example, to find the AcadianAmerindian project, simply type Acadian into the search box. Project administrators try their best to make the projects findable for people interested in that specific topic.

To find haplogroup projects and projects that don’t include a specific surname or key word, you’ll need to browse. Fortunately, projects are logically grouped.

Browsing Projects

By scrolling down below the search box, you’ll see the various project categories with projects listed alphabetically. The number beside the letter indicates the number of projects in that category.

Mitochondrial DNA project browse

Click to enlarge

  • Surname Projects are just what they say and you’ll find those using the search feature.
  • Y and Mitochondrial Geographical Projects are projects that aren’t surnames and aren’t haplogroups. In other words, they could be a geography like the Cumberland Gap or France, or they could be a group like Native American or Tuscarora.
  • Dual Geographical Projects include both Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA from a geography, BUT, these types of projects are extremely difficult to administer because someone may join because their Y DNA is from France, for example, but their mitochondrial DNA is from Africa. What happens is that unless the administrator actively suppressed the “wrong” DNA (from the project perspective) from showing, it looks for all the world like African mitochondrial DNA is appearing in France because both the Y and mitochondrial DNA of the tester shows in the results by default. If you’re thinking to yourself that suppressing “one little thing” should be easy, it’s not necessarily, especially not with thousands of participants in some projects. Not only that, it would require each person joining a project to communicate with the administrator and tell them which line is relevant to the project, Y, mitochondrial, or neither.
  • MtDNA and Y DNA Lineage Projects are similar to surname projects, but they track descendants of a specific ancestor. For example, I could start a project for my great-great-grandmother’s descendants and encourage them to join that project so we could communicate and research together.
  • Mitochondrial and Y DNA Haplogroup Projects are focused on a single haplogroup or subgroup. Some haplogroups have only one project, like Haplogroup J. Other haplogroups have a primary project plus several subgroup projects. Haplogroup H, which is very prevalent in Europe, has several subgroups.
Mitochondrial DNA project browse list

Click to enlarge

Haplogroup administrators as scientists and citizen scientists often study specific haplogroups to learn more about their history and through that, the history of the human species and our migrations.


If you joined a project by accident, changed your mind or discovered a project is no longer relevant, it’s easy to unjoin.

Mitochondrial DNA manage myProjects.png

Click on “Manage myProjects.”

Mitochondrial DNA unjoin.png

You’ll see each project that you have joined, along with two actions. A pencil to modify your membership and a trash can. To unjoin the project, just click the trash can.

Editing and Granting Administrator Access

Click on the pencil to edit.

You control the amount and level of access that administrators have to your results.

If you grant administrators Minimum Access, they can’t even see your matches to group you properly. I don’t recommend that level.

Here’s a summary of Group Administrator Access at the various levels.

Mitochondrial DNA admin access summary.pngMitochondrial DNA admin access summary 2.png

Please read the details on the Group Administrator Access Level and Permissions page in the Learning Center.

Mitochondrial DNA future admins.png

I generally allow all future administrators the same level of access. After all, I won’t be here one day to reauthorize and I want my DNA to work for both my ancestors and descendants forever.

Make your selections and then click on “Accept Project Preferences.” The system will then provide you with a summary of your selections.

Group Profile and Coding Region Sharing

You’ll need to decide if you’re going to share the Coding Region with the administrators, and if you’re going to share your results on the public webpage.

Both of those options can be found under your Account Profile, under Manage Personal Information.

Mitochondrial DNA profile.png

Under Account Settings, click on Project Preferences.

Mitochondrial DNA account settings

Click to enlarge

Next, you’ll see a list of the projects you have joined. Scroll beneath that to the Project Sharing section.

Mitochondrial DNA sharing

Click to enlarge

You’ll want to be sure that these selections reflect your wishes. If you DON’T allow sharing, your results won’t be included on the public web page. People often view projects to see if their ancestors are represented, so results in projects act as cousin bait.

The administrators need to be able to view your coding region mutations to group you accurately.


While you’re on the Account Settings page, take a look at the other tabs and make sure they reflect your desired options.

In particular, make sure on the Genealogy page to complete your surnames and your Earliest Known Ancestors and on the Account Information Page, your Beneficiary Information.

Your relatives and descendants will thank you!!!



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James Moore (c1720-c1798), Life on the Second Fork of Birches Creek, 52 Ancestors #250

We don’t know where James Moore was born, but as a young man, we probably find James Moore in 1743 in Amelia County as an influx of settlers opened the land for cultivation. By about 1745, James had married a daughter of Joseph Rice, possibly Mary.

James’s married life was spent in the part of Amelia County that became Prince Edward County. He purchased land and in 1766, when his father-in-law died, James inherited 100 acres of the land where Joseph Rice lived and where James was already living, according to the will.

In 1767, James is noted on the tax list with the land he had purchased as well as his inherited land, but James Moore and his wife pulled up stakes shortly thereafter and moved on to the next frontier.

By this time, James was about 50 years old, so no spring chicken. If he was going to move and keep all his children with him in the new location, it was time. To wait much longer would have meant that some of his children would marry and not accompany him to the new land. James packed everyone and everything they owned into a wagon and set off for untold adventures on a new frontier, 71 miles distant.

Halifax County, Virginia

By 1770, James Moore had moved to Halifax County, Virginia, along with a great number of other Prince Edward County families. Perhaps it was the death of his father-in-law that motivated the move. Maybe James felt he could sell his land in Prince Edward and purchase more land for the same amount of money in Halifax County. Or perhaps his wife wasn’t resistant to moving after her father died, although her (presumed) mother, Rachel was still living at that time.

Rachel is only mentioned one more time. On the 1767 tax list, she is listed with John Rice. After that, nothing, so she may have died about this time too.

It’s likely that James originally migrated from the Hanover County region to Amelia County – at least that’s where Joseph Rice and many of the families who settled in Amelia County originated.

James Moore Prince Edward to Halifax.png

The second half of his journey took him on to the area of present-day Vernon Hill in Halifax County


The first thing James Moore did in Halifax County appears to have been to purchase land.

I created this table to attempt to track his land purchases and sales.

Date From or To Cost Acres Acres Running total
1770 From James Spradling, his grant 100# 238 238
1774 To Thomas Ward 15# -25 213
1774 To Joseph Dodson 60# -100 113
1778 To John Pankey   -100 13
1780 To Charles Spradling 30# -100 -87
1780 From James Henry by William Ryburn POA 350# 400 313
1781 To John Pankey 2000# -30 283
1784 From James Henry (different books and witnesses – does not appear to be a duplicate)   400 683
1786 To Leonard Baker 10# -40 643
1786 Edmond Henderson   -50 593
1787 William Hanes (Haynes) 15# -30 563
1798 William Moore 65# -200 363

Unfortunately, a reconciliation of the land purchased and sold by James Moore bears no resemblance to the tax lists of the era. The best I can figure is that someone else was paying the tax on some of the land.

To say that James’ land ownership is confusing is an understatement. Generally, when someone dies, their land is sold through probate, but apparently, not James. In 1798, James sells land to William, his son, and based on the transactions we have, James still owned 363 acres at that time.

In 1797, James disappeared from the personal tax lists, but his land remains. Did James leave at this point with his sons for East Tennessee? Did he tackle yet a third frontier at age 80?

There are two James Moores listed on the Grainger tax list in 1799, but our James would have been too old to be taxed, and his sons were not listed on that tax list.

Was his “last act” to sell land to his son, the Reverend William Moore, who had become somehow disabled?

James would have been roughly 80 years old. Did he die? If so, why was there no estate probated? He clearly still owned land, or, he transferred deeds that are not recorded.

Using the tax lists and not the land purchases/sales, James still owned between 120 and 50 acres of land. I can find no records of his land ever being sold. The deed was likely passed hand to hand and never registered until much later.

One thing we do know for sure, James was not on the qualified voter list of Halifax County in 1800, so he was assuredly dead or gone.

Tobacco is King

Why would James Moore have wanted so much land? It would have had to be cleared, a backbreaking prospect and he had to pay taxes on it whether it was cleared or not.

Virginia was a tobacco producing state. Tobacco depletes the nutrients in the soil quickly and new land has to be cleared for cultivation every 4 or 5 years, allowing the “old fields” to rest for two decades before they can be reused.

Brantley Henderson, born in 1884, a descendant of James Moore’s daughter Lydia, penned Only the Happy Memories, published in 1951. In the book, Brantley talks about tobacco farming in the 1880s and 1890s when he was young.

The methodologies hadn’t changed much in the 100 years since James Moore was cultivating his land on the second fork of Birches Creek.

As Brantley says, “There was always a lot of work to do.”

The hottest work I ever did was helping burn plantbeds. In those days, it would seem that farmers purposely did things the hard way. They literally cooked the plots of ground, usually about 50 by 50 feet, where tobacco plants were to be raised. The idea was that the fire would kill the seeds of both grass and weeds, but it took them a long time to learn that this didn’t happen.

A plot of ground with southern exposure was always selected. Across its highest end logs were stacked 6 feet high and 15 feet wide. Leaves, brush and lightwood knots were put under them and set afire. Two hours later the logs were pulled to uncooked ground. For moving them, we used poles 20 feet long which had iron hooks fastened to their ends. Always, it seemed, the wind blew the smoke, heat and sparks in our direction.

After the ground had been cooked, it was spaded, fertilized and raked. Then tobacco seeds were broadcast over its surface and the whole bed covered with cheesecloth. A few weeks later, our backs and arms grew weary from picking grass and weeds from around the tender tobacco plants.

James Moore Jamestown tobacco

Cultivation of Tobacco at James town, by Signed A.W. in lower left – Page 45 of A School History of the United States, from the Discovery of America to the Year 1878 (1878); from a digital scan from the Internet Archive, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31157197

The hardest job anyone had to do in the cultivation of tobacco was in planting it. The rows had previously been thrown up with turning plows and raked and pressed down with hoes into hills, 3 feet apart. After a soaking rain the backbreaking work began. Pa selected the plants and carefully put them in baskets. Blue Dick carried them from the beds to the fields. Colored girls walked along dropping the plants on the hills.

Using hand planters which were nothing more than lightwood knots with one of the ends trimmed to fit the palms of hands, and the other a sharp point, the drudgery began. The depths of the holes we made depended upon the size of the plants, for they had to be buried hear their buds. The stick was again plunged into the ground about an inch from the plants and the soil pressed gently against their roots. Our backs were bent from one end of the rows to the other.

Tobacco raising in those days was a never-ending job. After Christmas the cutting and log-rolling matches were held. The logs, brush and leaves were burned. Then the saplings and other underbrush were grubbed, thrown into piles and set afire. The ground was ready for the colter, but many of the roots were so thick the plow couldn’t break them and they had to be chopped with axes. Thousands of roots were removed this way and picked up with pitchforks or by hand and stacked and burned. Next came the turning plows which unearthed as many roots as had been destroyed before.

James Moore tobacco field.jpg

The tobacco curing barns were repaired, some received new roofs and others needed chinking and redaubing. The flues were removed and painted.

James Moore tobacco barn.jpg

The stocks over which cut tobacco was thrown, or on which pulled leaves were strung to dry, had to be replenished. About 50 cords of wood with which tobacco was cured was cut, split and hauled to the barns.

James Moore inside tobacco barn

By Wjkimmerle, William J Kimmerle – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4618788

By then it was early spring and time for burning the plantbeds.

The old land on which tobacco was to be planted was turned, dragged, furrowed, and fertilized, thrown into rows and the hills clapped. While waiting for a rain before planting, we might have had a few days rest, but Pa always found something else for us to do.

Two weeks after it was planted, the young tobacco was plowed and worked with hoes. Before one field was finished the others needed the same thing. About this time worms tried to eat it up. Some of the old ones were 4 inches long and as thick as a cigar. Those fellows could hunch their backs and spit tobacco juice as far and accurately as the farmers who sat around the stove in Gus Mitchell’s store in the wintertime. And they would bite, too. We had to sneak upon them and grab the backs of their heads to squash them.

James Moore tobacco worm

By Daniel Schwen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11470387

Both sides of each leaf had to be examined for small worms and eggs.

James Moore tobacco plants

By © Derek Ramsey / derekramsey.com, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1397609

Before sprays were invented it was a constant fight between men and worms, and many times the worms won the battle. By this time, we had topped the plants and the confounded suckers began shooting out. They more than doubled the work and the sun was getting hotter. It was then I always said, “Pa, I wish to goodness I could die before tobacco planting time and stay dead until it’s in the barns.”

We struggled along chopping grass and weeds from the stalks, “laying it by,” suckering and killing worms. When the bottom leaves began turning yellow, we dropped sticks between the rows on which the tobacco was to be thrown when cut, and then turned to suckering and killing worms again.

Harvesting the crops began in August. Several colored girls and I stood between the rows holding the sticks. Using hook-like knives which Pa made from old saws, the men split the stalks, ran their fingers down the slits, cut the stalks near the ground and threw them on the sticks. When enough was cut to fill a barn, we began hauling it in. With the loaded wagon standing in front of the barn’s door, something like a relay race began as the sticks were passed from man to man. Three men were up in the barn, one above the other, their legs spread wide apart between two tiers, over which the tobacco was hung. As the barn filled from the top, one by one the men came down.

Wood was piled in the fireboxes and the curing process began. For 2 or 3 days, or until the tobacco had turned yellow, the temperature was kept at about 110 degrees and then gradually stepped up. To dry the stalks and stems thoroughly, the heat was carried up to 220 degrees and this usually took one week. Then the doors were opened and brush was laid on the dirt floor, feely sprinkled with water to make the air humid, which caused the leaves to become supple that they might be handled without shattering them, while being removed to the packing house

Tobacco was traditionally packed into hogsheads which were very large barrels, about 48 inches long and about 30 inches across at the top, wider in the middle as they were rolled down the roads to the docks, and weighing about 1000 pounds each.

James Moore hogshead.jpg

We know that hogsheads were still in use about 1900, as illustrated by this postcard.

James Moore tobacco warehouse.png

Back to Brantley:

This job was repeated week after week until all of the tobacco was been taken from the fields and cured. Were we through with the stuff then? Not by a jugful.

If a heavy rain didn’t soften the tobacco, we had to haul it from the packing house to the ordering cellar put it on tiers again and sprinkle water on the red dirt floor. When it was “in order,” it was relayed to the sorting room above and stacked in piles.

One of us removed the stalks of tobacco from the sticks and laid them on the floor by the side of Pa, who sat in a chair in the middle of the room. He pulled the leaves from the stalks and sorted them according to quality. Usually there were from 6 to 8 grades. Bubba and a man tied the best leaves, and my job was to bundle the cheapest, which were called lugs.

Before the whole crop was harvested, cured and sold, it was Christmas again.

But we had fun around the tobacco barns during the curing seasons. Their roaring fires gave off comforting warmth to hands and feet when the fall nights were zippy and they lighted the road for play and, bless the Lord, it scared the hants (ghosts) away. Every boy in the community who could count on having a man walk home with him at bedtime was there for play and to eat watermelons, roasted corn and “sweet taters.” Bubba (Brantley’s brother) and I owned a white and liver-colored pointed dog. One of us would blindfold him and another boy would rub his breeches leg against the dogs nose, run down the road, climb a tree and yell. Fido was turned loose. He would pick up the boy’s trail and baying like a foxhound, follow the boy’s exact course and tree him. This type of fun sounds tame to a much older ear, but we youngsters found delight in the simple things of life in those far-off days.

And so it was. Life in the days of James Moore in Halifax County. I took the pictures of the following barns on or near James’ land when I visited, many of which may have dated to the time when James Moore lived.

Henderson Trail

What is now Henderson Trail in Halifax County was once James Moore’s land. Today, using Google Street View, we can see the historic structures on James’ land, some of which may well have been there when James lived.

James Moore Henderson Trail historic structure.png

James Moore Henderson Trail.png

James Moore Henderson Trail 2.png

James Moore Henderson Trail 3.png

James Moore Henderson Trail barn.png

Wouldn’t it be amazing if one of these actually WAS James’ barn?

Brantley’s recollections and these photos give us perspective about James life as a tobacco farmer, while the tax lists tell us about the land he owned, the number of horses, which were critical for farming, and the number of cows.

Unlike many plantation owners, James Moore never owned slaves, so the farm work would have fallen entirely to his family members and like-minded neighbors who may have helped each other with farm chores. The challenge, of course, was that everyone’s tobacco needed the same attention at the same time, so the only “spare hands” were perhaps laborers that could be hired from elsewhere.

Halifax Tax Lists

Most early Halifax tax lists no longer exist.

James is listed first in Halifax County on the 1782 tax list with 6 total white souls and 120 acres noted in the “alterations” (meaning changes from previous) category of the tax list.

This tells us that he has 4 children remaining at home. In 1782, James Moore would have been between 61 and 64 years of age. Several of his children would or should be married already and we know if fact that some were.

James Moore shows on the tax list in 1783 through 1787 with no acreage but in 1787 it looks like a James Jr. has 70 acres (but the Jr. could be Sr.) In 1788 James does have 120 acres, and in 1788 James Sr. is noted with 170 acres (or maybe the 7 is really a 2). In 1790 James is shown with 120 and has 120 every year until 1795 where it drops to 50.

James continues to show on the tax list through 1796, all years exempt beginning in 1788, and then he disappears from the personal tax list in 1797, but his 50 acres is still listed on the land tax list through 1814, after which it too is gone. In 1812 James Moore’s 50 acres is shown on Grassy Creek, so this may not be the right land or the right guy.

In 1806, a James Moore appears again on the personal tax list through 1822. This is not the same person as he is not exempt. This James is likely the son of William, would have been born in 1785 if he were 21 in 1806. He may have been living on and farming the land of James Sr. next to his father William.

Did “our” James Sr., father of Mackness Moore and Rice Moore move to Tennessee with Mackness and Rice in about 1797 or 1798? We know that son James Moore moved to Surry County, NC probably around 1770, but assuredly before 1791.

In 1783, a James Jr. appears with 30 acres but is not shown with land again. He is shown on the personal tax list in 1791, then from 1813-1829, then gone. It is unlikely that this is all the same person with all the gaps. However, we are safe to note that there is a James Jr. in 1783, so if this is James’ son, he would have been born in 1762 or before, meaning that his father would have to have been born in 1741 or before. We previously found James Jr. on the tax list with James Sr. in Prince Edward Co., in 1767, I’d guess that James Jr. is the eldest son.

Mackness Moore is listed as Mackerness in at least one year – and is on the tax list from 1788-1795. He is taxed with 100 acres of land in 1798 and owns it though 1800 even though he disappears from the personal tax list in 1794. His land is sold by 1800.

Rice Moore appears on the tax list in 1788 and eventually moved to the North part of the County where he is last taxed in 1792 before he leaves with his brother for Tennessee. He never owned land.

There is also a Thomas Moore on Birches Creek in 1783, 1792, 1798, 1799, 1800, 1811 and 1812. We have no more info on Thomas because he did not own land. I strongly suspect that the 1798-1800 Thomas is Thomas the father of orphans, Rawley and William. The 1783 and 1792 Thomas’s are indeterminate, but they could be a son of James or someone else entirely.

Let’s look at the Halifax County records involving James Moore.

James Moore in the Halifax Records

In 1770, James Moore purchased 238 acres from James Spradling on the second fork of Birches Creek, where the “said Moore now lives.” Witnesses George Brown (?), Sam Slate and George Stubblefield.

In 1773, James Moore filed suit against John Dalton, but the case was dismissed.

On March 11, of 1774, James Moore of Halifax sold land to Thomas Ward of Halifax County for 15#, 25 acres adjoining Thomas Ward, James Henry, Esq on the North side Thomas Ward’s plantation, meanders to the second fork of Burches Creek, signed James (M) Moore and witnesses James Thompson, Joseph Ferguson and Henry McDaniel. James’s wife Mary relinquishes dower. Recorded October 20, 1774

We know assuredly by 1774 that James Moore’s wife’s name was Mary. What we don’t know is whether or not Mary in 1774 was the same Mary Rice that was mentioned in Joseph’s Rice’s 1766 will, and if so, why he called his daughter by her birth name and not her married name.

On October 20th of the same year, James Moore and Mary, his wife, sold land to Joseph Dodson for 60#, one tract of about 100 acres bounded by the low grounds of the creek in James Spradling lines, James Henry, and the Tan Trough branch. Witness William Moore, James (O.) (is this a mark or an initial?) Moore Jr., Susannah (+) Moore, signed James (M) Moore and Mary (+) Moore. Mary Moore relinquished her dower.

The Ward and Dodson deeds were registered the same day. It was a long way to the courthouse. James and crew probably made that journey on court day, which was the best public entertainment to be had.

According to Brantley Henderson, “country people would crowd the courthouse grounds on “Courthouse Day,” where horse traders would try to swap worthless plugs to unsuspecting farmers for their good old nags and $100 to boot.”

In 1774, James Moore served as a witness in the suit Hancock vs Spradling where John Hancock was an assignee of James Spradling and paid James Moore 125# in tobacco for being a witness. This was typical and ordered by the court.

In 1776, James Moore witnessed a deed that I found quite interesting

James Henry of Accomack County to James Spradling of Halifax for and in consideration of the rents and covenants to be performed grants Spradling one certain tract of land in Halifax on the 2nd fork of Burches Creek bounded by a corner of James Moor’s plantation where he now lives, a corner of the said Henry’s order of Council land which he purchased of Col. Thomas Parremore of Accomack County near the road that leads from the said Henry’s Mill on the Sandy Creek to Fontaines Old Houses. To have and hold for the term of 21 years paying annual rent of the quitrent for the 1st 7 years, 30 shillings per years for the next 7 years, and for the last 7 years, the yearly rent of 3 # and the quitrents for the whole term. Spradling agrees to build a good, square, log dwelling house, shingled with heart of pine shingles put in with nails, the house to be 20′ by 16′ with a good plank floor overhead and barn 30′ by 20′ built in the same manner, to plant and raise 200 apple trees of good grafted fruit and 500 peach trees within the 1st 7 years and to leave the plantation in good tenantable repair at the expiration of the term. If the rent is ever behind and unpaid for 6 months, and no distress to be had on the premises, it shall he lawful for Henry to enter upon the premises and this lease to cease and be void for the future. Signed William Ryburn for James Henry. Witness Samuel Slate, John (mark I with top middle and bottom cross) Spradling, Chas (+) Spradling.  Recorded November 21, 1776

The building that Spradling is supposed to build is probably very characteristic of the homes of the settlers of that era. 20 x 16. The size of my living room and an entire, large, family would have lived in that “good, square, log dwelling house” with its pine shingles put in with nails.

Even more ironic, the barn was almost twice as wide as the house.

Apple and peach trees. Entire orchards to be planted. I wonder if any are left today.

Spradling would have vacated this land in 1797 according to these terms.

Of course, the Revolutionary War was beginning about this time, and in the pension application file of one James Spradling, born in 1750, who enlisted in February 1776 for 3 years, we find that Mackness Moore gave testimony that he knew James in Virginia and that James Spradling lived with his father for two years prior to enlisting. Therefore, James Spradling would have lived in the James Moore household in 1774 and 1775. James Spradling eventually moved to Claiborne County, Tennessee, in close proximity to Mackness and Rice Moore and other members of the Moore family.

Why was James Spradling living with James Moore? Did James Moore simply need an additional farm hand, or was there more? Were they related? Is this James Spradling the son of the James Spradling that James Moore bought land from in 1770? James Moore knew the Spradlings in Prince Edward County.

In 1778, James Moore of Halifax sold to John Pankey of Halifax 100 acres on both sides of the branches of Birches Creek, mouth of the Tantroff Branch, Col. Hanries line, Barbery Branch. Signed James (M his mark) Moore, Witneses Joseph Dodson, Charles (C) Spradling, Edward (8) Henderson, William More. Recorded November 19, 1778.  Mary the wife of said James Moore voluntarily relinquished her right of dower.

Mary apparently died between 1778 and 1781, given that she does not relinquish dower in 1781 or on land sales thereafter.

In 1780, James Henry of King and Queen County sells to James Moore of Halifax for 350# about 400 acres on one fork of Birches Creek, crossing the creek and bounded by a branch inside Henry’s order line. Signed William Ryburn for James Henry. Witnesses James (+) Moore Jr., William Moore, Edward (+) Henderson. Recorded October 19, 1780

Also in 1780, James Moore with his M mark witnesses the sale of 13 acres of land from Charles Spradling to John Pankey on the north side of Birches Creek. William Moore and Edward Henderson (+) were also witnesses.

In 1781, James Moore sold to John Pankey for 2000# about 30 acres on the second fork of Birches creek. Signed James (M) More – witnesses William Parker, Charles Crenshaw, Jonathan Colquitt. Recorded September 20, 1781

James also witnessed the land sale from Stephen Pankey to William Walton for 100 acres on the second fork of Birches Creek, along with John Pankey and Jonathan Colquit.

In 1782, James had 6 white and no black souls and paid one tithe.

1783 provides us with our first road hands list.

John Pankey surveyor from Walton’s Mill path to the county line, tithes John Sloane?, James Ferguson, Hugh Ferguson, Thomas Jeffress, Lewis Halay, Benjamin Halay, Daniel Trammell, Thomas Trammell, Richard Lamkin, Richard Thompson, William Yates, Jesse Spradling, Isaac Farguson, John Farguson, Nimrod Farguson, Charles Spradling, Mack (Mackness) Moore, Rich (probably Rice) Moore, William Moore, Thomas Williamson Jr and Sr, Edward Henderson, William Pankey, Nathan Sullins, John Mullins, William Ashlock, James Moore, Bartholomew Harris, Benjamin Edwards, William Edwards, Thomas Dodson Jr. and Sr., George Dodson, Robert, Mathis, John Tolles, Martin Palmer and William Walton.

Every property owner was required by law to contribute one day per year for road upkeep. The roads at that time, according again to Brantley Henderson, were “old, winding muddy roads.” While the farmers did travel in their wagons to the tobacco warehouses, they did not journey far beyond the neighborhood, to the point that Brantley had never journeyed the 15 miles to Vernon Hills to visit the old Henderson lands, cousins or cemeteries. “Only urgent business would take one so far from home.”

Brantley wrote of the roads, “With few exceptions, the tobacco wagons were drawn by 4 horses – an even dozen were really needed. What could rightly be called a road wasn’t in existence. The word “trail” would do honor to their memory. Little effort was made to grade and drain them and there were no bridges over the swamps and creeks. In fact, few of the rivers were bridged. The larger ones were crossed by ferry.

The one day required yearly road maintenance was “confined to the worst mudholes in each area. If possible, with picks, hand shovels and plows, ditches were dug to drain off water, then the holes were filled with loose dirt. Until a dry spell came to bake the dirt, the mudhole was worse than before.”

The 1783 tax list also tells us that James Moore owned 3 horses, 8 cows and was living beside William Moore.

In 1784, James Henry of King and Queen County sold to James Moore (with William Ryburn power of attorney) 400 acres on Birches Creek, John Pankey’s line, Nathan Sullins. Witnesses John Poindexter, Howard Henderson, William Walter.

In 1786, James Moore’s son, Rice Moore married Elizabeth Madison whose father was Roger Madison.

On the 1786 tax list, James Moore has 2 horses and 8 cows.

In 1786, James Moore sells to Edward Henderson about 50 acres on the second fork of Birches Creek bounded by Old Fields Branch, lines of James Henry, William Mors, and Nathan Sullings, witnesses Mackness Moore, William More and John Poindexter – James More signs with (M) mark. Deed dated July 13, 1786 and recorded October 19, 1786

Edward Henderson married James Moore’s daughter, Lydia. This land began the Henderson family legacy in Halifax County which remains today.

In 1786, James Moore sold 40 acres on Birches Creek to Leonard Baker.

James was also appointed surveyor of the road from the Double Branch to the Pittsylvania County line.

In the suit, Wimbush and Neale versus James Moore, a judgement was rendered.

On February 23, 1787, James Moore sells to William Hanes (both of Halifax) for 15#, 30 acres on the second fork of Birches Creek, John Poindexter line, witnesses Rice Moore, Charles Spradling and John Poindexter. James Moore makes his mark as M, Rice signs, recorded July 19, 1787.

In Brantley Henderson’s book, he mentions that winters in the “old days” were quite harsh in Halifax County. Blankets of snow would fall 6 inches deep, and the families would harvest ice 15 inches thick, storing it in the back yard in an ice pit lined with pine boards. That might well have been a later invention, but the winters probably precluded filing deeds in February.

The 1787 tax list shows James Moore with 70 acres and the 1788 tax list, with 120 acres.

In 1788, James Moore petitions the court for “reasons appearing is exempt from county levies.” It kills me that they didn’t say why. If he is age 70, then he was born in 1718.

The 1788 tax list shows him as James Moore, Sr. with 2 horses and 170 acres. It’s possible that the 7 was really a 2.

In October of 1788, Sally Moore married Martin Stubblefield. James Moore is noted as the father, with James Rice as surety and John Atkinson as the minister. James Rice may be the son of Matthew, a great-uncle to Sally Moore.

In February of 1789, Mary Moore married Richard Thompson with Edward Henderson as surety. The Reverend William Moore, her brother, performed the nuptials.

A month later, On March 10th of 1789, Manness (Mackness) Moore married Sally Thompson, with Richard Mays? as surety.

In 1790 and 1791, James Moore is shown with 120 acres and in 1791, he’s exempt.

In 1791, William Haynes sells the 30 acres of land he purchased from James Moore to Reche McGreggor bounded by Spradling’s old line, James Moore, Col. Henry.

In 1792, James Moore has 1 white poll, 1 horse and 120 acres.

In 1793, James has 120 acres and is exempt.

In 1794, Edward Henderson sold to Isaac Bare (Barr) for 30 # about 50 acres in the waters of Burches Creek and bounded by the Old Field Branch to James Henry’s line, William Moore’s line. Signed Edward Henderson. Witnesses – William Moore, Lucey Moore, James Moore. Recorded July 28, 1794

This is interesting because there is no mention of James signing with a mark, but every other signature of James is shown with a mark. This James could have been his son or William Moore’s son, James.

Lucy Moore could have been either William Moore’s wife or daughter.

In 1794 through 1797, James is shown with 50 acres and exempt.

In 1795, 1796 and 1797, there are suits against James Moore, but I can’t tell if it’s our James Moore or another.

In 1795, one James Moore signed a petition to sell the glebe land of the Anglican church. I’m not sure if this is our James Moore, or the son of William Moore, but given that this signature is on the same page as Mackness Moore, Thomas Moore and the Barr gentleman, it’s certain the same family if not our James.

James Moore glebe land.png

In 1798, James Moore sells to William Moore 200 acres for 65# on the second fork of Birches Creek, Isac Barrs line, David Wilson, John Huddleston, Bare Branch, Little Branch, signed with the M mark, wit William Walton, Thomas Moore, Elizabeth Walton, Edward C. Henderson (also see following entry)

This Thomas Moore is either the son of James Moore or William Moore.

On the 1798 through 1805 tax list, James is still listed with the 50 acres, but the listing for personal tax is blank. If someone is exempt, they are still listed with the explanation, “exempt.”

James would have been age 80-83 by this time, and generally, the missing personal property tax would be interpreted to mean that James had died. However, given that his land remains on the list, combined with the fact that his sons left for Grainger about this same time, could cause one to wonder if James went to Grainger County in spite of his advanced age.

One final lawsuit in 1798 is James Moore versus Charles Dupreast for an attachment against defendant. William Thomas, garnishee, says he has nothing. Again, I don’t know if this is the correct James Moore.

By 1799, Mackness Moore is living in Grainger County, Tennessee. Rice Moore went with him, although it’s unknown if this was at the same time. Rice, a Methodist minister, was in East Tennessee by 1797.

In 1806 through 1811, the 50 acres remains on the Halifax County tax list when a James Moore once again emerges on the personal property tax list with 1 white poll and nothing else.

In 1812 and 1813, James Moore is shown with 50 acres, but it’s listed on Grassy Creek which would not be the correct James Moore.

Beginning in 1798, James life fades to gray, then black.

We simply don’t know what happened, or more precisely, when the inevitable happened.

James Moore’s Land in Halifax County

James bought and sold land in Halifax County. Using DeedMapper, we have the plots of James Spradling’s two land grants, as well as that of the land James sold to William Moore.

I wrote about those in detail in the article about Lucy Moore.

In 2008, I visited Halifax County and cousin Olen was gracious enough to take me to visit the Henderson cemeteries. Yes, there are two. The original cemetery on James Moore’s land is in the woods on the land he owned, now owned by the Henderson family. The second, younger cemetery is on Henderson land that may well have been some of James’s original land as well.

While the Moore family moved on or died out in Halifax County, for the most part, the Hendersons stayed and thrived, still owning much of that land today.

James Moore cousin Olen.jpg

Come along with cousin Olen and me as we take you with us to visit the now Henderson, then Moore, cemetery located down the 2-track known as Henderson Trail.

James Moore Blue Ridge.jpg

This is stunning, breathtaking country. That’s the Blue Ridge in the distance.

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Looking around.

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Drinking it in. James walked here for the last quarter century of his life.

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This road still beckons to me all these year later.

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Definitely on James land now.

James Moore pond.jpg

Those branches of Birches Creek provide ponds.

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Getting close to the woods where the cemetery is located.

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In that clump of trees. I’m excited – we’re getting close now!

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It’s early spring – the underbrush is too heavy later.

James Moore cemetery in spring.jpg

Fresh spring-green leaves just budding. Shall we find our way inside?

James Moore cemetery.jpg

Periwinkle, the perennial favorite in all cemeteries in the south.

James Moore cemetery 2.jpg

The dainty white flowers are so graceful and beautiful.

James Moore cemetery 3.jpg

The periwinkle gives the cemetery location away with the field stones marking the final resting place of ancestors and family members, nestled in the periwinkle.

James Moore cemetery 4.jpg

“I’m here, I’m here…,” they call.

James Moore cemetery 5.jpg

“Did you come to find me?”

James Moore cemetery 6.jpg

This stone looks like a stick, but it’s a stone stood sideways. Perhaps a name was originally scratched on the surface, but there is nothing now.

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Trees have grown around the graves in the decades since burial, because graves could not have been dug with the roots.

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This is not a small cemetery. I’m sure there are graves everyplace.

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I know beyond a doubt that James Moore is here, along with wife Mary, son William and his wife, Lucy. Edward Henderson and wife Lydia Moore would be buried here too. Probably several of thier respective children too.

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More fieldstones as we walk around.

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I wonder if this larger stone marks James’ grave, along with the yucca plants. It looks like this grave has been better maintained than some of the others. Someone loved this person.

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William Moore’s unmarried daughters are probably buried here too, as is Thomas Moore, son or grandson of James who died in 1801.

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Wait, I see a stone with a name!

James Moore cemetery 14.jpg

J. Henry Midkiff, a farm laborer, married Susanna Henderson, daughter of William Henderson and Piety Jones. I’m sure that Susanna rests here as well, beside her siblings, parents, grandparents John Edward Henderson and Sarah Clark, her great-grandparents Edward Henderson and Lydia Moore and her great-great-grandparents, James Moore and Mary Rice.

James Moore cemetery 15.jpg

S. K. Henderson is Sarah K. Henderson whose parents were Richard Clark Henderson and Carolyn Firesheetz. Richard’s parents were John Edward Henderson and Sarah Clark. John’s parents were…you guessed it…Edward Henderson and Lydia Moore.

Sarah was five generations removed from James Moore and that was in 1845. Today Sarah’s descendants are probably 10 generations or more removed.

S. K. Henderson was married to her first cousin C. N. Henderson.

James Moore cemetery 16.jpg

C. N. Henderson is Charles N. Henderson, the son of William Henderson and Piety Jones. William’s parents were John Edward Henderson and Sarah Clark.

Henderson Cemetery

Olen knew of a second Henderson Cemetery too, a little further down Oak Level Road, south of Henderson Trail.

This Henderson Cemetery has been indexed. The older cemetery, above, has not and is not included on Find-A-Grave either.

James Moore Henderson cemetery transcribed.jpg

The oldest grave here is Richard Clark Henderson who served in the Civil War. He married Nancy Satterfield as his third wife. Richard’s father was John Edward Henderson and his mother was Sarah Clark.

James Moore Henderson cemetery topo.jpg

This Henderson Cemetery is located across from the Oak Level Fire department, as shown on the map that Olen provided, above.

James Moore Henderson cemetery aerial.png

Today, using Google maps.

James Moore Henderson cemetery approach crop.png

Approaching the cemetery.

James Moore Henderson cemetery.jpg

I photographed every stone I could find.

James Moore Henderson cemetery 1.jpg

Lots of Yucca here, although is cemetery is a field, not in the woods.

James Moore Henderson cemetery 2.jpg

Richard Clark Henderson was the son of John Henderson and Sarah Clark. Sarah was the daughter of William Clark and Elizabeth Younger, who was the daughter of Marcus Younger and Susanna whose last name is unknown.

This means that my DNA matches through this branch of the Henderson family could come through the Moore line or through the Younger line. Of course, with colonial Virginia in play, they could also come via other unknown lines as well.

James Moore Henderson cemetery 3.jpg

Olen is related to the people in this cemetery. The Younger family married into the Hendersons as well as into the Estes family. John R. Estes married Nancy Ann Moore. I’ve always wondered how these people met, because they did not live in close proximity to each other, with the Youngers on the Banister River and the Estes family in South Boston. I believe the connection was the early Methodist religion.

James Moore Henderson cemetery 4.jpg

Nancy Henderson

James Moore Henderson cemetery 5.jpg

This cemetery was fenced a dozen years ago, but not mowed.

James Moore Henderson cemetery 6.jpg

I took the photos above, myself, but part of James Moore’s land is for sale today, and you can see more pictures at this link.

Tradition of Methodist Ministers

James Moore and his Rice wife, whether it was Mary or one of her sisters, had several children who migrated to Grainger County, as mentioned in the Holston Methodistism reproduced in Distant Crossroads (Hawkins County, TN) in 2003.

James Moore Coldwell cemetery.jpg

The County Line Meeting House was on the north side of the Holston River on the line between Hawkins and Jefferson (now Grainger) counties and was mentioned in the formation of Grainger County.

I visited and took the photo, above, where I was told that the Meeting House used to be, in front of what is now called the Coldwell Cemetery.

James Moore Coldwell cemetery fence.jpg

There are lots of Stubblefields, Dodsons and McAnally’s buried here.

James Moore Moore's Chapel Road.jpg

Moore’s Chapel Road is very close by, but no one in the neighborhood knew where the actual Chapel used to be.

James Moore Coldwell cemetery 2.jpg

It’s a beautiful, old cemetery, and several of James Moore’s descendants are likely buried here.

James Moore Mooresburg.png

Ironically, the address is Mooresburg.

However, I have since discovered that indeed, this is NOT the County Line Cemetery nor where the County Line Church was located. In fact, the County Line Cemetery is now an abandoned cemetery adjacent the Meeks Cemetery on old County Line Road.

James Moore County Line church.png

According to locals, the old Church and homesteads are now under Cherokee Lake.

One word of caution for researchers is that several Moore lines settled in Grainger County and only Y DNA has been able to sort them out.

According to the Distant Crossroads article once again:

About the year 1792 a company of emigrants from Virginia settled here and between 1792 and 1795 organized a society. Among the original members were Martin Stubblefield and wife Sallie, Richard Thomson and wife Mary, Rice Moore and wife, John Henry Brown, Edward Rice, Amos Howell, Charles McAnally, Bsil Guess and John McAnally and wife, some of whom lived in Hawkins County. These men were all able exhorters.

Mr. Moore afterwards became an able and useful local preacher. Their wives also “(s)elect ladies” as they were labored in the cause of the gospel. Prayer and class meetings were kept up regularly from house to house. Sometimes it would happen that the men were absent holding meetings in other neighborhoods. In that event Mrs. Sallie Stubblefield would lead the meeting and would often deliver an exhortation. She was able in prayer and exhortation. These families have been represented in the ministry to the present day. Vol 1 page 136.

The Western Conference met at Chillicothe, Ohio Sept. 14, 1807. Bishop Asbury presided. A ride of 360 miles after leaving Chillicothe brought Asbury to Martin Stubblefield’s Oct 12th. There, weary as he was, he preached at night and felt powerfully disposed to sing and shout as loud as the youngest. Page 81 Volume 11

Bishop Asbury in passing through East Tennessee was accustomed to visit the Stubblefield’s at County Line. Martin Stubblefield was a favorite stopping place of his. At County Line there were 3 brothers, Thomas, Joseph and Martin Stubblefield.

Martin Stubblefield at an early day removed himself to Ohio, driving the team himself. In Cincinnati the team became frightened and ran away and killed him and he was buried there.

Not mentioned in the above article is that William Moore’s daughter, Nancy Ann who married John R. Estes had also arrived by 1820. Lemuel, probable son of James also settled here before moving on to Kentucky.

James Moore’s Children

I’ve assembled James’ proven and probable children with birthdates estimated from marriages and other legal documents where a minimum required age is known:

  • James Moore, born about 1746, possibly as late as 1753, is noted as taxable with James Sr. in 1767 in Prince Edward Co. James was originally believed to have gone to East Tennessee with the other Moore men, as several James were found there, but DNA testing suggests otherwise. One James Moore whose descendant’s Y DNA matches our line is found in Stokes County, NC by 1791 and is believed to have been there earlier, having married Susanna Jones in about 1770. A James Moore Jr. witnessed a deed with a Susanna Moore in Halifax County for his father, James, in 1774. James Moore died in DeKalb County, Tennessee on March 3, 1831 and Susanna died there on July 27, 1825 according to the family Bible. They named their children Eunice, Zachariah, Thomas, Massy, Nancy and Sarah Jane.
  • Lydia, wife of Edward Henderson, is almost unquestionably a Moore. Edward Henderson has a lifelong relationship with the Moore family and owns land which is sold to him by James, abutting both James and William Moore’s land. Edward and Lydia name a child Rice Henderson. Edward Henderson was born about 1746 and died in 1833 in Halifax County. It’s likely that Lydia was about the same age. James sold land to Edward in 1787 but Edward was witnessing land transactions for James as early as 1778. Their earliest known child, James Henderson was born about 1775. Other children were named Sally, Peggy, Oney, John, Rice, Edward and Mary. Edward served twice in the Revolutionary War. I have DNA matches with people who descend from this line.
  • The Reverend William Moore born probably about 1750 married Lucy whose surname is unknown about 1772, likely in Halifax County, but there is no marriage record. William was a very early Methodist minister, ordained by 1775, eventually breaking with the Methodist church and was instrumental in forming the Christian Church which survives yet today in Halifax County. He died in Halifax County in 1826.
  • Thomas Moore, born 1761 or before is believed to be a son of James Moore. He is found on the tax list beginning in 1783 but only sporadically. A Thomas is found in 1792, 1798, 1799 and 1800. The Thomas in the 1790s is likely the Thomas who married Polly Baker in 1798 and by 1801 had left two orphan boys, Raleigh and William. The Thomas in 1783 is too old to be the son of William Moore and may be unrelated. The Thomas Moore from the 1790s may be the son of William, not the son of James Moore. Y and autosomal DNA testing has confirmed the connection.
  • The Reverend Rice Moore, born in 1762 or before, married Elizabeth Madison in 1776, moved to Greene County Tennessee by 1797, was in Hawkins the portion that became Grainger County, Tennessee before 1800 and died in 1834. Like his brother William he was a Methodist minister. He named children Elizabeth, Mary, Nancy, William and John B. Moore.
  • Mackness Moore, born 1765 or earlier, married Sarah Thompson in 1789, and died after October 1844 when he wrote his will and before May 19, 1849 in Grainger Co., TN. Rice and Mackness both left Halifax County before 1800. Mackness named children Mastin, John, Elizabeth, James, Samuel, Sarah, Sally and Richard.
  • Sally (Sarah) Moore was born about 1767 and married Martin Stubblefield in October 1788 with James Rice as surety. This family also migrated to Grainger Co., TN, naming their children Nancy, Rebecca, James, Mary, Elizabeth Ann and Robert Wesley.
  • Mary Moore, probably born before 1769 was married to Richard Thompson in February 1789 by the Rev. William Moore with Edward Henderson as surety. The Richard Thompson family is in Grainger Co. with the other Moore siblings. Their children were named Mary, William, James, John and Frances.
  • Lemuel Moore, born before 1777 is thought to be the son of James Moore. Lemuel Moore is found in 1797 in Greene County, TN beside Rice Moore. One Lemuel Moore is found on the tax list in Halifax County in 1801, but not in the following years. Lemuel Moore married Anna Stubblefield in 1804 in Grainger County and died in 1859 in Laurel County, Kentucky. I have several DNA matches with descendants of this couple.

Another Lemuel Moore is found in Halifax County in 1812 on the tax list, still there when an 1825 debt suit is filed against him, but is found in 1830 in Grainger County. I believe the elder Lemuel is the son of James Moore and the one found in Halifax County between 1812-1825 is probably the son of William Moore. Lemuel is sometimes spelled Samuel.

I found a document in the chancery files where on November 2, 1812 where George Estes, his son John R. Estes (who married Nancy Ann Moore, daughter of William Moore) and Lemuel Moore (proposed brother of Nancy Ann) all 3 signed a deposition in a lawsuit pertaining to Phoebe Combs, related to John R. Estes. This is highly suggestive that the Lemuel in 1812 is the son of William Moore, and the Lemuel who left Halifax County before 1800 is the son of James Moore.


Based on the associations of James Moore with his neighbors, and his marriage into the Joseph Rice family, I was pretty well convinced that our Moore line was English. I might have been wrong.

Now, there’s the matter of a pesky Y DNA match to a man who claims his paternal line is from Scotland. He hasn’t answered e-mails yet, but I’m still hoping.

There were Moore families involved with the Cub Creek settlement which was Scotch-Irish, but James, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t seem to be associated with that group. However, the dissenting meeting house built in 1759 by his father-in-law clearly wasn’t Anglican. Baptists have no concentrated history in the county that early and neither do Methodists. That leaves Presbyterians.

  • Is the new Y DNA match wrong about his ancestral line?
  • Was James Moore actually Scotch-Irish?
  • Did James meet and marry Joseph Rice’s daughter in Amelia County, or, did he marry her in Hanover County, joining with his father-in-law in the “Hanover migration” to Prince Edward County sometime after Joseph Rice is last found in the merchant accounts in 1743 in Hanover County?
  • In 1741, Joseph’s brother Matthew acquired land in Amelia County and in 1746, so did Joseph Rice, both on the Sandy River.
  • Matthew Rice married Ann McGeehee, a Scotch-Irish woman.

So, there is indeed at least a tenuous Scotch-Irish family connection.

A Late-Breaking Clue – Betsy McGinnis

According to her Revolutionary War pension application, Betsy McGinnis was married in the spring of 1785 to William Morris in Halifax County by her cousin, Rev. William Moore who was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

James Moore Betsey McGinnis Morris pension application.png

This may be a HUGE hint, because if Betsy and William Moore were first cousins, that means they shared grandparents. Of course, cousin could have been used more liberally, but clearly Betsey and William knew they were related.

William Moore’s parents of course were James Moore and the daughter of Joseph Rice.

We don’t know who James’s parents were, and Joseph Rice’s wife was named Rachel at his death.

Therefore, if we can figure out the genealogy of Betsy McGinnis, specifically who her grandparents were, the James Moore brick wall may fall. Either that or the wife of Joseph Rice might be identified.

If you descend from James Moore or Joseph Rice, will you please check to see if you have any matches to people who descend from William Morris born in 1758 in Halifax County, VA and died in 1824 in DeKalb County, GA and his wife Betsy McGinnis who was born about 1761 and probably died in 1841 in Dekalb County? If you match, please let me know.

It seems we are often left with more questions than answers, but I just feel this answer is so, so close.




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First Steps When Your DNA Results are Ready – Sticking Your Toe in the Genealogy Water

First steps helix

Recently someone asked me what the first steps would be for a person who wasn’t terribly familiar with genealogy and had just received their DNA test results.

I wrote an article called DNA Results – First Glances at Ethnicity and Matching which was meant to show new folks what the various vendor interfaces look like. I was hoping this might whet their appetites for more, meaning that the tester might, just might, stick their toe into the genealogy waters😊

I’m hoping this article will help them get hooked! Maybe that’s you!

A Guide

This article can be read in one of two ways – as an overview, or, if you click the links, as a pretty thorough lesson. If you’re new, I strongly suggest reading it as an overview first, then a second time as a deeper dive. Use it as a guide to navigate your results as you get your feet wet.

I’ll be hotlinking to various articles I’ve written on lots of topics, so please take a look at details (eventually) by clicking on those links!

This article is meant as a guideline for what to do, and how to get started with your DNA matching results!

If you’re looking for ethnicity information, check out the First Glances article, plus here and here and here.

Concepts – Calculating Ethnicity Percentages provides you with guidelines for how to estimate your own ethnicity percentages based on your known genealogy and Ethnicity Testing – A Conundrum explains how ethnicity testing is done.

OK, let’s get started. Fun awaits!

The Goal

The goal for using DNA matching in genealogy depends on your interests.

  1. To discover cousins and family members that you don’t know. Some people are interested in finding and meeting relatives who might have known their grandparents or great-grandparents in the hope of discovering new family information or photos they didn’t know existed previously. I’ve been gifted with my great-grandparent’s pictures, so this strategy definitely works!
  2. To confirm ancestors. This approach presumes that you’ve done at least a little genealogy, enough to construct at least a rudimentary tree. Ancestors are “confirmed” when you DNA match multiple other people who descend from the same ancestor through multiple children. I wrote an article, Ancestors: What Constitutes Proof?, discussing how much evidence is enough to actually confirm an ancestor. Confirmation is based on a combination of both genealogical records and DNA matching and it varies depending on the circumstances.
  3. Adoptees and people with unknown parents seeking to discover the identities of those people aren’t initially looking at their own family tree – because they don’t have one yet. The genealogy of others can help them figure out the identity of those mystery people. I wrote about that technique in the article, Identifying Unknown Parents and Individuals Using DNA Matching.

DNAAdoption for Everyone

Educational resources for adoptees and non-adoptees alike can be found at www.dnaadoption.org. DNAAdoption is not just for adoptees and provides first rate education for everyone. They also provide trained and mentored search angels for adoptees who understand the search process along with the intricacies of navigating the emotional minefield of adoption and unknown parent searches.

First Look” classes for each vendor are free for everyone at DNAAdoption and are self-paced, downloadable onto your computer as a pdf file. Intro to DNA, Applied Autosomal DNA and Y DNA Basics classes are nominally priced at between $29 and $49 and I strongly recommend these. DNAAdoption is entirely non-profit, so your class fee or contribution supports their work. Additional resources can be found here and their 12 adoptee search steps here.

Ok, now let’s look at your results.

Matches are the Key

Regardless of your goal, your DNA matches are the key to finding answers, whether you want to make contact with close relatives, prove your more distant ancestors or you’re involved in an adoptee or unknown parent search.

Your DNA matches that of other people because each of you inherited a piece of DNA, called a segment, where many locations are identical. The length of that DNA segment is measured in centiMorgans and those locations are called SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms. You can read about the definition of a centimorgan and how they are used in the article Concepts – CentiMorgans, SNPs and Pickin’Crab.

While the scientific details are great, they aren’t important initially. What is important is to understand that the more closely you match someone, the more closely you are related to them. You share more DNA with close relatives than more distant relatives.

For example, I share exactly half of my mother’s DNA, but only about 25% of each of my grandparents’ DNA. As the relationships move further back in time, I share less and less DNA with other people who descend from those same ancestors.

Informational Tools

Every vendor’s match page looks different, as was illustrated in the First Glances article, but regardless, you are looking for four basic pieces of information:

  • Who you match
  • How much DNA you share with your match
  • Who else you and your match share that DNA with, which suggests that you all share a common ancestor
  • Family trees to reveal the common ancestor between people who match each other

Every vendor has different ways of displaying this information, and not all vendors provide everything. For example, 23andMe does not support trees, although they allow you to link to one elsewhere. Ancestry does not provide a tool called a chromosome browser which allows you to see if you and others match on the same segment of DNA. Ancestry only tells you THAT you match, not HOW you match.

Each vendor has their strengths and shortcomings. As genealogists, we simply need to understand how to utilize the information available.

I’ll be using examples from all 4 major vendors:

Your matches are the most important information and everything else is based on those matches.

Family Tree DNA

I have tested many family members from both sides of my family at Family Tree DNA using the Family Finder autosomal test which makes my matches there incredibly useful because I can see which family members, in addition to me, my matches match.

Family Tree DNA assigns matches to maternal and paternal sides in a unique way, even if your parents haven’t tested, so long as some close relatives have tested. Let’s take a look.

First Steps Family Tree DNA matches.png

Sign on to your account and click to see your matches.

At the top of your Family Finder matches page, you’ll see three groups of things, shown below.

First Steps Family Tree DNA bucketing

Click to enlarge

A row of tools at the top titled Chromosome Browser, In Common With and Not in Common With.

A second row of tabs that include All, Paternal, Maternal and Both. These are the maternal and paternal tabs I mentioned, meaning that I have a total of 4645 matches, 988 of which are from my paternal side and 847 of which are from my maternal side.

Family Tree DNA assigns people to these “buckets” based on matches with third cousins or closer if you have them attached in your tree. This is why it’s critical to have a tree and test close relatives, especially people from earlier generations like aunts, uncles, great-aunts/uncles and their children if they are no longer living.

If you have one or both parents that can test, that’s a wonderful boon because anyone who matches you and one of your parents is automatically bucketed, or phased (scientific term) to that parent’s side of the tree. However, at Family Tree DNA, it’s not required to have a parent test to have some matches assigned to maternal or paternal sides. You just need to test third cousins or closer and attach them to the proper place in your tree.

How does bucketing work?

Maternal or Paternal “Side” Assignment, aka Bucketing

If I match a maternal first cousin, Cheryl, for example, and we both match John Doe on the same segment, John Doe is automatically assigned to my maternal bucket with a little maternal icon placed beside the match.

First Steps Family Tree DNA match info

Click to enlarge

Every vendor provides an estimated or predicted relationship based on a combination of total centiMorgans and the longest contiguous matching segment. The actual “linked relationship” is calculated based on where this person resides in your tree.

The common surnames at far right are a very nice features, but not every tester provides that information. When the testers do include surnames at Family Tree DNA, common surnames are bolded. Other vendors have similar features.

People with trees are shown near their profile picture with a blue pedigree icon. Clicking on the pedigree icon will show you their ancestors. Your matches estimated relationship to you indicates how far back you should expect to share an ancestor.

For example, first cousins share grandparents. Second cousins share great-grandparents. In general, the further back in time your common ancestor, the less DNA you can be expected to share.

You can view relationship information in chart form in my article here or utilize DNAPainter tools, here, to see the various possibilities for the different match levels.

Clicking on the pedigree chart of your match will show you their tree. In my tree, I’ve connected my parents in their proper places, along with Cheryl and Don, mother’s first cousins. (Yes, they’ve given permission for me to utilize their results, so they aren’t always blurred in images.)

Cheryl and Don are my first cousins once removed, meaning my mother is their first cousin and I’m one generation further down the tree. I’m showing the amount of DNA that I share with each of them in red in the format of total DNA shared and longest unbroken segment, taken from the match list. So 382-53 means I share a total of 382 cM and 53 cM is the longest matching block.

First Steps Family Tree DNA tree.png

The Chromosome Browser

Utilizing the chromosome browser, I can see exactly where I match both Don and Cheryl. It’s obvious that I match them on at least some different pieces of my DNA, because the total and longest segment amounts are different.

The reason it’s important to test lots of close relatives is because even siblings inherit different pieces of DNA from their parents, and they don’t pass the same DNA to their offspring either – so in each generation the amount of shared DNA is probably reduced. I say probably because sometimes segments are passed entirely and sometimes not at all, which is how we “lose” our ancestors’ DNA over the generations.

Here’s a matching example utilizing a chromosome browser.

First Steps Family Tree DNA chromosome browser.png

I clicked the checkboxes to the left of both Cheryl and Don on the match page, then the Chromosome Browser button, and now you can see, above, on chromosomes 1-16 where I match Cheryl (blue) and Don (red.)

In this view, both Don and Cheryl are being compared to me, since I’m the one signed in to my account and viewing my DNA matches. Therefore, one of the bars at each chromosome represents Don’s DNA match to me and one represents Cheryl’s. Cheryl is the first person and Don is the second. Person match colors (red and blue) are assigned arbitrarily by the system.

My grandfather and Cheryl/Don’s father, Roscoe, were siblings.

You can see that on some segments, my grandfather and Roscoe inherited the same segment of DNA from their parents, because today, my mother gave me that exact same segment that I share with both Don and Cheryl. Those segments are exactly identical and shown in the black boxes.

The only way for us to share this DNA today is for us to have shared a common ancestor who gave it to two of their children who passed it on to their descendants who DNA tested today.

On other segments, in red boxes, I share part of the same segments of DNA with Cheryl and Don, but someone along the line didn’t inherit all of that segment. For example on chromosome 3, in the red box, you can see that I share more with Cheryl (blue) than Don (red.)

In other cases, I share with either Don or Cheryl, but Don and Cheryl didn’t inherit that same segment of DNA from their father, so I don’t share with both of them. Those are the areas where you see only blue or only red.

On chromosome 12, you can see where it looks like Don’s and Cheryl’s segments butt up against each other. The DNA was clearly divided there. Don received one piece and Cheryl got the other. That’s known as a crossover and you can read about crossovers here, if you’d like.

It’s important to be able to view segment information to be able to see how others match in order to identify which common ancestor that DNA came from.

In Common With

You can use the “In Common With” tool to see who you match in common with any match. My first 6 matches in common with Cheryl are shown below. Note that they are already all bucketed to my maternal side.

First Steps Family Tree DNA in common with

click to enlarge

You can click on up to 7 individuals in the check box at left to show them on the chromosome browser at once to see if they match you on common segments.

Each matching segment has its own history and may descend from a different ancestor in your common tree.

First Steps 7 match chromosome browser

click to enlarge

If combinations of people do match me on a common segment, because these matches are all on my maternal side, they are triangulated and we know they have to descend from a common ancestor, assuming the segment is large enough. You can read about the concept of triangulation here. Triangulation occurs when 3 or more people (who aren’t extremely closely related like parents or siblings) all match each other on the same reasonably sized segment of DNA.

If you want to download your matches and work through this process in a spreadsheet, that’s an option too.

Size Matters

Small segments can be identical by chance instead of identical by descent.

  • “Identical by chance” means that you accidentally match someone because your DNA on that segment has been combined from both parents and causes it to match another person, making the segment “looks like” it comes from a common ancestor, when it really doesn’t. When DNA is sequenced, both your mother and father’s strands are sequenced, meaning that there’s no way to determine which came from whom. Think of a street with Mom’s side and Dad’s side with identical addresses on the houses on both sides. I wrote about that here.
  • “Identical by descent” means that the DNA is identical because it actually descends from a common ancestor. I discussed that concept in the article, We Match, But Are We Related.

Generally, we only utilize 7cM (centiMorgan) segments and above because at that level, about half of the segments are identical by descent and about half are identical by chance, known as false positives. By the time we move above 15 cM, most, but not all, matches are legitimate. You can read about segment size and accuracy here.

Using “In Common With” and the Matrix

“In Common With” is about who shares DNA. You can select someone you match to see who else you BOTH match. Just because you match two other people doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s on the same segment of DNA. In fact, you could match one person from your mother’s side and the other person from your father’s side.

First Steps match matrix.png

In this example, you match Person B due to ancestor John Doe and Person C due to ancestor Susie Smith. However, Person B also matches person C, but due to ancestor William West that they share and you don’t.

This example shows you THAT they match, but not HOW they match.

The only way to assure that the matches between the three people above are due to the same ancestor is to look at the segments with a chromosome browser and compare all 3 people to each other. Finding 3 people who match on the same segment, from the same side of your tree means that (assuming a reasonably large segment) you share a common ancestor.

Family Tree DNA has a nice matrix function that allows you to see which of your matches also match each other.

First steps matrix link

click to enlarge

The important distinction between the matrix and the chromosome browser is that the chromosome browser shows you where your matches match you, but those matches could be from both sides of your tree, unless they are bucketed. The matrix shows you if your matches also match each other, which is a huge clue that they are probably from the same side of your tree.

First Steps Family Tree DNA matrix.png

A matrix match is a significant clue in terms of who descends from which ancestors. For example, I know, based on who Amy matches, and who she doesn’t match, that she descends from the Ferverda side and that Charles, Rex and Maxine descend from ancestors on the Miller side.

Looking in the chromosome browser, I can tell that Cheryl, Don, Amy and I match on some common segments.

Matching multiple people on the same segment that descends from a common ancestor is called triangulation.

Let’s take a look at the MyHeritage triangulation tool.


Moving now to MyHeritage who provides us with an easy to use triangulation tool, we see the following when clicking on DNA matches on the DNA tab on the toolbar.

First Steps MyHeritage matches

click to enlarge

Cousin Cheryl is at MyHeritage too. By clicking on Review DNA Match, the purple button on the right, I can see who else I match in common with Cheryl, plus triangulation.

The list of people Cheryl and I both match is shown below, along with our relationships to each person.

First Steps MyHeritage triangulation

click to enlarge

I’ve selected 2 matches to illustrate.

The first match has a little purple icon to the right which means that Amy triangulates with me and Cheryl.

The second match, Rex, means that while we both match Rex, it’s not on the same segment. I know that without looking further because there is no triangulation button. We both match Rex, but Cheryl matches Rex on a different segment than I do.

Without additional genealogy work, using DNA alone, I can’t say whether or not Cheryl, Rex and I all share a common ancestor. As it turns out, we do. Rex is a known cousin who I tested. However, in an unknown situation, I would have to view the trees of those matches to make that determination.


Clicking on the purple triangulation icon for Amy shows me the segments that all 3 of us, me, Amy and Cheryl share in common as compared to me.

First Steps MyHeritage triangulation chromosome browser.png

Cheryl is red and Amy is yellow. The one segment bracketed with the rounded rectangle is the segment shared by all 3 of us.

Do we have a common ancestor? I know Cheryl and I do, but maybe I don’t know who Amy is. Let’s look at Amy’s tree which is also shown if I scroll down.

First Steps MyHeritage common ancestor.png

Amy didn’t have her tree built out far enough to show our common ancestor, but I immediately recognized the surname Ferveda found in her tree a couple of generations back. Darlene was the daughter of Donald Ferverda who was the son of Hiram Ferverda, my great-grandfather.

Hiram was the father of Cheryl’s father, Roscoe and my grandfather, John Ferverda.

First Steps Hiram Ferverda pedigree.png

Amy is my first cousin twice removed and that segment of DNA that I share with her is from either Hiram Ferverda or his wife Eva Miller.

Now, based on who else Amy matches, I can probably tell whether that segment descends from Hiram or Eva.

Viva triangulation!

Theory of Family Relativity

MyHeritage’s Theory of Family Relativity provides theories to people whose DNA matches regarding their common ancestor if MyHeritage can calculate how the 2 people are potentially related.

MyHeritage uses a combination of tools to make that connection, including:

  • DNA matches
  • Your tree
  • Your match’s tree
  • Other people’s trees at MyHeritage, FamilySearch and Geni if the common ancestor cannot be found in your tree compared against your DNA match’s MyHeritage
  • Documents in the MyHeritage data collection, such as census records, for example.

MyHeritage theory update

To view the Theories, click on the purple “View Theories” banner or “View theory” under the DNA match.

First Steps MyHeritage theory of relativity

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The theory is displayed in summary format first.

MyHeritage view full theory

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You can click on the “View Full Theory” to see the detail and sources about how MyHeritage calculated various paths. I have up to 5 different theories that utilize separate resources.

MyHeritage review match

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A wonderful aspect of this feature is that MyHeritage shows you exactly the information they utilized and calculates a confidence factor as well.

All theories should be viewed as exactly that and should be evaluated critically for accuracy, taking into consideration sources and documentation.

I wrote about using Theories of Relativity, with instructions, here and here.

I love this tool and find the Theories mostly accurate.


Ancestry doesn’t offer a chromosome browser or triangulation but does offer a tree view for people that you match, so long as you have a subscription. In the past, a special “Light” subscription for DNA only was available for approximately $49 per year that provided access to the trees of your DNA matches and other DNA-related features. You could not order online and had to call support, sometimes asking for a supervisor in order to purchase that reduced-cost subscription. The “Light” subscription did not provide access to anything outside of DNA results, meaning documents, etc. I don’t know if this is still available.

After signing on, click on DNA matches on the DNA tab on the toolbar.

You’ll see the following match list.

First Steps Ancestry matches

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I’ve tested twice at Ancestry, the second time when they moved to their new chip, so I’m my own highest match. Click on any match name to view more.

First Steps Ancestry shared matches

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You’ll see information about common ancestors if you have some in your trees, plus the amount of shared DNA along with a link to Shared Matches.

I found one of the same cousins at Ancestry whose match we were viewing at MyHeritage, so let’s see what her match to me at Ancestry looks like.

Below are my shared matches with that cousin. The notes to the right are mine, not provided by Ancestry. I make extensive use of the notes fields provided by the vendors.

First Steps Ancestry shared matches with cousin

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On your match list, you can click on any match, then on Shared Matches to see who you both match in common. While Ancestry provides no chromosome browser, you can see the amount of DNA that you share and trees, if any exist.

Let’s look at a tree comparison when a common ancestor can be detected in a tree within the past 7 generations.

First Steps Ancestry view ThruLines.png

What’s missing of course is that I can’t see how we match because there’s no chromosome browser, nor can I see if my matches match each other.

Stitched Trees

What I can see, if I click on “View ThruLines” above or ThruLines on the DNA Summary page on the main DNA tab is all of the people I match who Ancestry THINKS we descend from a common ancestor. This ancestor information isn’t always taken from either person’s tree.

For example, if my match hadn’t included Hiram Ferverda in her tree, Ancestry would use other people’s trees to “stitch them together” such that the tester is shown to be descended from a common ancestor with me. Sometimes these stitched trees are accurate and sometimes they are not, although they have improved since they were first released. I wrote about ThruLines here.

First Steps Ancestry ThruLines tree

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In closer generations, especially if you are looking to connect with cousins, tree matching is a very valuable tool. In the graphic above, you can see all of the cousins who descend from Hiram Ferverda who have tested and DNA match to me. These DNA matches to me either descend from Hiram according to their trees, or Ancestry believes they descend from Hiram based on other people’s trees.

With more distant ancestors, other people’s trees are increasingly likely to be copied with no sources, so take them with a very large grain of salt (perchance the entire salt lick.) I use ThruLines as hints, not gospel, especially the further back in time the common ancestor. I wish they reached back another couple of generations. They are great hints and they end with the 7th generation where my brick walls tend to begin!


I haven’t mentioned 23andMe yet in this article. Genealogists do test there, especially adoptees who need to fish in every pond.

23andMe is often the 4th choice of the major 4 vendors for genealogy due to the following challenges:

  • No tree support, other than allowing you to link to a tree at FamilySearch or elsewhere. This means no tree matching.
  • Less than 2000 matches, meaning that every person is limited to a maximum of 2000 matches, minus however many of those 2000 don’t opt-in for genealogical matching. Given that 23andMe’s focus is increasingly health, my number of matches continues to decrease and is currently just over 1500. The good news is that those 1500 are my highest, meaning closest matches. The bad news is the genealogy is not 23andMe’s focus.

If you are an adoptee, a die-hard genealogist or specifically interested in ethnicity, then test at 23andMe. Otherwise all three of the other vendors would be better choices.

However, like the other vendors, 23andMe does have some features that are unique.

Their ethnicity predictions are acknowledged to be excellent. Ethnicity at 23andMe is called Ancestry Composition, and you’ll see that immediately when you sign in to your account.

First Steps 23andMe DNA Relatives.png

Your matches at 23andMe are found under DNA Relatives.

First Steps 23andMe tools

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At left, you’ll find filters and the search box.

Mom’s and Dad’s side filter matches if you’ve tested your parents, but it’s not like the Family Tree DNA bucketing that provides maternal and paternal side bucketing by utilizing through third cousins if your parents aren’t available for testing.

Family names aren’t your family names, but the top family names that match to you. Guess what my highest name is? Smith.

However, Ancestor Birthplaces are quite useful because you can sort by country. For example, my mother’s grandfather Ferverda was born in the Netherlands.

First Steps 23andMe country.png

If I click on Netherlands, I can see my 5 matches with ancestors born in the Netherlands. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I match because of my match’s Dutch ancestors, but it does provide me with a place to look for a common ancestor and I can proceed by seeing who I match in common with those matches. Unfortunately, without trees we’re left to rely on ancestor birthplaces and family surnames, if my matches have entered that information.

One of my Dutch matches also matches my Ferverda cousin. Given that connection, and that the Ferverda family immigrated from Holland in 1868, that’s a starting point.

MyHeritage has a similar features and they are much more prevalent in Europe.

By clicking on my Ferverda cousin, I can view the DNA we share, who we match in common, our common ethnicity and more. I have the option of comparing multiple people in the chromosome browser by clicking on “View DNA Comparison” and then selecting who I wish to compare.

First Steps 23andMe view DNA Comparison.png

By scrolling down instead of clicking on View DNA Comparison, I can view where my Ferverda cousin matches me on my chromosomes, shown below.

First STeps 23andMe chromosome browser.png

23andMe identifies completely identical segments which would be painted in dark purple, the legend at bottom left.

Adoptees love this feature because it would immediately differentiate between half and full siblings. Full siblings share approximately 25% of the exact DNA on both their maternal and paternal strands of DNA, while half siblings only share the DNA from one parent – assuming their parents aren’t closely related. I share no completely identical DNA with my Ferverda cousin, so no segments are painted dark purple.

23andMe and Ancestry Maps Show Where Your Matches Live

Another reason that adoptees and people searching for birth parents or unknown relatives like 23andMe is because of the map function.

After clicking on DNA Relatives, click on the Map function at the top of the page which displays the following map.

First Steps 23andMe map

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This isn’t a map of where your matches ancestors lived, but is where your matches THEMSELVES live. Furthermore, you can zoom in, click on the button and it displays the name of the individual and the city where they live or whatever they entered in the location field.

First Steps 23andMe your location on map.png

I entered a location in my profile and confirmed that the location indeed displays on my match’s maps by signing on to another family member’s account. What I saw is the display above. I’d wager that most testers don’t realize that their home location and photo, if entered, is being displayed to their matches.

I think sharing my ancestors’ locations is a wonderful, helpful, idea, but there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for anyone to know where I live and I feel it’s stalker-creepy and a safety risk.

First Steps 23andMe questions.png

If you enter a location in this field in your profile, it displays on the map.

If you test with 23andMe and you don’t want your location to display on this map to your matches, don’t answer any question that asks you where you call home or anything similar. I never answer any questions at 23andMe. They are known for asking you the same question repeatedly, in multiple locations and ways, until you relent and answer.

Ancestry has a similar map feature and they’ve also begun to ask you questions that are unrelated to genealogy.

Ancestry Map Shows Where Your Matches Live

At Ancestry, when you click to see your DNA matches, look to the right at the map link.

First Steps Ancestry map link.png

By clicking on this link, you can see the locations that people have entered into their profile.

First Steps Ancestry match map.png

As you can see, above, I don’t have a location entered and I am prompted for one. Note that Ancestry does specifically say that this location will be shown to your matches.

You can click on the Ancestry Profile link here, or go to your Personal Profile by click the dropdown under your user name in the upper right hand corner of any page.

This is important because if you DON’T want your location to show, you need to be sure there is nothing entered in the location field.

First Steps Ancestry profile.png

Under your profile, click “Edit.”

First Steps Ancestry edit profile.png

After clicking edit, complete the information you wish to have public or remove the information you do not.

First Steps Ancestry location in profile.png

Sometimes Your Answer is a Little More Complicated

This is a First Steps article. Sometimes the answer you seek might be a little more complicated. That’s why there are specialists who deal with this all day, everyday.

What issues might be more complex?

If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about these things for now. Just know when you run into something more complex or that doesn’t make sense, I’m here and so are others. Here’s a link to my Help page.

Getting Started

What do you need to get started?

  • You need to take a DNA test, or more specifically, multiple DNA tests. You can test at Ancestry or 23andMe and transfer your results to both Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage, or you can test directly at all vendors.

Neither Ancestry nor 23andMe accept uploads, meaning other vendors tests, but both MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA accept most file versions. Instructions for how to download and upload your DNA results are found below, by vendor:

Both MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA charge a minimal fee to unlock their advanced features such as chromosome browsers and ethnicity if you upload transfer files, but it’s less costly in both cases than testing directly. However, if you want the MyHeritage DNA plus Health or the Family Tree DNA Y DNA or Mitochondrial DNA tests, you must test directly at those companies for those tests.

  • It’s not required, but it would be in your best interest to build as much of a tree at all three vendors as you can. Every little bit helps.

Your first tree-building step should be to record what your family knows about your grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts and uncles. Here’s what my first step attempt looked like. It’s cringe-worthy now, but everyone has to start someplace. Just do it!

You can build a tree at either Ancestry or MyHeritage and download your tree for uploading at the other vendors. Or, you can build the tree using genealogy software on your computer and upload to all 3 places. I maintain my primary tree on my computer using RootsMagic. There are many options. MyHeritage even provides free tree builder software.

Both Ancestry and MyHeritage offer research/data subscriptions that provide you with hints to historical documents that increase what you know about your ancestors. The MyHeritage subscription can be tried for free. I have full subscriptions to both Ancestry and MyHeritage because they both include documents in their collections that the other does not.

Please be aware that document suggestions are hints and each one needs to be evaluated in the context of what you know and what’s reasonable. For example, if your ancestor was born in 1750, they are not included in the 1900 census, nor do women have children at age 70. People do have exactly the same names. FindAGrave information is entered by humans and is not always accurate. Just sayin’…

Evaluate critically and skeptically.

Ok, Let’s Go!

When your DNA results are ready, sign on to each vendor, look at your matches and use this article to begin to feel your way around. It’s exciting and the promise is immense. Feel free to share the link to this article on social media or with anyone else who might need help.

You are the cumulative product of your ancestors. What better way to get to know them than through their DNA that’s shared between you and your cousins!

What can you discover today?



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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James Moore (c1718-c1798), Westward to Amelia County, 52 Ancestors #249

James Moore was born between 1718 and 1721, but we don’t know where. I’ve deduced his age, because we find him noted as exempt from taxes in both 1788 and 1791 in Halifax County and continuously thereafter until he disappears from the list in 1797. The age at that time to become exempt from paying tax was age 70, so he was clearly born by 1721 and perhaps as early as 1718.

Amelia County, Virginia

Amelia County was formed from Prince George and Brunswick Counties in 1735 and in 1754, Prince Edward would be formed from Amelia County.

In the article, The Settlement of Prince Edward County by Herbert Bradshaw in volume 62, No.3, pages 448-471 of The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, we are told the following:

Two streams of settlers converged up on the territory which became Prince Edward County and met there. The first settlers came from eastern Virginia and their move into the upper part of Amelia County was the natural migration westward of a people seeking more and fresh land. They came from various sections of the eastern part of the colony, from south of the James to the Northern Neck. Some of the immigrants belonged to the movement into southern Virginia and northern North Carolina known as the Hanover Migration. The number of people who went out from Hanover and its neighboring counties during the four decades before the Revolution was almost phenomenal.

James Moore Hanover.png

The distance from Hanover County to Prince Edward County is about 80 miles – over a week by wagon.

James Moore Prince Edward.png

These settlers from eastern Virginia were largely of English stock. Jacob McGehee who came from King William (County)…was of Scotch descent. John Nash who moved from Henrico (County)…was from Wales.

The second major stream of migration consisted of Scotch-Irish settlers from Pennsylvania. These people who were Scottish in nationality had the Irish hyphenated as a result of a sojourn of approximately a century in Northern Ireland. They had been settled there by James I to repopulate a land desolated by the armies of Queen Elizabeth I. Many migrated to Pennsylvania where they settled on the frontier. Indian troubles made life precarious there, so many took again to the weary road and south to a haven in the “back parts” of Virginia.

About 1735 two Scotch-Irish settlements, both under the leadership of John Caldwell were made in southside Virginia, one on Cub Creek in Brunswick (now Charlotte) County and the other on Buffalo River in Amelia (now Prince Edward) County. The Scotch-Irish for the most part moved in companies and made their homes in a settlement and for the purposes of protection, social contact and religious worship.

Bradshaw goes on to mention by name the Scotch-Irish settlers, none of which are the surnames that are consistently associated with James Moore. Neither is the location of their settlement which was someplace in the region of Sandy Ford and Spring Creek, according to the road orders.

A third smaller group were the French Huguenots from Manakin in Goochland County. James Moore is not associated with those names either.

The 1740s in Amelia, eventually to become Prince Edward County, was defined by settlers opening land for cultivation, clearing roads, building homes and forming a community.

Moore’s Ordinary

Moore's Ordinary sign.jpg

Of course, innkeepers with licenses for ordinaries and taverns followed, with George Moore receiving permission to open an ordinary in 1748 known as “Moore’s Ordinary” in the town of present-day Meherrin, near the Meherrin River.

Today, a lonesome roadsign points the way to a sleepy, nearly deserted village that was once thriving.


The original Moore’s Ordinary was converted into a private home, then torn down years ago, with only a grainy picture remaining today. You’d never guess that this building, below, was the famous ordinary. Certainly, James Moore would have visited this building, as ordinaries weren’t just taverns, but community centers where all kinds of business was transacted.

Moore's Ordinary.jpg

A cemetery, mostly with unmarked graves, is all that’s left nearby now.

Moore's Ordinary Cemetery.jpg

For a long time, I believed George Moore was associated with our James Moore, but there is no direct evidence today to suggest such. There is, however, some amount of circumstantial evidence, but given the community interactions and intermarriages between the families, it’s impossible without either definitive documents or Y DNA tests to determine whether or not these men were actually related or simply associated.

For example. George Moore’s daughter married John Watkins who was the executor of the will of Joseph Rice, James Moore’s father-in-law. You can read a summary here.

If you are a Moore male, please, please take a Y DNA test and join the Moore Worldwide DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.

First Sighting of James Moore

Hanover County suffered extensive record loss during the Civil War, so early Hanover Records aren’t available, for the most part. I was not able to find any references to Moore families that would have been in the Hanover area concurrently with Joseph Rice. The Rice family is first found in New Kent County, Virginia where Joseph was born.

There is a James Moore born on November 13, 1718 in New Kent County to a father named James Moore, accoring to the St. Peter’s Parish Records. There are at least two James Moores in New Kent during this timeframe, because one dies on July 9, 1718 but another goes on to have more children. In 1729, James and Agnis Moore had son, Robert.  This couple is likely not our James Moore’s parents because the name Agnis is not found in the family and neither are other names of James and Agnis’s children, like Valentine. There is no William Moore, probable brother to James Moore, born during this time in New Kent.

Our first glimpse of James Moore in Amelia County might be in 1743, but I can’t tell if the James Moore on the tax list is our James or not.

In 1745, James Moore is working as on overseer on the plantation of the Randolph’s. The Randolph family owns an immense amount of land.

James was a young man, between 24 and 27 years old. He may have been married when he arrived in Amelia County, or he may have married after arriving there.

According to the tax list, James lived “above Sailor’s Creek” and according to the court records, was ordered along with several others to clear the road from Bush River Bridge to the Chapple.

A History of Dissent

According to the History of Prince Edward County, The Chapple was also known as Watkin’s Church, situated about eighteen miles from Prince Edward Court House (now the town of Worsham), on the Lynchburg Road. By 1760, a significant amount of religious dissent was occurring in Prince Edward County, in part because of the taxes levied to pay for the glebe land of 3 different Anglican Churches, and in part because the upper church at Sandy River had been involved in scandal, including selling liquor at and in church. Watkin’s Church was not Anglican.

Dissenters continues to increase, with some Anglican officials themselves converting. In 1779, it’s mentioned in the vestry notes that the Presbyterians, “were then riding the top of the wave in Prince Edward.”

In 1759, Joseph Rice was given permission to build a dissenting meeting house on his property, which had previously assumed to be Methodist, but there is no history of the Methodists in Prince Edward County at that time. It’s very likely that Joseph Rice was among the Presbyterian dissenters, even though his grandson, William Moore, would, by 1775 be a founding Methodist circuit riding minister.

Dissenting seems to be a family tradition.

Given that Joseph Rice is James Moore’s father-in-law, this informs us that James too was probably not Anglican and was a dissenter himself. This probably also explains why no marriage record exists for James Moore when he married Joseph Rice’s daughter. An Angican minister didn’t perform the ceremony and therefore no marriage return was filed. At this time, only Anglican ministers were authorized to perform marriages, legally.

James is mentioned on the 1745 road list along with Henry Ligon, William Ligon, Alexander Frazier, James Rutledge and Charles Cottrel.

James Moore Prince Edward creeks.png

On this map, Sailor, also spelled Saylor Creek is where the red arrows point, and Bush River is where the green arrows point. Both creeks dump into the Appomattox River to the north and are about 5 miles distant from each other, as the crow flies.

Sandy River, mentioned as an area heavy with dissenting families is the branch pointed to by the purple arrow.

Apparently, the Rice land on Sandy River reached to Little Saylor’s Creek, maybe two miles distant.

Apparently the Joseph Rice family was the hotbed of the Sandy River dissenters.

Is William Moore James Moore’s Brother?

The only hint of family that I can connect with James Moore is William Moore, also living above Sailor’s Creek in 1748 in close proximity to James Moore and adjacent the Rice family.

In 1752, William Craddock sold 148 acres of land to William Moore on a small branch of Sandy Creek adjacent the lines of both Matthew Rice and William Ligon, land patented to William Craddock on October 10, 1752.

Other transactions occur, but it’s difficult to identify those William Moores. There is a James Moore living in Amelia County who is not our James Moore, proven by Y DNA testing. That James Moore died in 1772, having son Anderson Moore who moved to Halifax County literally within a couple miles and across Mountain Road from our James Moore. That James Moore also had sons James and William Moore.

In 1754 William Moore became levy-free due to disability or age. We know he’s not a preacher nor a sheriff.

In 1762, William Ligon sells 970 acres to James Atwood of Amelia County on the south side of Sandy River bounded by William More, Matthew Rice and others.

In 1762 William is tithed with himself and also a William Jr, who is likely at that time 16-21, so born 1741-1745. Therefore William Moore Sr. is born 1720 or earlier, about the same time as James Moore.

In 1767, William Moore is taxed with 147 acres.

In 1774 William sells with wife Margaret 60 acres to Thomas Vaughan.

William disappears off of the tax lists in 1782.

In 1784 William, no wife named, sells 75 acres of land to Edmund D. Ford with John, Sarah and Sarah Moore as witnesses (yes, two separate Sarah’s). A John Moore sued Noel Waddell for debt, so this John may be connected to this William. These transactions leave 13 acres unaccounted for.

In 1810, there is a William W. Moor in Prince Edward Co. with 1 male 10-15, 1 male 16-25, female under 10, female 10-15, female 26-44 and 5 slaves. The only other Moore in the county is Molly, widow of George who died in 1798.

Even more interestingly, in 1885, a William H. Moore sells 13 acres of land on Briery Creek to Annie E. Dotson. That 13 acres makes up the full amount that William owned, although Briery Creek is a branch of Bush River, not Sandy Creek, so this could be a red herring.  If this is the same land, it also means that there may be Moores of that bloodline in Prince Edward County, or someone researching them. I could find no William Moore in the census for Prince Edward County from 1840-1880, but in 1880 there is a William L. Moore who is living with a family in Halifax County as their cousin. He was born in 1828.

In 1830 in Prince Edward County, one William Moore, age 40-50 (born 1780-1890) with 3 sons, age 5-20 and 3 daughters of the same age is living in Prince Edward County

I was unable to determine what actually happened to William Moore although I suspect given that he was born about 1720 that he probably died when he disappeared from the tax list in the 1780s.

James Moore named his oldest two sons James and William.

James Moore’s life in Amelia and Prince Edward Counties

James Moore married one of the daughters of Joseph Rice about 1745, as proven by Joseph Rice’s will in 1766. In Prince Edward County, James Moore lived on Sailor (Saylor) Creek adjacent both Joseph and Matthew Rice. Matthew Rice was the brother of Joseph Rice.

In 1746, the court records a trespass case with James Moore as plaintiff and Garrett Smith as defendant. Trespass at that time was different than today. Generally, trespass meant that two farmers were having a dispute regarding the planting of crops over the perceived property line.

The property tax list of 1746 appears to be in neighbor order with James’s “road” appearing to be George Lovall, Alex Frayser, Duglass Pickett, James More, James Rutledge and Thomas Rutledge, Charles Cottrell, John Waddill, Tho Certan and Wtopr. Certain, Richard Witt.

In 1747, although James Moore is not specifically listed, the Amelia County order book shows the following court order:

Joseph Rice, road to be cleared from the place Captain Walker’s old road crossed Sandy River by the nearest and best way to Bush River, the Parson, Thomas Turpin, John Holloway, Richard Witt, Michael Rice, John Waddell and their tithables to do the work.

William Womack, road from Great Sailor’s Creek into the road a little below Crawford’s house, with Thomas Certain, Abraham Vaughan, John Gentry, Jonthan Howell, William Brooks, Charles Spradling and their tithables and those at John Nash’s and Benjamin Runnins’ quarters to do the work.

We find the names of Womack and Spradling here and also as James Moore’s neighbors a few years later in Halifax County. Joseph Rice was James Moore’s father-in-law.

On July 25, 1748, a land sale occurred that may provide a much-needed clue about James Moore’s ancestry.

Abraham Womack of Raleigh Parish to James Moore of Raleigh Parish – July 25, 1748 – consideration 15# – 100 acres on Saylor’s Creek adjoining the lines of John Hall, William Womack and Abraham Womack, being the upper end of a larger tract patented to Abraham Womack on July 10, 1745. Witness Matthew Rice, Thomas Turpin, Thomas Nash and John Nash. Possession being obtained by James Moore on July 25, 1748. Deed ordered recorded Aug. 19, 1748 after Jane, wife of Abraham, relinquished dower.

Somehow, I match more than 30 Womack descendants who also match me and each other. Was Abraham Womack somehow related to James Moore?

In 1749, 1750 and 1751, James is noted as “above Sailor’s Creek.”

James Moore may be associated with a George and William Moore who also lived “above Sailors Creek”, although that may be happenstance. William Moore appeared “above Sailor Creek” on the tax list of 1748 and purchased land on Sandy Creek, abutting Matthew Rice in 1752. There is also a Peter Moore for only 1 year in 1748 in this same Sailor Creek area. George Moore’s land abuts the land of the Randolphs, but the Randolphs were large absentee landowners, so we have no way of knowing if this is really relevant.

In 1752, James Moore witnessed a land sale from Abraham Womack to William Womack.

Abraham Womack to William Womack June 23, 1752 for 15# – 100 acres on the upper side of Sailors Creek adjoining land of Benjamin Ruffin, James Moore and Charles Caython, being part of 400 acres patented to Abraham Womack on July 10, 1745.  Witness James (x) Moore, John (x) Haloway (also Holloway) and John Rice. Possession and deed ordered recorded June 25, 1752.

James also served on a jury and as a witness for Daniel Dejarnett who owed him for 7 days attendance at court.

In 1753, James is again taxed “above Sailor’s Creek.”

This portion of Amelia County became Prince Edward County in 1754.

In 1756, a heart-rending situation occurred as told in the History of Prince Edward County:

A dangerous situation developed in 1756 when a slave of William Womack after having been outlawed took refuge in quarters of John Stanton and defended himself with broadax and darts. He had tried to kill his master and neighbors tried to capture him alive. A group of Abraham Womack, Isham Womack, William Barry, James Moore and William Masters fought with the slave and shot him. He died of his wounds.

I can’t help but feel the terror that slave must have felt, 263 years later. I was unable to discern the meaning of “outlawed” in this context. Was this man evil, or simply desperate? We’ll never know the answer to that, or the backstory. I do know that neither James Moore nor his sons or father-in-law owned slaves.

In 1759, the location of James Moore’s property was more specific, noted on the tax list as between Ligon’s Rolling Road and Sailor’s Creek Old Road, Sailor’s Creek and Sandy River. The Ligon’s owned land on Sandy River and the Rolling Road would have been the road they rolled the tobacco hogsheads down to the Appomattox River. Threefore, the roads would run alongside the creeks and rivers north to the Appomattox.

Sandy River (red arrows) is the eastern branch of Bush River (left green arrow.) The right green arrows point to Sailor’s Creek and I’m guessing that the roads mentioned are between those rivers.

This map of Prince Edward County drawn during the Civil War shows an approximate location, including Rice’s Station.

James Moore confederate map.png

On February 4, 1760, Edith Cobbs of Amelia County sold 200 acres of land to Joseph Rice, land patented to John Ford. James Moore who signed with a mark, along with Noel Waddell and Jeay (Icay?) Rice were witnesses.

This deed states that it’s the other half of Ford’s original 400 acres and Joseph Rice had already purchased the other 200.

On February 20, 1760, James Moore of Prince Edward County sold 75 acres for 40 # to Noel Waddill on Sailors Creek, part of a tract that James purchased from Abraham Womack and bounded by Ryan, Matthew Rise (Rice), the Mill branch, signed by James Moore.  Witness Jacob Waddill, James Flowers, and Joseph Nunn.

Now if I only knew where the Mill Branch was located. Note on the map, above, Ellington’s Mill to the right of Rice’s Station.

Today, the town of Rice is Rice’s Station and the Mill Branch may be Ellington’s Mill.

James Moore Rice and mill branch.png

On March 1, 1760, Abraham Womack of St. Patrick Parish sold to James Moore 11 acres for 5# adjoining James Moore and the new line agreed on by Abraham and William Womack. Witnesses were Joseph and Icay Rice.

In September of 1760, in a court proceeding, John Nunn wanted to build a mill across Childress Creek and James Moore is one of several men making a judgement.

In April of 1761, Matthew Rice sold land to John Chapman on the Sandy River, bounded by Philip Ryon, Thomas Turpin and Matthew Rice, witnessed by James Moore who signed with an “M”.

On April 13th, the same day, Samuel Goode of Prince Edward County sold 330 acres of land to Charles Rice, on the upper side of Saylor’s Creek granted to the said Samuel by patent dated July 13, 1760 and bounded by Joseph Rice, Abraham Womack, the old line of Matthew Rice, William Barnes, Noel Waddil. Witnesses were Obadiah Claybrook, Matthew Rice, and James (M his mark) Moore.

This deed too may be very important.

James Moore named his son born about 1765 Mackness. That unusual name is associated with the Rowlett family in Prince Edward County, with one Mackness Rowlett born about 1741 being the son of John Rowlett who died in 1776 with a will. The name Mackness may well reach back in time to the marriage of one John Goode and Frances Mackarness. Samuel Goode is reported, but not verified to be their grandson.

James Moore didn’t just pick the name Mackness out of the sky. There had to be a reason for James or his wife to select Mackness. Probably the same or a similar reason that John Rowlett named his son Mackness in 1741.

In November 1761, James Moore witnessed a deed from John Maynard to William Spicer for land on the lower side of Sailor’s Creek.

A year later, on December 13, 1762, Henry Barksdale sold 25 acres to Noel Waddell on both sides of Great Sailor’s Creek bounded by a road in James Moore’s line and also mentions Joseph Nunn. Witnesses were James (M) Moore, Phil Holcombe and Grimes Holcombe.

Between this information and the tax lists, it looks like James Moore owned land on a road on the north side of Sailor’s Creek, and probably adjacent to the Creek.

In February 1764, Noel Waddell sells to Francis Anderson of Amelia County, 250 acres and 203 acres on the lower side of Great Sailor’s Creek patented July 10, 1755. John Stanton bought it from Abraham Womack “once owned” it and James (M) Moore witnessed again.

By this time, James Moore is more than 40 years old, possibly as old as 47. He owns a total of 36 acres of land. He has probably been married for 25 years or so, which makes the next item particularly significant and perhaps a turning point in his life.

Joseph Rice Dies

In 1766, James Moore’s father-in-law, Joseph Rice died, with a will that is recorded in the Prince Edward County Will book 1, page 80. Bless his heart!

In the name of God Amen I Joseph Rice of Prince Edward County being indisposed in body but of perfect mind and memory praised be to God for the same do make and constitute and ordain this and none other to be my last will and testament in manner and form following.

To my son-in-law James Moore 100 acres land whereon he now lives to be divided from the tract I live on by a line that was run by Robert Farguson to him and his heirs forever.

To my well beloved son John Rice 100 acres of land joyning the aforesaid 100 of Moores and also divided by the said Fargusons line and the tract whereon I now live to him and his heirs forever.

To my well beloved son William Rice the East part of the tract of land I now live on to be divided beginning on a line run by Robert Farguson on my Spring Branch…containing 100 acres more or less to him and his heirs forever.

To my well beloved son Charles Rice the remainder part of my land whereon I now live after the death of my well loved wife to him and his heirs forever.

To my well beloved son David Rice 133 acres of land whereon he now lives to him and his heirs forever

To my well beloved son Joseph Rice 133 acres of land whereon he now lives to him and his heirs forever.

To my well beloved sons John, William and Charles as they become of age 21 each a feather bed and furniture and one cow and calf to them and their heirs forever if the estate can afford it.

To my well beloved daughter Mary Rice one feather bed and furniture and one cow and calf.

Well beloved wife Rachel remainder of personal estate during her natural life.

Sons John, William and Charles after decease of wife, 7 # current money of Virginia.

Rest of estate divided equally after decease of wife. Wife Rachel and David Rice and John Watkins executors.  December 1765.

Signed with mark (long I with 3 crossmarks) witness John Watkins, William Womack, Charles Rice – Probated June 16, 1766.

This will tells us that in addition to the 36 acres that James Moore owns, he has been living on and farming 100 acres of his father-in-law’s land. Now James owns a total of 136 acres.

His land also abuts the Farguson land, another name we’ll see in Halifax County living adjacent James Moore.

The Problem with the Will

The problem with the will is that James Moore’s wife is named Mary according to later deeds in Halifax County. However, in Joseph Rice’s will, he specifically says that James Moore is his son-in-law, and he mentions his daughter Mary separately with the Rice surname, giving the impression that Mary Rice is not married.

  • Did James Moore marry two of Joseph’s daughters? First, an unnamed daughter, and eventually, Mary Rice?
  • Did James Moore marry one of Joseph Rice’s daughters who died after 1766, and James Moore remarried to a Mary, last name unknown, before his wife’s name appears in Halifax County records a few years later?
  • Is it possible that Joseph Rice’s daughter that was married to James Moore had already died before Joseph died? If that were the case, I’d presume that the land would have been left to James Moore’s children, not James himself.

We know from various records and sources (including DNA matches) that indeed, this James Moore is the James Moore that was Joseph Rice’s son-in-law, but why did Joseph refer to his daughter as Mary Rice if she was married to James Moore who had been mentioned previously in the will?

James Moore had a son named Rice Moore, born about 1762 – so the evidence is compelling that indeed James was married to one of Joseph Rice’s daughters.

James Moore’s daughter, Lydia Moore, born about 1746 married Edward Henderson and named a son Rice Henderson, so clearly Lydia’s mother was a Rice.

In 1767, on the tax list, James Moore is listed with 136 acres of land, two tithes, one of which is James Moore Jr. This means that James Jr. is over the age of 16 and possibly over the age of 21, so was born before 1750.

What’s Next?

James is nearing 50 years of age, the half century mark. You’d think he’d be interested in farming his land and maybe beginning to relax a little. By this time, he had grandchildren to enjoy. Perhaps his wife wanted to help care for her mother.

However, that’s not at all what happened. By 1770, James Moore and family had packed up everything they owned into a wagon, apparently sold their land in Prince Edward County, although I’ve never found a deed, and migrated with a community once again. This time, to what is now the Vernon Hill/Oak Level area of western Halifax County where he settled among the Spradlings, Womacks and Fargusons.

The curtain drops on Act 1 of James Moore’s life, a half-century in the making. What will Act 2 bring?



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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Summer Sale at Family Tree DNA

Do you ever have one of those weeks when absolutely nothing goes right? Me too, and that’s why this week’s regular blog article isn’t ready and didn’t get published.

But Family Tree DNA just saved the day by announcing their summer sale which will last from now until the end of August. (How can it possibly be August already?)

Summer sale 2019

These are great prices on both new purchases, bundles AND upgrades. Seldom does everything go on sale at the same time.

Confused About Which Test to Take?

If you are uncertain about which kind of DNA you’d like to test and how the different tests work, now’s a great time to take a look at the newly revamped and updated article, 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy. Feel free to share that (and this) article as well.

Sale Pricing!

Here’s a chart with the regular and sale prices for each product so you can see just how much you’re saving. Now’s a great time to order some kits to take to that family cookout or reunion!

Test Sale Price Regular Price Savings
Y37 $129 $169 $40
Y67 $199 $268 $69
Y111 $299 $359 $60
Big Y-700 $499 $649 $150
Family Finder $59 $79 $20
mtFull mitochondrial full sequence $149 $199 $50
Family Finder + Y37 $178 $248 $70
Family Finder + mtFull $198 $278 $80
Family Finder + Y67 + mtFull $387 $546 $159
Family Finder + Y111 + mtFull $487 $637 $150
Family Finder + Y37 + mtFull $317 $447 $130
Family Finder + Y67 $248 $347 $99
Family Finder + Y111 $348 $438 $90
Y37 + mtFull $268 $368 $100
Y67 + mtFull $338 $467 $129
Y111 + mtFull $438 $558 $120
Y12 to Y37 $99 $109 $10
Y12 to Y67 $169 $199 $30
Y12 to Y111 $279 $359 $80
Y25 to Y37 $49 $59 $10
Y25 to Y67 $139 $159 $20
Y25 to Y111 $239 $269 $30
Y37 to Y67 $89 $109 $20
Y37 to Y111 $178 $228 $50
Y67 to Y111 $89 $99 $10
Y12 to Big Y-700 $489 $629 $140
Y25 to Big Y-700 $489 $599 $110
Y37 to Big Y-700 $459 $569 $110
Y67 to Big Y-700 $399 $499 $100
Y111 to Big Y-700 $349 $449 $100
Big Y-500 to Big Y-700 $229 $249 $20
mtDNA (HVR1) to mtFull $139 $159 $20
mtPlus (HVR1+HVR2) to mtFull $129 $159 $30

To purchase any of the tests, or upgrade, click on any link above, or here.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

SORRY – Emails of Old Articles

First, I apologize.

I am doing maintenance to the 1200 articles on my blog. I had deleted several, then after consideration, decided to restore some of them for two reasons:

  • Historical continuity
  • I noticed that some people are still reading them

So, I restored them from the deleted folder.

What I didn’t know that that WordPress would resend them in an e-mail to everyone.

So, I’m embarrassed and sorry, both – and I’m done restoring.

I promise.

So please just delete those and excuse the ring.


23andMe – Fear of Speaking, Hair and Other Interesting Traits

People who have taken the 23and Me V4 or V5 test (Nov. 2013 or later) qualify to receive new traits as they are introduced. Recently, I received a notification that 23andMe had introduced a ‘fear of speaking” trait.

This made me chuckle, because while I do get somewhat nervous about some aspects, such as equipment failure, I have no fear of public speaking itself. Neither did my mother who was a ballet dancer, nor do my children nor grandchildren.

Given this known history, I was curious to see what 23andme had to say.

Since I was taking a look anyway, I decided to rank the first two pages of my traits based on whether they were accurately predicted or not. I’ve marked them as correct or wrong.

By the way, I view these traits as “just for fun” but keep in mind that health predictions can be just as subject to inaccuracy. Genetics generally predicts possibilities and predispositions, with a few notable exceptions. For the most part, genetics is but one of multiple factors. There are likely genetic factors we haven’t yet discovered and when dealing with disease, personal lifestyle, environment and perhaps simply luck play a part too.


Let’s take a look at what 23andMe has to say about my traits. My evaluation is in the center.

23andMe traits.png

23andMe traits 2.png


I was uncertain about my hair texture being wavy versus curly.

Roberta Estes hair trait

Here’s my hair a few days ago, not curled by me – in its natural state – as I was preparing for filming a documentary. Fear of speaking not in evidence, but fear of makeup running in the heat and hair frizz was real!

At 23andMe, you can click on the links to any of these traits on your own results page and view the criteria, so let’s look at hair traits and what they have to say. Then I’ll let you decide about mine.

23andMe hair prediction.png

My Hair certainly isn’t straight, so we can rule that option out.

Next, they show the results of other participants with similar genetics.

23andMe prediction results.png

I think we can eliminate everything except wavy and big curls which leave us split between the blue wavy which they claim I am more likely to have and the red “big curls” which they claim I am less likely to have.

23andme calculation.png

23andMe explains how they arrived at my results. I think it’s very interesting that 75 locations in the human genome are involved in determining hair curl. It’s likely that even more will be discovered in the future.

23andMe hair variants.png

According to this graphic, 30 of those 75 locations are irrelevant to my hair.

Given this scattering, it’s impossible to know which parent I inherited my hair curl from.

The Verdict

Now it’s your turn.

What do you think, based on my photo?

  1. Is this trait predicted accurately and I have “wavy hair?”
  2. Is this trait predicted inaccurately and I have “big curls” instead of “wavy hair?”

Let me know your opinion in the comments.

23andMe Products

If you want to purchase a 23andMe test for ancestry alone, meaning genealogy matching and ethnicity but no health, medical or traits, you can purchase that here.

If you want to purchase a 23andMe test for ancestry PLUS health, medical and traits, click here to order.

MyHeritage Test

MyHeritage recently introduced a product that also provides you with ancestry PLUS health information. I’ve ordered that test and will review the results as compared to 23andMe when the results are in. You can order the MyHeritage DNA Ancestry plus Health test here.



I receive a small contribution when you click on the link to one of the vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Lucy Moore (c 1754-1832), Spunky Plaintiff – 52 Ancestors #248

In Lucy’s first article, Lucy Moore, Minister’s Wife, we discovered Lucy’s first name in deeds with her husband, the Reverend William Moore, in Halifax County, Virginia.

Married probably between 1772 and 1774, Lucy and William had 4 children in 1782 when the head of household “census” was taken in Virginia, and 5 by 1785. Like most couples, they farmed and had a child approximately every 18 months to 2 years for their entire marriage, or at least until Lucy no longer became pregnant.

Lucy is a fairly unusual name, so it was easy to identify Lucy Moore as the wife of William Moore. However, as it turns out, there were actually two more Lucy Moores who lived in the same time and place.

What are the chances of that?

Three Lucy Moores

In 1817, “my” Lucy Moore would have been about 63 years old. 1817 is the year that another Lucy Moore is added to the mix. Lucy Akin married James Moore, son of Lucy and William Moore. From 1817 on, we have to be careful about which Lucy we are dealing with.

For years it was presumed that the marriage on July 30, 1831 of Lucy Moore to James Ives was the widow, Lucy Akin Moore remarrying, but a subsequent chancery suit reveals that it was not.

No, and it wasn’t the widow Lucy Moore either. It was an unexpected third Lucy Moore.

The Lucy Moore that married James Ives was Lucy and William Moore’s daughter. I didn’t make that discovery until I just happened to read every chancery suit that contained the name Moore in Halifax County in anything resembling the right timeframe. Sometimes suits referenced people that had died decades before.

In the Virginia Chancery Index, I entered Moore and selected Halifax where the final chapter of a long sordid story unfolded.

Hard Times

Everything seemed to be fine in William and Lucy Moore’s family until about 1796 or 1797 when something happened to Reverend William Moore. Not only did he stop submitting marriage returns to the county to be recorded, he was listed as exempt from paying taxes in 1797. The only legitimate reasons for a man in his late 40s to be tax exempt was from disability or because he was an official – and William wasn’t an official. Furthermore, he was listed as exempt off and on from then until 1816 when the tax lists stop.

In 1797, Ransom Day sold William Moore 100 acres of land that was where the “meeting house” stood, although the meeting house was excluded from the sale. In 1801, William and Lucy sold that land.

We know William was still farming because later a lawsuit was filed regarding 1306 pounds of tobacco that were not credited to William Moore in 1812. Farmers took their tobacco to the warehouse to be graded and sold according to the crop quality. The warehouse that William was doing business with was subsequently purchased and neither the old nor the new owner ever credited William for the 1812 tobacco sale.

This ongoing lawsuit seemed to be part of a downward spiral that eventually culminated with William losing his land, and worse.

Financial problems don’t seem to be isolated to William Moore. In 1812, his two sons, William Moore Jr. and Azariah Moore are both found to be unable to pay their taxes. Was this perhaps reflective of them attempting to help their father, or was this a learned lifestyle behavior?

Azariah would have been near 30, if not 30, by this time so he was no young whipper-snapper. Both boys eventually moved to Pittsylvania County within a few months, the county next door, where they both continued living beyond their means to the point where Azariah’s wife’s father stipulated that her inheritance could not be touched by Azariah nor could it pay for his debts. Pretty harsh terms.

By 1817 Azariah is living in Pittsylvania according to the tax list, and in 1818, he marries there. William Jr. settles in Pittsylvania too.

However, in 1826, Aza Moore (Azariah, Lucy’s son) sells 50 acres of land on Birches Creek to Lucy Moore for $100, bounded by William Moore Sr.’s old line, the old ridge path and along the ridge path. Azariah had purchased land on Birches Creek in 1814 from William Phelps which was bounded by William Moore, Edward Henderson and William Ferrell.

My first opinion of this transaction was that Azariah took pity on his mother. However, if that’s the case, then why not just give her the land or for the token $1 typical of close family sales? Was this really a case of Lucy trying to help Azariah by purchasing his land? Were both parties benefitted by this transaction? The price does not seem to be at all under market value.

William Moore died in 1826 after having lost his land, so this may have been the only way to guarantee some income for Lucy. If Azariah had sold his land to his father, it could then have been attached for William’s debt.

William’s son, James Moore lost his land in 1827. He’s not found in the census in 1830 and it was believed that he was dead by that time based on the census combined with the fact that Lucy Moore married in 1831. As it turns out, it wasn’t that Lucy Akin Moore that married in 1831, but a different Lucy.

These events are not isolated and are connected.

1830 Census

The 1830 census is confusing. We know Lucy Moore was the head of household, but we don’t know who else was living with her.

It appears that perhaps two Lucy Moores, mother and daughter, were living together in 1830, when Lucy Moore is listed in the census with the following:

  • Female 70-80 so born in 1750-1760 (Lucy, widow of William Moore)
  • 2 females 50-60 so born 1770-1780 (Probably daughter Elizabeth Moore born 1790 and possibly daughter Mary Moore born 1775)
  • Female 40-50 so born 1780-1790 (Daughter Lucy Moore, born 1792)
  • 2 females under 5
  • 1 male under 5

Who did those children belong to? Was one of the women a widow? It had been assumed that Lucy Akin Moore was one of the women living with Lucy Moore, head of household, based on the fact that James Moore was believed deceased and they would have probably had children.

Thank goodness for Azariah who sold his mother land. It looks like Lucy was supporting 7 people. I wonder how Lucy came up with the $100 to purchase that land. That would have been an awful lot of egg money.

Lucy’s Chancery Suit

One of the events that defined Lucy’s life is the path she took after William died in 1826. She would have been about 72 at the time.

Women simply didn’t file lawsuits. Women were supposed to be subservient, accept whatever happened to them and not make waves.

Lucy wasn’t any of those things. She stood up for herself and her rights, regardless of who had been responsible for overlooking the fact that Lucy never signed away her dower rights in William’s land.

Had William failed to inform Lucy of what he was doing. Did she object and refuse to sign? Was it an oversight?

You’d think the men who accepted William’s deed as collateral would know better. At that time in Virginia, women had to be examined separately from their husbands and confirm that they did indeed want to relinquish their dower right in the property. A woman’s dower was 30% of the value of the property.

What really happened?

In a chancery suit filed in Halifax County by Lucy Moore on November 30, 1826, we discover the following complaint:

Lucy Moore complaint.pngLucy Moore complaint 2.pngLucy Moore complaint 3.png

This complaint states that William owned 200 acres of land and that he had signed the land as security for a debt owed to Isaac Medley which could be sold to discharge the debt if it wasn’t paid. It wasn’t and the land was sold, but Lucy never signed away her dower portion to either Isaac or the trustees.

Isaac had “not as yet” assigned Lucy’s portion to her, so Lucy asked the court to do such and to cause her dower portion to be surveyed.

Clearly, Isaac wasn’t going to do this without court intervention, or it would already have been done. Lucy’s “not as yet” was very tongue in cheek.

Lucy Moore complaint 4.png

Isaac’s answer to the complaint states that he agrees that Lucy had never relinquished her dower portion. What else could he do? At that point, neighbors, Charles  T. Harris, Thomas Dixon (also spelled Dickson sometimes), John Ferguson and James Wilson were appointed commissioners to decide what was fair for Lucy, taking into account both quality and quantity of land.

When settling estates, the court typically ordered as property appraisers one person with no connection to the family, one person related to the wife and the person who was owed the highest amount of debt. I wonder if one of these men was related to Lucy.

Of course, this order also meant that Lucy would receive the house. It’s not as if an elderly woman could build a new one and no group of men was going to put a widow out into a field with no shelter. Nor would the court have approved that because the widow would have wound up on the public rolls and that was to be avoided at all costs.

Furthermore, judging from the 1830 census, Lucy was likely supporting additional people.

Lucy Moore Isaac Medley answer.png

This entry summarized the proceedings where the court ordered the land survey and requested the commissioners to report back to the court.

Ironically, Isaac Medley doesn’t even fight Lucy’s claim. Just the fact that Lucy was spunky enough to file the suit is testimony about Lucy in its own right. I’m cheering her on!

This case filing is the single most revealing document for William and Lucy Moore. In it, William’s death year is revealed as are the circumstances of how he lost his land.

Furthermore, we obtain an actual survey of William’s land, and thereby Lucy’s. William purchased his land from his father James, who bought land from James Spradling. I presumed that Spradling’s land was the same land that William Moore purchased from his father and set out to find the patent.

I found James Spradling’s original patent dated Sept 15, 1765, part of which was conveyed to William’s father, James Moore. Later, 200 acres was conveyed to William Moore in 1798.

Ironically, this same land patented by Spradling was patented in 1762 by Isham Womack. If I have identified the correct Isham Womack, his father is Thomas Womack and mother Mary Farley who lived in Prince Edward County, VA. Thomas’s mother was reported to be Sarah Worsham. These early families from Henrico County were very intermarried. The Womacks, Worshams, Rices and Moores were all interacting in Amelia and Prince Edward Counties.

DNA also tells us that the Womack’s are somehow related to the Moores, and therefore to me, but I have no idea how. At least, not yet.

It’s enough to make a genealogist pull their her out!

Lucy’s Survey

In December 1826, the surveyor drew the following and laid off Lucy Moore’s 50 acres, including the “mansion house,” such as it was. Mansion house meant where the landowner lived, not indicating that it was in fact a mansion. Many of these early frontier mansions were noted as being 10X12 or 12X16.

Lucy Moore William survey.pngLucy Moore Lucy survey.png

Several years ago, cousin Walter Dixon attempted to draw the metes and bounds of these plats and place them on a map of the area.

Lucy Moore Walter drawings.jpg

These parcels were mapped utilizing DeedMapper. I used to own this tool before my laptop was stolen and I’ve now purchased the upgraded version along with the background Halifax County maps.

Yes, for one survey. Genealogists are crazy aren’t we!


The day DeedMapper arrived, I couldn’t stop myself until I had figured out where William and Lucy’s land was located.

It wasn’t as easy as I anticipated, because I thought surely that once I figured out where James Spradling’s land was located William’s would be a shoo-in because it would be the same land, or part of the same land – fitting like a puzzle piece. I was wrong.

Someone had plotted and contributed the 2 surveys of Charles Spradlen.

I don’t have any way of knowing whether or not these surveys are accurately placed or approximated.

Lucy Moore Spradlin.png

Spradlin owned 2 parcels, this one in purple is 304 acres.

The next one, just beneath is 162 acres and shares property lines with his 304 acre parcel.

Lucy Moore Spradlin 2.png

James Moore bought 238 acres from James Spradling, but he also bought another 800+ acres from other people. He sold land to Edward Henderson (his son-in-law) and to William Moore as well as others. At one time, James probably owned most of this entire area – more than 1000 acres in total.

Lucy Moore William property.png

William Moore’s land was difficult to draw because it meandered on three branches of waterways. The only waterways on the second fork of Birches Creek that matched up with the drawing and the survey are where the purple plot is located. It doesn’t close because the open side is the 3 meanders that you can clearly see. This makes sense, because the leftmost border touches his father’s land and in 1826 is noted as Ferguson’s line.

Lucy Moore Lucy property.png

Lucy’s survey, in purple above, doesn’t close correctly. Old surveys often don’t. In this case, William’s and Lucy’s surveys were written on the same page and I had to correct one of the lines that the surveyor had mistakenly written in one or the other.

Of course, Lucy also owned another 50 acres someplace that abutted William’s land. It may have abutted the portion of William’s land that became hers.

Fortunately, with the underlying Halifax County map, I was able to determine an approximation of where William and Lucy’s land was located today using Google maps.

Lucy Moore Google map.png

Using these two ponds (red arrows at right) and the creek for guidance, I was able to determine the location of the middle red star at left in William’s survey, roughly outlined in green. Lucy’s survey is shown roughly in black. You can see that William’s land includes present-day Henderson Trail which also includes the Henderson Cemetery, long believed to have been the original Moore Cemetery.


Here’s Google Maps aerial view.

Lucy Moore aerial.png

The middle red star on William’s green survey, above, is the little grey balloon at left on this aerial view. The cemetery is approximately at the red star. The right red arrow points to the upper pond with the red arrow on the map with the green outline. The green arrow points to Henderson Trail, visible on both maps.

Normally Google Maps doesn’t travel down roads without center lines, let alone dirt roads, and certainly not private 2 tracks.

All I can say is that the Google car must have been lost, because here we stand on Henderson Trail looking directly at Lucy’s land.

Lucy Moore looking at Lucy's land.png

Standing on William’s land.

Lucy Moore William's land.png

How lucky can I be? Below, looking down the trail to the west.

Lucy Moore Henderson Trail.png

Below, looking south across Henderson Trail, you can see the Blue Ridge in the distance to the west.

Lucy Moore south.png

When I visited and stood in this very location, I suspected it might have been James Moore’s land, but I never suspected it was Williams or Lucy’s, nor did I suspect that William owned the land where the original cemetery was located. I thought William’s land was further north, by Mountain Road where the Mount Vernon Baptist Church stands today.

The Good-Bad News

This land is for sale, as in right now.

That’s the good-bad news.

107 acres, outlined in red below, is available at this link where you can see additional photos.

Lucy Moore William's land for sale.png

The bad news is that the land alone is priced out of my range at $365,000, even if it is a great value. There is no existing house or mention of a well or electricity having been run back there.

So maybe it’s good news that it’s out of my price range. I’m confused.

Contrast this to the $200 that Isaac Medley paid in 1826 for William’s entire 174 acres.

This is part of William’s land and before that, James’ land.

Lucy Moore topo lines.png

I suspect that the current day line between the two red arrows is the southwestern line of Lucy’s survey.

Lucy Moore topo map.png

This topographical map clearly shows the land features such as the ridges and valleys carved by the streams. Lucy’s upper left corner must have been near the upper red arrow. Her property was between the arrows and did not extend as far east as the little blue pond

Lucy lived here for more than half a century. She walked these lands. She is probably buried just a few feet away in the woods where I could walk and visit with her, William, her in-laws and her other children that did not marry and move away. Her parents probably lived nearby and are buried here too or within a mile or so if I just knew who they were and where to look.

OMG, do I need to go back to Halifax County and just take a look? Could I even get high speed internet here? Is there a quilt shop anyplace close?

This is killing me!

The Almost-Missed Gift

The part I almost missed was written on the yellowed back of the papers that were folded into a neat little chancery suit packet and filed away for the next 180+ years.

Lucy’s death is recorded here. Given that the dates on this suit are not on the quarter sessions boundaries meaning March, June, September and December, I suspect that the chancery court was held monthly. Therefore, Lucy probably died in either June or July of 1832 which caused the suit to abate.

Lucy Moore death

Given that the survey occurred in December 1826, I’m unclear why this suit was never resolved and the land never conveyed to Lucy.

Given that the suit apparently was never entirely resolved, that left Lucy’s dower land in legal limbo which caused me a big problem trying to track it forward in time.

Lucy’s 2 Parcels of Land

Keep in mind that Lucy owned 2 pieces of property. The 50 acres conveyed to her by Azariah and the 50 acres that she was entitled to based on this survey. Both were located in close proximity, if not adjacent.

On August 26, 1831, James and Lucy Ives sell to Elizabeth Moore 25 aces adjoining Isaac Medley, James Wilson and others for $1. Both sign with marks. Lucy could have actually died by this time, or the family was preparing for her death.

Lucy Moore Medley.png

Note that the furthest north point of Lucy’s survey is described as Wilson’s pine, line or maybe lane, and we know that Isaac Medley did in fact obtain the balance of William’s land.

This deed strongly suggests that one of the women living with Lucy Moore in 1830 was Elizabeth Moore. It’s unclear which 25 acres this is, or how Lucy Moore came to have an interest in this acreage. It could be half of Lucy Moore’s 50 acres from Azariah or half of her 50 acres dower right. But who owned the other 25 acres?

In 1842, Lucy Ives and Elizabeth Moore sell to William Henderson 3.25 acres for $10 adjoining the lines of Henderson and Medley. This deed was witnessed by Edward and Benjamin Ferrell, families found living adjacent in the census. This acreage, added to the 47 acres sold to William Henderson in 1863 by Lucy Ives and Rebecca Slate stated as land where Elizabeth Moore lived would equal either the 50 acres Lucy bought from Azariah or the 50 she obtained from Isaac Medley that was William’s through the chancery suit. I believe that the Henderson land was to the east and south of Lucy’s land, where Henderson Lane is located today.

This only leaves 25 acres of Lucy’s land missing.

On both the 1851 and 1852 tax lists for Halifax County, Elizabeth Moore is shown with her 25 acres on Birches Creek owned in fee, 14 miles SW of the town of Halifax. She is not shown with either 47 or 50 acres. When I was in Halifax County viewing these tax lists, I didn’t realize I should also be looking for names like Ives and Slate. If I were to go back, I would know to look for more. It’s too bad Halifax County is so far away.

The lack of correlation between the deeds and tax lists is frustrating. Perhaps someone else was paying the taxes if Elizabeth was renting it out to be farmed.

A Previously Unknown Child

When I visited Halifax County 15 or 20 years ago and sifted through the chancery suits, they were being prepared to be sent to the Virginia Archives at Richmond. The preparation procedure took months into years, and at that time, the only indexing was by plaintiff and defendant. A very nice man, Lawrence Martin, now deceased, volunteered half a day a week reading and indexing each case and slipping the loose and sometimes scattered papers into manila file folders. As the cases were prepared for scanning in Richmond, additional surnames of people mentioned in the proceedings were added.

Today, using the Virginia Chancery Index, you can enter a surname and view all of the cases that include that surname in the county for a specific date range.

I found Lucy’s suit when I visited, although I nearly ignored it because I didn’t put 2 and 2 together and realize Lucy Moore in the 1830s was William’s wife.

The basement was musty, dusty, humid and hot and I was tired. Photographs were highly discouraged, so I took notes, reams and reams of notes. Today, I would use my phone or a digital camera, but those tools didn’t exist in those days. Unfortunately, my notes didn’t include everything, just what I thought was important at the time.

Thankfully, I reviewed the digital cases at the Library of Virginia because papers had been misfiled and new cases had been unearthed. Lawrence did a huge amount of reconstructing of case files. What a wonderful legacy he left.

The Unknown Suit

One of the most useful cases didn’t include any Moore party as either a plaintiff or defendant, so I had missed it entirely.

In this suit, I discovered a previously unknown child of William and Lucy Moore who gave a deposition in the case Joseph Dunsman vs William Bailey having to do with an outstanding debt involving William Moore.

Prior to reading this suit, I thought that the Lucy Moore who had married James Ives was Lucy Akin Moore, widow of James Moore. James lost his land in 1827 and was absent in the 1830 census. Someone with children was living with Lucy Moore (William’s widow) in 1830 and in 1831 Lucy Moore married James Ives. Subsequently Lucy Ives signed documents involving Lucy Moore. All makes sense, right?

Well, it does make sense, but it just so happens that it’s wrong.

Lucy Akin Moore is not the Lucy Moore who married James Ives.

Lucy Moore gives her first deposition in 1825

The Depositions

Halifax Chancery Suit 1832-034 Joseph Dunman vs William Bailey and Co.

Chancery suits are indexed by the date they completed, not the date they were filed.

The suit was filed on Nov. 30, 1825 and William Moore provided a deposition.

William Moore 1825 affidavit.pngWilliam Moore 1825 affidavit 2.png

Affidavit of William Moore of lawful age to be read into evidence in support of a motion for an injunction…in which Joseph Dunman is plaintiff and William Bailey & Co., defendants.

Sometime in May 1821 the said Moore gave a delivery bond with Jos. Dunman as his surety to William Bailey and Co. conditioned as usual in such bonds for the delivery of certain property therein mentioned. That in the same month and after giving the bond aforesaid he came to William Bailey the acting partner of the firm and after conversing with the said Bailey and shewing him some papers in the said Moore’s possession the said William Bailey said that he would stop all proceedings on the delivery bond aforesaid, as there was little or nothing due to the said firm from the affiant. This affiant also states that the day on which he gave the bond as aforesaid he sent his wife and daughter to the said Bailey on the subject above mentioned and they informed him on their return that the said Bailey told them that the affiant need not trouble himself to bring the property included in the said bond to the day and place appointed for the sale.

William Moore signs and dates November 29, 1825

This deposition and one from Lucy Moore were subsequently objected to because the plaintiffs were not given notification in advance so they could attend and question the person being deposed.

In the file, we find original paperwork from 1821.

Lucy Moore Bailey 1821.png

This order from the Commonwealth of Virginia dated April 27, 1821 to the Halifax County Sheriff orders him to confiscate the property of William Moore and James Moore in order to settle the debt of 38.1.0 to William Bailey plus $6.69 costs.

Lucy Moore Bailey 1821 2.png

Interest was accrued from March 1, 1818 at the rate of 6% per year.

By the time the sheriff’s fees and bond was added, the total was 45.10.0 and was levied against the collateral William had provided.

I wonder if this means that James Moore had nothing, since all property seemed to have been Williams. Was this James’s debt, or William’s?

Lucy Moore Bailey 1821 3.pngLucy Moore Bailey 1821 4.pngLucy Moore Bailey 1821 5.pngLucy Moore Bailey 1821 6.png

William and James Moore asked to retain possession of their property until the day of the sale.

How would this family survive with no horses and no furniture?

Lucy Moore Bailey 1821 7.png

I am unclear whether or not this sale proceeded in 1821. In the case file are statements about what happened at the courthouse the day of the sale and that Bailey has said he was not prosecuting.

I suspect the sale did not occur, because Lucy states that Bailey does nothing for 3 years. Furthermore, in 1822, William Moore deeds to Isaac Medley his 200 acres on Birches Creek to secure a debt. I would have thought this was to pay the above debt, but apparently it was not, because that debt continued. In 1825, this land was auctioned, and Isaac Medley purchased it for $200 – $1 an acre. Today part of that same land is now worth $350,000. William must be rolling over in his grave.

It’s also worth noting here that William’s land only surveyed for 174 acres, not 200. What happened to that 26 acres?

In 1824, William Moore Sr. gives even more property for security, and now the debt is to Isaac Medley for $560.68. The property consists of one wagon and gear, 4 horses, 3 cattle, 12 hogs, 3 feather beds, furniture, 2 bedsteads, all household and kitchen furniture and plantation tools.

If William loses this bet, the gig is over, because that’s literally everything in the house, plus the property itself including the house. What a huge, huge risk. William must have been extremely desperate.

How does an elderly couple even have this discussion? Was William stoic, determined, angry, or a broken, despondent man? What did he say to Lucy?

Another deed follows that was exceedingly difficult to read that states that William Moore sold 50 acres on Birches Creek to William Hartis (maybe Harris?). The land adjoined his own, that of Isaac Medley and William Ferrell, Esq.

This is a vicious circle. You can’t farm without tools and you can’t keep the tools without using the land as collateral. You sell some land, which reduces your ability to earn. I think William was very disabled by this time which is probably how the debt became so overwhelming.

This also causes me to wonder about William Moore’s cause of death. He was old and this was terribly stressful, so this could have hastened a death from natural causes. It could also have prompted him to committ suicide. That’s entirely speculation, but his death did follow shortly after he lost his land. We know he was gone by the end of November in 1826.

1825 Counter-Suit

In 1825 William Moore filed a counter-suit and the entire mess drags on until after both Lucy and William have died. The fact that these 2 suits are so closely related also explains why the suit that Lucy brought against Isaac Medley for the land that was sold to satisfy this debt was never resolved and it too abated upon Lucy’s death in 1832. By this time, I’m sure that everyone was just glad it was over.

Based on the March 1832 date on some of these documents without mention of Lucy being deceased, it’s likely that she died between March and July.

In the case file, testimony is included that states that parties considered William Moore to be in essence bankrupt, unable to pay, the debt being uncollectible years before his death. Even if true, how hurtful this must have been for the minister and his wife to endure at the end of their lives when there was absolutely nothing that could be done.

Nearly 7 years later, on March 12, 1832, Joseph Dunman notifies William Bailey that he is going to depose Edward Henderson and Lucy Ives on Friday the 16th.

Lucy Moore Bailey notice.png

This 1821 notice states that William Moore and James Moore owe William Bailey 58.12.0 which is given in English pounds, plus $6.64 bail for the debt.

This now explains the suit filed in 1825 by William Moore against Bailey that reached back to 1812 for 1306 pounds of tobacco for which Bailey had never paid William Moore his $68.

Given that William Moore did not have a will when he died, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this suit is the list of his property that he gave as security in order for his land not to be confiscated for this debt.

William Moore 1821 property.png

Levyed on the 15th day of May 1821 on two horses five feather beds and furniture, (bed)steads – the property of William Moore the sale appointed and advertised to be in Halifax Courthouse on the 4th Monday of June 1821. A delivery bond with Joseph Dunham security was taken for the delivery of the property on the day and at the place appointed for the sale on the 4th day of June 1821. The plaintiff by their order stayed all further proceedings. Whereupon the bond aforesaid is forthwith returned to the clerk’s office.

I can feel the level of desperation mounting for both William and Lucy. In 1821, William would have been about 71 years old.

In November 1825 in her deposition, Lucy Moore states that she is of lawful age, so I would take that to mean over age 21, although it could be younger for females. This puts her birth before 1804 which is confirmed by later census documents. Lucy clearly states that William is her father and references her mother, which would have been Lucy Moore, William’s wife. Clearly Lucy the daughter was named for Lucy the mother.

The first time I read this, I thought to myself that perhaps Lucy Akin Moore was using the terms father and mother loosely – although that bugged me. At that time, I thought Lucy Moore in the 1825 deposition would have to have been Lucy Akin Moore. Who else could she have been?

Lucy Moore 1825 deposition.png

Lucy states that:

In May 1821 a sheriff came to William Moore her fathers and was about to seize property to satisfy an execution in favor of William Baily and Company but the said William Moore induced the sheriff to wait and not take his property until he could send down to Major W. Baily whereupon the said Lucy and her mother went down to said Bailey and he informed them to tell this said William Moore to give a bond for any little articles and that he need not trouble himself to deliver the property agreeable to the condition of the said bond, for that there was a hogshead of tobacco that the said Moore had not been paid for as he ought to be and further this affiant saith not.

Lucy then signed with her mark.

Bailey agreed, apparently, that he owed William Moore for the 1812 tobacco.

Lucy’s 1825 affidavit was objected to because no previous notice had been given, so eventually, she provided a second one.

Nearly 7 years later, Lucy is deposed again.

Lucy Moore deposition 1832.png

This time Lucy Moore is being deposed as Lucy Ives at John Herbert’s tavern on March 16, 1832.

This deponent objecting from religious motives to being sworn being first duly and solemnly affirmed according to law saith…

My father William Moore sent my mother down to see William Bailey the sheriff had been to William Moors to seaze property for the debt due William Bailey from my father. I went with my mother. He Bailey said that her father might not put himself to any trouble might give a delivery bond on any little thing and he would stop the suit. He told my mother that he should not loose the hogshead of tobacco.

That comment about her religion is very interesting. I am not aware of Methodists or other religions other than the Amish, Mennonite, Brethren and Quakers being unwilling to swear an oath.

As I read this, I wonder why William sent his wife to see Bailey instead of going himself. We know that William had some sort of issue that caused him to be exempt from taxes, likely a physical disability. Could he not walk or ride? Had he suffered a stroke? Is this why Lucy went instead of William going to see Bailey himself?

Lucy Moore deposition 1832 2.png

Question by plaintiff – Did you or did you not understand from William Bailey that the property to be put into the delivery bond was or was not to delivered by him to be sold at the day of sale or was the matter to be stopped until the credit for the tobacco could be settled?

Answer – I understood a stop was to be put to all and afterwards he waited 3 years before he pushed the matter.

Question by same – Did your father give a delivery bond agreeably to William Bailey’s desire and who as the security?

Answer – He did give the bond and Joseph Dunman was his security.

Question by same – Was William Moore able to pay the debt at that time if William Bailey had endeavored to collect it?

Lucy Moore deposition 1832 3.png

Answer – Yes and double that debt.

Question of the agent to the defendant – Are you not the daughter of William Moore?

Answer – yes

Lucy Ives now signs with her mark again on March 16, 1832.

There’s the answer. Lucy Moore, now Ives, is the daughter of both William and Lucy Moore. Of course, by this time William has been dead since 1826 and Lucy is either dead or dies before July of 1832. William can’t be deposed again and Lucy, his wife, was never deposed at all – although I do have to wonder why. Even if Lucy Moore-the-mother is still alive, she is likely in poor health at roughly 78 years of age.

I do wonder if the financial stress and the stress of these lawsuits contributed to their deaths.

The 1850 Census

In the 1850 census, we find:

  • Elizabeth Moore, age 50, so born in 1800 (I suspect this is actually too young)
  • Lucy Ives age 60, born in 1790
  • Rebecca Ives age 40 born in 1810
  • Ann Ives age 22 born in 1828
  • William Ives age 19 born in 1831.

Elizabeth Moore would be Lucy-wife-of-William’s daughter.

Lucy Ives would be Lucy-wife-of-William’s daughter who married James Ives in 1831. James Ives has apparently died. For a long time, we thought this Lucy was Lucy Akin Moore Ives but based on the deposition, we know that’s not the case.

While Rebecca Ives and Ann Ives were born before Lucy Moore and James Ives were married, it’s not impossible that Lucy Moore Ives had two children before marriage that are in 1850 using her married name. It’s also possible that James Ives had two children from a previous marriage who are now living with Lucy. A third possibility is that these children belong to both Lucy Moore Ives and James Ives and were born before they were married.

In the 1840 census, James Ives is 50-60 living with a female of the same age, with 2 females 30-40, 1 female 20-30, 2 females and 2 males 10-15. It’s impossible to make any inferences except that the female who was age 50-60 was probably Lucy.

This also tells us that Lucy Moore Ives would have married at age 41, so her childbearing years would have been limited.

In the 1830 census, which was before Lucy Moore (the daughter) was married in 1831, in the Lucy-wife-of-William’s household, there were 3 small children, 2 females and a male under the age of 5. Ann Ives could have been that person. Rebecca Ives, whoever she is, could also be the mother of Ann and William Ives. Ives could be a married name for Rebecca.

In 1850, Elizabeth, Lucy and Rebecca lived near the Ingraham, Irby, Womack, Ferguson, Henderson and Anderson families and beside Hawkins Landrum who is noted as a pauper. He was also a preacher.

In 1851, Lucy Moore (wife of William) had been deceased for several years, but in a deed from Isaac and Martha Medley to William Irby, the land is described as “Birches Creek nearly opposite to Vernon Meeting House beginning at Lucy Moore’s corner, Wilson’s corner, Jacob Ferguson corner, same land Isaac Medley purchased of William Moore, decd.” Unfortunately, either I didn’t record the number of acres, or it wasn’t given. Somehow, Isaac had once again come into possession of that land.

Lucy Akin Moore and James Moore

Following James Moore’s loss of land in 1827 for debt, I find no trace of them in any future records. He and Lucy Akin could well have packed up and left Virginia for distant locations. At that time, both Tennessee and Kentucky were prime destinations.

1860 Arrives

In the 1860 census, we find three women living together 10 houses from Raleigh Moore who lived very near the Henderson land at Oak Level.

In the same household:

  • Elizabeth Slate, 50 (born 1810)
  • Lucy Ives, 60 (born 1790)
  • Elizabeth Moore 58 (born 1792)

I know who Elizabeth Moore is and Lucy Ives, but who is Elizabeth Slate?

Two of Lucy’s daughters married Slate men, but the only one who was married prior to 1810 had a daughter Elizabeth in 1825, so the relationship of this Elizabeth Slate to the other two women is unknown, assuming there is a relationship at all. It could simply have been that Elizabeth Slate was a neighbor that needed a place to live, or she was willing to help care for Elizabeth Moore and Lucy Ives who were aging.

There’s one other possibility as well, and that’s that the census name is incorrect and Elizabeth Slate is actually Rebecca Slate, Lucy’s daughter. The birth year is too late in the census too, because Rebecca married in 1825. So I’m not suggesting that Elizabeth Slate is actually Rebecca Moore Slate, but simply saying that in light of Rebecca Slate’s signature 3 years later in 1863, we know she’s in the area, not accounted for in the census and I can’t find any indication of what happened to William Slate or any children.

Multiple Elizabeth Moores Too

In the Halifax County death records, an Elizabeth Moore died in 1861 and another in 1863.

Multiple Elizabeth Moores were living at this time in Halifax County, so I have to be very careful not to intermix their records.

The Elizabeth Moore who died in 1861 appears to be the daughter of Caroline Brooks who married William Moore, son of Thomas Moore, (probable son of Lucy and William Moore,) according to an 1834 deed followed by an 1861 estate inventory for Carolina Brooks. These two Elizabeth Moores lived in close proximity. This William Moore was living when the 1860 census was taken and his wife Elizabeth was born about 1819 and had a 2-year-old child in 1860, along with other children.

The Elizabeth Moore who died in 1863 appears to be our Elizabeth Moore because the estate of Elizabeth Moore was committed to the sheriff with Hawkins Landrum, appointed and confirmed as appraiser. Hawkins was Elizabeth’s neighbor in the 1860 census.

This means that Elizabeth’s land was conveyed by administrator or commissioner, not under her name which makes it almost impossible to track forward in time. Were I to return to Halifax County, I would peruse the deeds for Hawkins Landrum as conveyor, not Elizabeth Moore.

In 1863, Lucy Ives sells to William Henderson 47 acres for $1175 adjoining with Morgan (William) Irby, William Henderson, Clementine Anderson, land where Elizabeth Moore, decd owned and Lucy Morz. (sic) Lucy Ives and Rebecca Slate sign with their marks.

In 1864, Lucy Ives purchased items at the estate sale of Elizabeth Moore and in 1865, Samuel P. Watkins confirmed the account for the estate of Elizabeth Moore which was continued into 1866. I would love to have those papers! I wonder if Samuel Watkins conveyed her property.

Unfortunately, when visiting Halifax County, I failed to copy the estate inventory of Elizabeth Moore, if it exists. Much of Elizabeth’s belongings probably belonged to her mother, Lucy since it appears that Elizabeth retained the land and house for another 31 years after Lucy’s death.


Unfortunately, there are missing pieces to this puzzle that don’t make sense.

We know that three of Lucy’s children were involved with her land, all 3 being daughters, but these weren’t Lucy’s only children or her only daughters. These may have been the children that Lucy felt would never marry and needed to be provided for. But Rebecca Slate did marry several years before Lucy died.

If some children maintained an ownership interest in Lucy’s land, why didn’t others, especially since Lucy apparently died intestate?

Even using the benefit of the doubt situation, saying that Thomas wasn’t Lucy’s son, but her husband’s brother, we still know of several other children.

We first find Lucy in the records in 1786 witnessing a deed. Based on the number of and ages of the children, assuming that Lucy was William’s only wife, they had to be married by 1772/1775 to have the number of children that were born.

We know that Azariah who was born about 1783 sold land directly to Lucy, so was likely her son.

We know that Nancy, born about 1785, named a daughter Lucy, so she too was undoubtedly her daughter.


The known children of Rev. William and Lucy Moore in rough birth order are listed below, with the daughters who maintained an interest in her land bolded.

Lucy’s signature appears on some of the marriage bonds, a very unusual gift from the past. At least, we think it’s Lucy, not her daughter’s signature. Lucy the daughter signed with a mark. We’re assuming that Lucy Moore’s signature was actually her signature and not signed by someone else.

  • Thomas Moore (speculative child) was born between 1771 and 1777, taken from the 1792 personal tax data. This is probably the Thomas who married Polly Baker in 1798 given that his granddaughter’s middle name is Baker. Thomas died in 1801 leaving orphans Rawley and William who were bound by the overseers of the poor to Anderson Moore who had also come from Prince Edward County and bought land from Nimrod Ferguson near James and William Moore. However, the Y DNA of one of Anderson’s Moore descendants doesn’t match the James/William Moore line DNA, but Raleigh Moore’s does. In the 1840 census, Raleigh Moore is living beside Edward Henderson. If Thomas is not Lucy’s son, he is her brother-in-law. The fact that Thomas’s children were bound to Anderson Moore raises the question of why, especially since William Moore lived across the road, and if/how Anderson was related. William Moore was apparently disabled by this time.
  • Mary Moore (speculative child) born in 1775, found in 1850 census living with William B. Moore (the orphan of Thomas Moore and brother to Raleigh Moore). One Mary Moore signed Rebecca Moore’s marriage license in 1825 along with Lucy. Since there is no marriage record for Mary Moore, nor did she appear to have shared in her mother’s estate, she may have died before her mother’s land was sold. It’s also possible that the Mary living in 1850 is not the Mary who signed Rebecca’s marriage license in 1825. We do know that Mary is somehow connected due to the marriage document she witnessed.
  • Azariah Moore was born in 1783 or before and served in the War of 1812, dying in 1866. Letitia described him at the time of his enlistment as 5 feet 10 inches, nearly black hair, blue eyes and a red complexion. His occupation was deputy sheriff. He married Letitia Johnson in 1818 in Pittsylvania County, having four daughters and two sons. Letitia’s father left her money but stipulated that Azariah couldn’t touch it, nor could it be used to pay his debts. Letitia’s widows pension application was rejected, saying Azariah was not on the roles of Capt. Faulkner’s regiment.
  • William Moore (Jr.), born 1775-1785, moved to Pittsylvania County before 1815 and had business dealings with his brother, Azariah. William probably married Sarah (or Sally) and had at least 2 sons and 3 daughters. By 1850 William had died, but his wife Sarah was shown as age 64 (born 1786) along with Nancy Jenkins age 36 (born about 1814), Sarah Jenkins age 11 (born about 1839) and a son William Moore born about 1820, age 30.
  • Nancy “Ann” Moore born about 1785 married John R. Estes on November 25, 1811 and moved to Claiborne Co., TN by 1820 where she died between 1860-1870. She had 4 sons and 5 daughters, all but one living to adulthood.
  • James Moore born about 1785 married Lucy Akin in 1817, lived beside Edward Henderson in the 1820 census and was absent from the 1830 census. In 1827 James lost his land to debt to Isaac Medley, the same man who purchased William Moore’s land. There is mention of a James Moore in the 1830s pertaining to the chancery suit involving William Moore’s debt, but nothing more is known about James.
  • Kitty Moore born about 1788 married Francis Slate in 1805. Her father wrote a note giving permission and her two brothers both signed as her bond, indicating they are both 21 or over. Kitty and Francis are living in Surry Co., NC in 1850. They have son Archibald who is 35 and noted as an invalid, Rabecca (sic) 33 and Elizabeth 25.
  • Elizabeth Moore who depending on the census was born either in 1792 or in 1800. She apparently winds up with her mother’s land and never marries. Elizabeth died in 1863.
  • Lucy Moore born about 1790, married James Ives in 1831. Given that she would have been 41 at the time, it’s unknown whether she had William Ives with James Ives or whether William was someone else’s child. Lucy apparently died between the 1860 and 1870 census.
  • Jane Moore born 1800 or earlier married James Blackstock in 1823. I cannot find this couple in 1830, but in 1840 one James Blackstock was living in Halifax County, age 50-60, female age 40-50 (born 1790-1800), with 2 male children, ages 10-15 and 15-20. In 1850, James Blackstock age 68 (born 1782) lived beside William Henderson, wife Jane 53, so born in 1797, son James L. Blackstock age 21. By 1860, neither James nor Jane are shown in the census, and their son James is married with a family. However, in 1870 James Blackstock, age 88, is living alone beside John Blackstock, age 49, probably his son. It appears that Jane probably didn’t have female children.

William Moore 1823 signature Jane Moore to James Blackstock

Interestingly enough, both Rebecca Moore and Lucy Moore sign Jane’s marriage document, in addition to William Moore.

My original assumption was that the Lucy who signed was Jane’s mother, but that might not be the case. Jane’s sister Lucy was born in 1790, so would have been 33 in 1823 when Jane married – clearly old enough to sign as a witness.

Lucy, the daughter, signs with her mark in the 1825 and 1832 depositions, and this document is signed by Lucy, suggesting that this was signed by Lucy the mother.

  • Rebecca Moore born 1800 or earlier married William G. Slayte (Slate) in 1825. I can’t find this couple after their marriage but in the 1850 census, there is a Rebecca Sleet, age 62 (born in 1788) living with John P. Sleet and family in Orange County, VA. In the household is a child by the name of Lucy J. Sleet and Rebecca M. Sleet. In 1863, Rebecca Slate signs a deed selling her mother’s land. One tree on Ancestry shows a William Slate born to William G. in 1833 in Pittsylvania County, died 1896 in Halifax, married a Lucy Jordan and had 4 children. This William is shown on the census to be a minister.

William Moore 1825 signature Rebecca Moore to William Slayte

Lucy Moore signs this document too, as does Mary Moore. This document causes me to suspect Mary Moore is another daughter that never married.

Possible Children

Possible additional children of Lucy Moore are the 3 individuals below.

  • Lemuel born before 1791, perhaps as early as 1770-1780, appears in 1812 on the Halifax County tax list and in an 1825 debt suit filed against him. Then we find Lemuel in 1830 in Grainger Co. TN beside Mastin Moore, known to be a grandson of William’s brother. Sometimes Lemuel is written as Samuel. Furthermore, a Lemuel Moore married Anna Stubblefield in 1804 in Grainger County and died in 1859 in Laurel County, Kentucky. In 1797, Lemuel Moore is found in Greene County, TN beside Rice Moore, William Moore’s brother. There are clearly two Lemuel Moores. I suspect one is William’s brother and one is William’s son. I have DNA matches through 3 of Lemuel’s children at what would be (1) 4C1R, (2) 5C and (4) 5C1R if the Lemuel in Laurel County, KY is indeed William’s son. If that Lemuel is more distantly related, the relationships would be more distant. The connection could also be through the Stubblefield line, which may be connected through either William’s wife, Lucy, or William Moore’s parents.
  • Isaac born in 1793 or before, assigned as a road hand in 1814 with James Moore and Samuel (Lemuel?). Nothing more.
  • Israel born in 1791 or earlier, appears 1 time on the tax list in 1812 the same day as William. Nothing more.

Of the above, I strongly suspect one of the two Lemuels is William’s son. The other possibly his brother. There is no record of what happened to Isaac or Israel.

Mitochondrial DNA

I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Lucy Moore through all females to the current generation, which can be male. Lucy’s daughters who had or might have had daughters are listed below

Nancy “Ann” Moore who married John R. Estes and moved to Claiborne County, TN.

Nancy had the following daughters who had children who could have passed Lucy’s mitochondrial DNA to the current generation.

  • Lucy Estes (1812-1886) born in Claiborne County, TN and died in Waubaunsee Co., Kansas, married Coleman Rush and had 2 daughters. Only one daughter, Lucy Rush who married William Bell had any females who had females who have living descendants today that represent Lucy Moore’s mitochondrial line. Lucy Rush had daughters:
  • Temperance Estes born about 1817 or 1818 married Adam Clouse in Claiborne County. They had 9 children including 6 daughters:
    • Ann J. Clouse born in 1841 but I find no record of her marrying or having children.
    • Mary Mollie Clouse born 1842 married Amos Hutchens, died in Bourbon Co., KY in 1918 and had two daughters, Rosetta Hutchens and Mary Hutchens who both had daughters as well.
    • Jemima Clouse who was born about 1844 and about whom nothing more is known.
    • Sarah J. Clouse born about 1849 and about whom nothing more is known.
    • Louisiana Clouse born about 1856 and about whom nothing more is known.
    • Elizabeth Clouse born in 1858 and who may have married Robert F. Cook in 1882. If she had daughters, they would carry Lucy’s mitochondrial DNA.
  • Nancy Estes (1820-1890) married Nathaniel Wilburn Hooper and had two daughters
    • Mary Hooper born in 1853, nothing further known.
    • Malinda Hooper born in 1855, nothing further is known.
  • Mary Estes, born about 1830 and died before 1864 in Jackson, KY married William Hurst and had 3 daughters. The only daughter known to marry is:
    • Rebecca Hurst (1855-1899) Madison Co., KY who married Silas Charles Harding and had daughters, Mary Harding (b 1874), Julia Harding (b 1875), Martha Margaret Harding (1883-1980), Josie Harding (1892-1981), Rebecca Harding born 1899 and Bessie Harding (1900-1989) who married Elmer Baker. It’s not known if any of these daughters had daughters.

Kitty Moore married Francis Slate and lived in Surry Co., NC. In 1860, Kitty appears to be deceased, but we find Frank Slate, age 92 in Stokes County, NC, with:

  • Rebecca Slate age 46, Mary Slate age 13, Lucy Slate age 8 and Kitty Slate age 1. If these daughters are the children of Rebecca Slate, they are likely Lucy’s grandchildren, assuming Rebecca is the daughter of Kitty Moore and Francis Slate and not a daughter-in-law.

Brenda, who descends from this Slate line shows Kitty and Francis’s children to be: John (1809-1970), Azariah (1810-1850), Archibald (1812-1900), William Harrison (1815-1860), Mary Rebecca (1817-?), Peterson James (1820-1875), Isham James (1823-?), Elizabeth (1825-?), Sarah (1825-1869) along with Jeremiah, Robert and Matilda with no dates. No spouses are given for any of the females.

Autosomal DNA

I look at these segments, painted to John R. Estes and Nancy Ann Moore, Lucy’s daughter, and I know some of them descend to me today from Lucy. Hopefully, one day, these segments will help me determine the identity of Lucy’s parents.

Lucy Moore DNAPainter.png

What I can say is that I’ve identified the segments on chromosome 6 as belonging to James Moore and Mary Rice, so they did not descend from Lucy. The rest all come from John Estes or Nancy Moore. If they came from Nancy, then some probably descended from Lucy.

There are secrets yet to be revealed.


Lucy’s life was a real challenge to unravel. After discovering her first name, it appeared that the only thing we would ever know about Lucy was her name from deeds. Based on what we know about her husband and children, Lucy’s life must have been exceedingly difficult.

For the beginning of her married life, Lucy raised children and farmed while William was absent circuit riding and ministering. That continued until at least 1796 or 1797 when something happened to William to disable him.

I can’t help but wonder if a horse threw him while he was riding. Of course, any number of things could have happened, none of them good. Lucy would have been about 43 when William’s disability occurred. Lucy was still having children at that time and may have had another child, or two. Regardless, Lucy was left in a situation where she had a houseful of stairstep children to raise and a disabled husband.

Beginning in 1793 and 1794, a schism embroiled the Methodist religion, and drama ensued on that front as well. William left the Methodist church and founded a new religion. I can’t help but wonder if that didn’t have something to do with why Lucy and William bought the land where the meeting house stood in 1797, and perhaps had something to do with why they sold it in 1801. For some reason, the meeting house was not included in the deed either time. Why did Ransom Day want to retain the “Moore Meeting House?” How long had William been preaching there? Perhaps as long as the family had been in Halifax County. We know he began preaching before 1775. Did he stop preaching there because of the schism?

We can rest assured that Lucy was in that Meeting House probably almost as much as she was in her own house.

In 1803, William founded what is today the Pleasant Grove United Church of Christ a few miles down the road with another minister, part of a new religion, an offshoot of Methodism called “Just Plain Christian” and then “The Christian Church.”

William’s financial difficulties began during this period of religious dissention and increased until the end of his life 30 years later. It seemed like one thing after another went wrong.

In 1798, their (probable) son Thomas married, but was dead by 1801, orphaning two young sons, Raleigh and William Moore. Those children were bound out to the neighbor, Anderson Moore.

About this same time, William and Lucy sold the 100 acres of land where the Meeting House stood that they had only owned for 4 years. I’d guess they needed money based on the fact that William was disabled for some reason, but there could also have been some religious pressure as well.

William’s tobacco in 1812 was sold to a warehouse that didn’t credit the sale, went bankrupt and was sold. The new owner didn’t credit the sale either. This dispute would never be unraveled in William’s lifetime and this seemed to snowball into further debt.

Two of Lucy and William’s sons, William and Azariah, were in financial trouble in 1812 too.

The War of 1812 descended upon the family, and son Azariah (reportedly) served as did their new son-in-law John R. Estes.

We know that William could still travel, at least somewhat, because he was just across the border marrying a couple in 1817 for which he was paid a dollar. He provided a deposition in 1819 when the couple wanted to divorce what was rather uncomplimentary in nature.

By 1820, John R. Estes with their daughter, Nancy, had departed for Claiborne County, Tennessee, next door to Grainger County where William Moore’s brothers and also possibly his son, Lemuel, lived already. Lucy would never see Nancy or her grandchildren again. That had to be one heartbreaking day, watching the wagon leave, disappearing into a dot in the distance, with Nancy, age 35 or so and between 5 and 7 grandchildren ranging in age from 7 or 8 to newborn, depending on when they left, exactly.

Were those children waving out the back of the wagon in tears, or did they not realize they would never see their grandmother again? And what about Nancy? She surely understood.

In 1821 and 1822, William’s financial pressures increased, with him signing his land over and eventually, all of his personal property as collateral for debt.

Son James was also embroiled in this transaction.

In 1825, William filed a countersuit regarding the tobacco sale and gave a deposition.

In 1826, Lucy bought land from her son, Azariah.

In 1826, William lost his land and everything else, including their beds, in a protracted series of painful lawsuits, and subsequently died.

Throughout all of this, Lucy was a silent partner. Normally, an elderly widow would fade into oblivion, especially under these circumstances, but that’s not what Lucy did.

Lucy took stock of the situation and did what my Dad referred to as, “pulling herself up by her bootstraps,” taking charge of the situation.

Lucy’s husband William had never obtained her permission by way of a signature when he pledged the land for collateral. He lost the land to Isaac Medley, but Lucy regained her full one-third share by filing a lawsuit a few days after Thanksgiving the year that William died. Clearly, Isaac wasn’t counting on that.

That lawsuit in addition to other chancery suits provide us with incredible insight into Lucy’s life, previously unknown children, and by inference, details about Lucy herself.

Lucy was a silent partner for just so long. When William died, Lucy clearly knew what needed to be done, and did it, regaining her portion of the land. It may have been a “good ole’ boys” network, with deeds being signed in candle-lit taverns, but Lucy was not going to suffer the consequences of being overlooked in subdued, complacent, subjective silence.

Lucy’s estate at her death in 1832 consisted of 100 acres of land that she left, one way or another, to her daughters, based on later sales. Not bad for a minister’s wife who had to save her egg money to purchase 50 acres from her son in her own name 6 years earlier at 72 years of age.

Lucy’s life-long can-do attitude, her perseverance in the face of unbelievable adversity and her bravery remain inspirational today, 187 years after her death.

Lucy,  this t-shirt is ode to you from your 4 times great-granddaughter!

Lucy Moore tshirt.png



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