Phasing the X Chromosome

The X chromosome lives a genetic and genealogical life all of its own because of its unique inheritance properties which vary depending on whether you are a male and inherit the X only from your mother, or a female an inherit an X chromosome from both parents.  Because of this, it’s a great, and often untapped, resource for genealogists.

I covered how this works in my blog titled X Marks the Spot.  Jim Owston, however, has gone another step further and documented how to phase that X chromosome, meaning how to assign pieces of it to specific ancestors.  This is a great educational piece and tool for us genealogists, so please, take a look:

Great work Jim!!!

2012 Top 10 Genetic Genealogy Happenings

2012 has been a very busy year for genetic genealogists.  There have been lots of discoveries and announcements that affect everyone, now and in the future.  The watchwords for 2012 would be “churn” and “explosive growth.”  Let’s take a look at the 10 most important events, why they are important and what they mean for the future of genetic genealogy.

These items are in what I think are relatively good order, ranked by their importance, although I had a very difficult time deciding between number 1 and 2.

1. The New Root – Haplogroup A00

At the Family Tree DNA conference in November, Michael Hammer, Bonnie Schrack and Thomas Krahn announced that they had made a monumental discovery in the age of modern man known as Y-line Adam.  The discovery of Haplogroup A00 pushes the “birth” of mankind back from about 140,000 years ago to an amazing 338,000 years ago.  Utterly amazing.  The DNA came from an American family from South Carolina.  This discovery highlights the importance of citizen science.  Bonnie is a haplogroup administrator who recognized the potential importance of one of her participants’ DNA.  Thomas Krahn of course is with Family Tree DNA and ran the WTY test, and Michael Hammer is at the University of Arizona.  So you have the perfect blend here of participant, citizen scientist, commercial lab and academia.  What was never thought possible a decade or so ago is not only working, it’s working well and changing the face of both science and humanity.

2. Geno 2.0

Geno 2.0 is the Nickname for the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project version 2.0.  That mouthful is why it has a nickname.

This amazing project has leveraged the results of the past 7 years of research from the original Genographic project into a new groundbreaking product.  Geno 2.0, utilizing the GenoChip, a sequencing chip created specifically for Nat Geo, offers the most complete Y tree in the world today, expanding the SNP tree from just over 800 SNPs to over 12,000.  They are in essence redrawing the Y chromosome tree as I write this.  In addition, the person who purchases Geno 2.0 will receive a mitochondrial DNA haplogroup assignment.  Over 3300 new mitochondrial mutations were discovered. A brand new anthropological “percentages of ethnicity” report is featured based on over 75,000 Ancestry Informative Markers, many only recently discovered by the Genographic project.  Additionally, participants will receive their percentage of both Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry based on 30,000 SNPs identified that signal interbreeding between the hominids.  A new website will also facilitate social networking and uploading information to Family Tree DNA.

The wonderful news is that there is a massive amount of new information here that will change the landscape of genetic genealogy.  The difficulty is that we are struggling a bit under the load of that massive amount of information that is just beginning to descend upon us.  It’s a great problem to have!

3. Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence (RSRS)

In July, Family Tree DNA implemented the RSRS that in effect reconstructs the genetic profile of Mitochondrial Eve and bases the comparison of our DNA today against the RSRS sequence as opposed to the Cambridge Reference Sequence (rCRS) created in 1981 that is or was the current standard.  The RSRS is a result of the watershed paper published in April 2012 by Dr. Doron Behar and 8 other authors titled “A “Copernican” Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root.”  A complementary research website,, accompanies the paper.

4. Full Genome and Exome Sequence Offered Commercially by Gene by Gene

It was announced at the November DNA conference that Gene by Gene, the parent company of Family Tree DNA, through their division titled DNA DTC is offering full genomic sequencing for the amazing price of $5495 for the full genome and $695 for the exome.  This is a first in the consumer marketspace.  Today, this doesn’t have a lot of application for genetic genealogy, but as the price continues to drop, and utilities are built to process the full genomic data, certainly a market and applications will emerge.  This is an important step forward in the industry with a product that still cost 3 million dollars in 2007.

5. Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA

It’s official – they did it.  Yep, they interbred and well, they are not them anymore, they are us.  Given that everyone in Asia and Europe carries a part of them, but not people from Africa, it would appear that two populations admixed rather thoroughly in Eurasia and/or the populations were small.  The amount of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA will continue at approximately the proportions seen today in Europe (2% Neanderthal) and Asia unless a significant amount of admixture from a population (Africa) that does not carry this admixture is introduced.  So if you’re European, you carry both Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA.  They are your ancestors.  The good news is that you can find how much of each through  the Geno 2.0 test.  23andMe results give you the percentage of Neanderthal, but not Denisovan.

6. Ancestral Genome Reconstruction Begins,  Led by Falling Autosomal Prices and the Ability to Fish in Multiple Ponds

2012 has been the year of autosomal testing price reductions and a great deal of churn in this marketspace.  Companies are playing leap-frog with one another.  However, sometimes things are not all that they seem.

Initially, 23andMe opted for an initial payment plus monthly subscription model, which they abandoned for a one time payment price of $299 in early 2012.  Family Tree DNA was slightly less, at $289.

Ancestry led the price war by giving away kits, then selling them for $99, then $129 plus a subscription as an entrance into this market.  However, looking at the Ancestry consent form hints at possible reasons why they were selling below the cost of the tests.  You are in essence giving them permission to sell your DNA and associated information.  In addition, to gain full access to your results and matches, you must maintain some level of subscription to, increasing the total effective price.

Next came Family Tree DNA’s sale where they dropped their autosomal price to $199, but they were shortly upstaged by 23andMe whose price has now dropped to $99 permanently, apparently, a result of a 50 million dollar investment in order to reach 1 million customers.  They currently have about 180,000.  23andMe has always been in the medical/health business, so their clients have always understood what they were consenting to and for.

Not to be outdone, Family Tree DNA introduced the ability earlier in 2012 to upload your data files from 23andMe to FamilyTree DNA for $89, far less than a second test, which allows you to fish in a second pond where genealogists live for matches.  The challenge at 23andMe is that most of their clients test for the health traits and either don’t answer inquiries or match requests, or know little about their genealogy if they do.  At Family Tree DNA, matches don’t have to answer and allow a match, testers are automatically matched with all participants who take the Family Finder test (or upload their 23andMe results) and testers are provided with their matches’ e-mail address.

Of course, Geno 2.0 was also introduced in the midst of this, in July, for $199 with the additional lollipop of new SNPS, lots of them, that others simply don’t have access to yet.

The good news is that consumers have benefitted from this leapfrogging, I think.  Let’s hope that the subsidized tests at Ancestry and 23andMe don’t serve long term to water down the demand to the point where unsubsidized companies (who don’t selling participants genetic results to others) have problems remaining viable.

Personally, I’ve tested at all of these companies.  I’ll be evaluating the results shortly in detail on my blog at

The tools provided by most testing companies, plus GedMatch, and multiple ponds to fish in are allowing the serious genetic genealogist to “reconstruct” their genome, attributing segments to specific ancestors.  Conversely, we will also be able to “reconstruct” specific ancestral family lines as well by identifying autosomal segments in multiple descendants.  This new vision of autosomal genetic genealogy will allow much more accurate ancestral line matching, and ancestor identification in the not-so-distant future.

7. Ethnicity Tests Mature – Minus 1

The good news is that the various ethnicity tests (known as BGA or biogeographical ancestry tests) that provide participants with their percentages of various world populations are improving.  The bad news is that there is currently one bad apple in the card with very misleading percentages – and that is

23andMe introduced a new version of their ethnicity product in December, expanding from only 3 geographic categories to several.  The Geno 2.0 test results are just beginning to be returned which include ethnicity predictions and references to several base populations.

Family Tree DNA finally has some competition in this arena where for years they have been the only serious player, although opinions differ widely about which of these three organizations results are the most accurate.  All four are Illumina chip based, using hundreds of thousands of locations, as compared with the previous CODIS type tests which used between 15 and 300 markers and are now outdated.  All companies use different reference populations which, of course, provide somewhat different results to participants.  All companies, except Ancestry, have documented and shared their reference population information.

Outside of these companies, Doug McDonald offers a private analysis and Gedmatch offers a series of BGA comparisons written by third parties.

While this industry continues to grow and mature, I’m thinking about just averaging the autosomal ethnic results and calling it good:)

8. Finding Your Roots PBS Series with Henry Louis Gates

PBS sponsored a wonderful series in the spring of 2012 hosted by Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, the chair of African American Studies at Harvard.  This series followed a lesser known 2010 series.  The 2012 inspirational series reached tens of thousands of people and increased awareness of genetic genealogy as well as sparked an interest in genealogy itself, especially for mixed race and African American people.  I was disappointed that the series did not pursue the Native American results unexpectedly obtained for one participant.  It seemed like a missed opportunity.  Series like this bring DNA testing for genealogy into the mainstream, making it less “strange” and frightening and more desirable for the average person.  These stories were both inspirational and heartwarming.  I hope we can look forward to similar programs in the future.

CeCe Moore covered this series in March and April on her blog.

9. Ancestry, GeneTree and Sorenson

GeneTree, a for profit company and Sorenson, a non-profit company were both purchased by  This was about the same time as Ancestry introduced their autosomal AncestryDNA product.  Speculation was that the autosomal results at Sorenson might be the foundation for the new autosomal test comparisons, although there has been no subsequent evidence of this.

Ancestry initially gave away several thousand kits in order to build their data base, then sold thousands more for $99 before raising the price to what appears to be a normalized price of $129 plus an annual ancestry subscription.

While GeneTree was never a major player in the DNA testing marketspace, Sorenson Molecular Genealogical Foundation played an important role for many years as a nonprofit research institute.  There was significant distress in the genetic genealogy community related to the DNA contributed to Sorenson for research being absorbed by Ancestry as a “for profit” company.  Ancestry is maintaining the website, but no additional results will be added.  Sorenson has been entirely shuttered.  Many of the Sorenson/GeneTree employees appear to have moved over to Ancestry.

The initial AncestryDNA autosomal product offering is poor, lacks tools and the ethnicity portion has significant issues. It’s strength is that many people who test are already Ancestry subscribers and have attached their trees.  So you can’t see how you connect genetically to your matches (lack of tools), but you can see the trees, if they are attached and not marked as private, of those with whom you match.  Ancestry provides “hints” relative to matching individuals or surnames.

Eventually, if Ancestry improves its products, provides tools and releases the raw data to consumers, this may be a good thing.  It’s an important event in 2012 because of the massive size of Ancestry, but the product is mediocre at best.  Ancestry seems unwilling to acknowledge issues unless their feet are held to the fire publicly as illustrated with a “lab error” erroneous match for an adoptee caught by the consuming public and ignored by Ancestry until CeCe Moore exposed them in her blog.  Whether Ancestry ultimately helps or hurts the genetic genealogy industry is a story yet to be told.  There is very little positive press in the genetic genealogy community surrounding the Ancestry product, but with their captive audience, they are clearly going to be a player.

10. GedMatch

GedMatch,, created by John Olson and Curtis Rogers, isn’t new in 2012, but it’s maturing into a tool that is becoming the defacto workhorse of the serious autosomal community.  People who test at either 23andMe or Family Tree DNA download their raw results and other match information and then use a variety of tools at GedMatch to look at results in different ways and using different thresholds. GedMatch is currently working to accept the newly arriving Geno 2.0 data files.  Ancestry does not at this time allow their customers access to their raw data files, so there is nothing to upload. The bad news is that not everyone downloads/uploads their information.  Only the most savvy users, and the download/upload is not always a smooth process, often necessitating several attempts, a magic wand and some fairy dust for luck.

GedMatch is a volunteer effort funded by donations on the GedMatch site.  The magnitude of this project came to light when they needed new servers this year because the amount of traffic disabled their internet service provider.  It may be a volunteer effort, but it has mainstream requirements.  Therefore, while occasionally frustrating, it’s easy to understand why it’s light on documentation and one has to poke around a bit to figure things out.  I would actually prefer that they make it a subscription site, clean up the bugs, add the documentation and take it to the next level.  It would also be very nice if they could arrange something with the major players in terms of a seamless data transfer for clients.  All told, it’s an amazing contribution as a volunteer site.  Hats off to Curtis and John for their ongoing contribution to genetic genealogists!!!

Unattaching Ancestry’s Self-Attaching Trees

I had really come to really dread the e-mails from people who say they are going to invite me to view their family tree at  It’s not because I don’t want to see the tree, I do.  It’s because Ancestry does me the huge favor of “attaching” that tree to my account like a very large parasitic blood-sucking leach.  They’ve assumed that every tree I look at is “family,” and that my attachment to that tree is “forever.”  And better yet, every time someone does something, anything, to that tree, I receive a message that says “New content has been entered to your family tree.”  Well, Ancestry, it’s not MY family tree and I NEVER asked you to do me any favors by attaching some random tree I’m looking at to me.  In fact, I specifically don’t want you to do that, but like normal, I don’t get to vote.  This is called “too much help” and anyone who has ever loved a 2-year-old knows all about “too much help.”

So, the random tree is firmly attached to me.  Now the question is how to remove the parasite.

First of all, I need to determine if I really do want the tree attached, meaning it is a tree I might want to reference, or if I simply want to detach it.  For DNA project administrators, most of the time, you simply want to detach them from your own personal records.

However, if you want to retain the connection to the tree, you can simply disable the notifications.  Those constant notifications are the part that will make you crazy, and the more trees you have attached, the crazier the notifications will make you.  Disabling notifications is relatively straightforward.  You need to go to your name in the top right of your screen and in the drop-down menu select “My Alerts”.

ancestry trees 4 v2

You can then change the delivery notification for each tree you have access to. The options are off, daily and weekly.  Yes, it’s a pain to have to do this to disable something you never wanted in the first place, but it’s only once (per tree) and it removes the bombardment of unwanted e-mails.

ancestry trees 5

Discovering how to remove the trees is more tricky.  However, once you’ve figured out how to do this, it’s relatively easy.

Fly your cursor over the Family Trees tab.

Ancestry trees 1

Some have a “More” option.  If so, click on it.  Mine didn’t.  If not, then click on the olive Family Trees Tab itself, not the drop down options.  You’ll then see “My Trees” and “Trees shared with me.”  Click on Trees Shared with me.  There is it, the blessed “remove from list” button.  Click and they are gone.

Ancestry trees 3

This is a frustrating dilemma because genealogists do want to share their information but it shouldn’t become a burden to either party.  It’s too bad Ancestry doesn’t give you the option to “save the link” or simply, by default, just look.

Debbie Kennett suggests that if people want to make their tree available online to their matches she finds MyHeritage is a much better alternative than Ancestry. You can upload a tree for up to 250 people free of charge. The big advantage of MyHeritage is that anyone can see your tree without needing to have an Ancestry subscription or
an invite. You can see her tree here:

Thanks to Ann Turner, Debbie Kennett and Jim Owston for their assistance with figuring out how to get rid of these self-attaching trees.  Once you know how to do this, it’s not difficult, but figuring out the procedure was anything but straightforward.

Lost Colony DNA Project Makes The Scientist Magazine List of Top 20 Stories for 2012

Lost colony dnaThe Lost Colony DNA project, sponsored by the Lost Colony Research Group,, found themselves featured at number 15 in The Scientist Magazine’s Top 20 stories for 2012.

Original article, published on January 1st, 2012, is found at this link.

It’s also of note that Kerry Grens, the author of the story was honored by the North Carolina Society of Historians with an award for this article this past October.

Anne Poole (at left), my partner and Research Director, are screening for artifacts in the photo at one of our excavation sites.  Anne and I seldom are actually able to do something together at the same time, as there are lots of logistics and challenges to work on every minute of every dig with 20-40 people in the field.  Please note that my t-shirt says “Well behaved women seldom make history.”  It’s my motto, and I’ve never been accused of being well behaved!

Thanks everyone for your participation and interest.  Let’s make 2013 a great year with lots of research and let’s find those colonists!!

All I Want for Christmas is my Moore Wall to Fall

I remember my old Hoosier farmer step-Dad used to say that a person’s luck was in direct proportion to the amount of elbow grease they expended.  I used to find his tidy little sayings quite irritating, but as I grew up, the deep seated truth behind them became evident and they are often with me in the recesses of my mind today – ever popping forth from time to time.  I always smile and think of Dad:)

It’s true, about the luck and elbow grease.  Partly because the more work you do, the more prepared and ready you are for “luck” to grace you, and because the more you focus on one thing, the more likely you are to “see” something you didn’t notice before.  And then sometimes, a little magic happens and a genealogy gift is bestowed upon you. Synchronicity.

In genetic genealogy, it’s also because there are new and/or improved and better tools available each year and more people test who may just provide the answer to long standing questions.  Let’s hope that Santa’s sleigh is full of DNA kits for people this year!

Each year, I pick a family to work on.  Many of those brick walls have fallen, probably half as a result of DNA testing.  The other half due to traditional genealogy, and in many cases, “luck.”  I prefer to think that it’s our ancestors helping us and providing us with ‘clues’ we could never find without a bit of a boost from the other side.

My Moore family has proven particularly difficult.  Partly because there are so many Moores out there.  My Moore line is from Halifax County, Virginia, or at least that’s where I first found them, but they lived in Amelia, now Prince Edward, County before that.  James Moore first appears in a record in 1745 in Amelia County.  He married Mary Rice, the daughter of Joseph Rice, his neighbor.  We can’t find James, or a possible relative, William Moore, who lived adjacent, before these early Amelia County records.  By 1770, James and his family had moved to Halifax County, Virginia and settled on the second fork of Birches Creek, shown below.  William Moore and his wife, Margaret, sold their adjacent land and moved on, but we don’t know to where.

Older Henderson Cem

We found James Moore’s land, and the old Henderson Cemetery on land he once owned, on a trip to Halifax County in 2008.  We believe he is buried here with one of many fieldstones marking his grave.  This, the second fork of Birches Creek, is a land of beautiful, gentle rolling hills that often appear somewhat misty.  I stood where my ancestor stood, on the land he owned, and looked at the scene that was not much different than the one he saw 238 years earlier, except maybe for the gravel on the road.

Henderson cem 3

James Moore lived beside the Edward Henderson family and it’s believed that James’ daughter, Lydia, married Edward Henderson.  I have always suspected that James’ son, the Reverend William Moore, my ancestor, who married a Lucy may have married Lucy Henderson.  But the records don’t give us the answer.

There were several Moore families in Halifax County.  I was just sure that many of them were related.  Reuben Moore lived less than half a mile away from my James Moore, within sight of his farm.  Another James Moore family lived a few miles down the road.  One by one, we’ve tested most of these families, and one by one, they don’t match my Moore line.  For the most part, they don’t match each other either.  Moore was a much more common name than I thought and many Moore families were following the typical settlement and migrations patterns across Virginia and the Piedmont.

And worse yet, my Moore family doesn’t match any of the families that reach back earlier in time, and no Moore families from the British Isles.  So, in essence, we’re stuck.

So what do I intend to do about this?

First, I’m going to focus on this line. The Moore Worldwide project is the surname project for the Moore families.  In the past, the administrators, Marge Stockton and Julia French Wood, have grouped these families together and then using the research I’ve gathered over the years, I’ve written summaries for the various lines. I’m going to go back and revisit these lines, write about any new ones, and maybe, by process of elimination I can limit the possible Moore lines in colonial Virginia and Pennsylvania from which my Moores may have sprung.  They HAD to come from someplace!  Knowing which lines they did not come from, eventually, will lead to the ones they did come from.  I suspect it’s a line with only a few males, or we would find more Moores today, pardon the pun.

Secondly, I’m going to mine Ysearch, and Ancestry once again to see if anyone new has popped up there.  I only have to check this one last time at Sorenson, as that data base isn’t being updated anymore.  Sometimes, I’ve had more luck tracing someone else’s records than my own.  If we know the Moore families match using Y DNA, then perhaps working on someone else’s genealogical lines will connect with the elusive colonial Moore family that is mine as well.

Third, I’m really going to focus on the autosomal matches for Moore.  Moore is the 33rd most common surname in the UK, according to Wikipedia, so yes, I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m looking for patterns here.

Fourth, I’m going to look for related surnames among my autosomal matches.  We’re fortunate to know that James’ wife was Mary Rice.  I am also going to look for Henderson, since I suspect that William Moore’s wife, Lucy may be a Henderson.  Finding these names seperately or together in the surnames of my matches could well be very meaningful.

Fifth, I’m going to ask my ancestors to help out.  I need a little bit of Christmas synchronicity.  And hey, I’m not picky, I’ll take help in whatever form I can find it.

Happy Holidays everyone and here’s hoping Santa will bring you “fallen walls” in 2013!!

Walking in Bauke Camstra’s Shoes

Bauke 1I love what I do.  I really do.  But behind the scenes, there are very long days and very late nights working on everyone’s DNA/genealogy except my own.  I suffer from the “cobbler’s children” syndrome.

But every once in a while, fate is extremely kind to me and throws me a very big chocolate chip cookie.  I call those my “karmic cookies” and they inspire me in so many ways.

Remember in August when I had written about how to create a DNA Pedigree Chart and made what I thought was a throw away comment about my Dutch Genealogy being hopeless?  Yvette Hoitink responded that it wasn’t hopeless after all, and was she right.  I’d like to bring you along for the ride, or in this case, the walk, because this project is definitely going places.

I’ve hired Yvette as my own personal Dutch genealogist, so don’t get any ideas….you can’t have her just yet:)  Actually, I know I don’t keep her busy full time, but I do get dibs, OK???

My Ferverda/Camstra family is from Leeuwarden, in Friesland, in the Netherlands.  Yvette has been digging up all kinds of documents for me, but we reached the point where she needed to visit the local archives.

A couple days ago, she e-mailed me with the oddest coincidence.  Seems that the archives are located right on the land that my ancestors owned, where their “pleasure garden” was located.  Hmmm….now that is interesting.  She took her camera and promised to take photos.

Today, I received this exciting e-mail from Yvette.

“I just got home from a fabulous day at the Tresoar archives. I was able to photograph all of the priority 1 and 2 notarial records. I made over 400 photos in total.”

Ok, by now I was having heart palpitations.  In my mind, I hear the refrain from All I Want for Christmas…..but that wasn’t the best part, believe it or not.

“I also made two videos for you during my lunch break to show you what the area was like. As you can tell, I’m not a professional moviemaker but I thought it would be fun anyway!”

Oh, glory be, Merry Christmas to me!!!  There is no better gift for a genealogist.  And what a surprise.

So, come on, let’s go for a short walk with Yvette down the main street of old town Leeuwarden… – Walking in Bauke Camstra’s shoes  – The fortifications/pleasure garden

Oant Sjen, (“see you later” in Frisian)

Bauke 2

Lost Colony, Hyde County and Lumbee Berry Families

I am very hopeful that one of our subscribers can help solve this mystery. As you will see, several members of the Lost Colony Research Group (via the Berry and Lost Colony DNA Project) are working on this puzzle, but we currently need Berry family members ancestral to both Robison and Hyde Counties in North Carolina to DNA test.

There are two Berry families who claim descent from the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island in 1587, Henry and Richard Berry, who are presumed to be related to each other.

The progenitor of the first line is Henry Berry or O’Berry who is first found owning land in the 1730s in what is today Robison County, NC. This is the Lumbee Berry line. Priscilla Berry Lowery, the unconfirmed sister of Henry Berry/O’Berry reportedly talked about her family’s oral history of descending from Henry Berry, the colonist. I began writing a report about the various pieces of oral history and documentation that surround this legend and that is what started this Berry comparison project. That report is lengthy and will be published in a future Lost Colony Research Group Newsletter as well as on  The newsletters are free and online for everyone at although some are currently offline in the process of being reformatted, so check back if one you want to see is missing right now.

We do have two people who believe they descend from this Lumbee Berry line and their DNA does match. We are working with the Berry Family DNA project. This is the group known as the English Colony Berry’s by the Berry family DNA project. Scroll down on this link to find “English Colony Berry Family” — there are seven men in this group, Berry project ID #43, 61, 107, 112, 138, 140, 181.

We do not have a Berry from the confirmed Lumbee line, but one of our members is attempting to find one. I do believe this is the correct line. We have one person from Craven County where Henry Berry’s son inherited his land and one from SC where other families from this group were known to have moved.

A second Berry line carries a very strong oral history of descent from Richard Berry, the second Berry colonist. This family is from the New Bern/Hyde County, North Carolina, region. Researcher Faye “Mary” Fulford Moore descends from this line. This family was introduced in 1937 when the Lost Colony play opened as the living descendants of the colonists. Unfortunately, Mary has no living Berry people to test. However, her father used to go to Hyde County when she was young and visit the Berry family there whom he claimed to be related to. One of them was a mortician. Mary’s father also duck hunted with a Mr. Stotesbury whom he also referred to as “cousin.”

Sharron Brace’s father was a Berry, also from Hyde County and this line has DNA tested.

In the Berry DNA project, this is known as the Spartanburg line and it does not match the English Colony Berry Family line to which the Lumbee Berrys are assigned.

Sharron tracked down the line of the mortician’s family and she cannot prove that this line descends from or is related to her line using documentation alone. We need someone to DNA test that we can prove is genealogically connected to the same line as the mortician, whom Mary’s father said they were related to.

Here is what Sharron found about the mortician’s genealogy:

“The funeral director in Swan Quarter in 1944 was Dan Berry. In the 1930 census I found Daniel Berry, age 44, living on Main Street in Swan Quarter with his wife Noi. At that time he was a general store merchant. He died in September 2, 1959. His father was listed in the death record as James Edward Berry Sr. and his mother was Evelyn Benjamin Williamson. According to Jim Berry’s website, James Edward Berry Sr. is the son of John Berry Jr. and Sally Stotesbury.  John Jr. is the son of John Berry Sr. and Rebecca Benson.  John Berry Sr. born in 1778 is the son of William Berry and Sarah Green.”

The John Berry born in 1778 may or may not be the brother of Sharon Brace’s ancestor, William Berry born in 1786-88 so we still don’t know if the two Berry lines were related.

So, we need a Berry male to take the DNA test who descends from John Berry born in 1778 through any of his son’s lines. I expect this line will match Sharron’s line, but it may not.

If Henry Berry and Richard Berry, the colonists, were indeed brothers or from the same paternal line (like uncle/nephew, etc.) their DNA will match each other, and their descendants DNA will match each other as well.

Sharron’s Hyde County line does not match that of the Henry Berry Lumbee line. The John Berry 1778 Hyde County line could match Sharron’s line, or could match Henry Berry’s line, or could be a completely different line.

What we need is someone to test from the John 1778 line. Because we know that Faye “Mary” Fulford Moore’s Berry family claimed to be related to this Berry line, the person who tests from the Swan Quarter John Berry (1778) line is representing the Richard Berry “potential colonist” line.

Solving this mystery is quite within reach if we can just find and test the right people.  Here’s hoping that the key lies with one of you!