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.

Update: Note that Ancestry discontinued the SMGF database.

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!!



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55 thoughts on “All I Want for Christmas is my Moore Wall to Fall

  1. Roberta, soon as I get back from last min. Christmas “chopping”, I’ll go through my Moores, Rices, etc. I, too, have a Moore dilemma. They keep popping up all over the place. Have not been able to find where I am directly related to any of them, but as we know, that’s not necessarily the case. Anything is possible. 🙂 Brownie

  2. Hi Roberta,

    I read your plan for finding where your Moores came from and noticed that you do not mention Tyrone Bowes’s method for pinpointing where your ancestors came from Have you looked at your donor’s 37 marker results to see which surnames he matches closely? If there aren’t many, try the 25 marker matches which is sometimes before surnames were formalized. I am doing that on my Greers who immigrated into Baltimore, Maryland in the late 1600s from ?? Scotland or Ireland. They were thought to be part of Clan MacGregor but DNA blew that out of the water. I am finding on the list of surname matches that some of them are likely NPE as they are not typical Scottish or Irish surnames names (Stubblefield, Hamm, and Sink) but these people lived near the Greers in the states and counties where they migrated and are probably unrecorded adoptions of Greer babies. Using RootsWeb WorldConnect you can sometimes trace back to a place of origin when the DNA donor does name a place. For example William Henry Stubblefield b. 1793 with no location lead me to Oglethorpe County George when the Greers migrated. Also George R. Sink born 1868 lead me to Franklin County, Virginia where a lot of Greers moved to from Maryland. Also, Warren R. Hamm. b. 1928 lead me to William Hamm from Grayson County, Virginia another place with lots of my Greer relatives lived in the mid-1800s. Once I have a few of these outliers out of the picture, I can concentrate on the Irish and Scottish surnames.

    Tyrone suggests various sources that can be used to determine where surnames began. One is the 1841 Scottish census (the farmers that had probably lived in the same place for centuries) and the other is the Ordnance Survey maps of Ireland for place names of bridges and crossroads named after your ancestors. I know Moore is a common name but maybe he matches (at 37 or 25 markers) a couple of people with a more unusual name that you could more easily trace. There are a lot of Moores in Ireland and once you eliminate the NPEs you might be left with some likely cousin matches of people who may have shared a common ancestor with your Moores.

    Much love,


    • You know, that’s a great technique and I’m going to add it to my list of how to work with the Moore DNA. Thanks for reminding me of this. I hope these techniques work for others too.

  3. This is too funny!!! I was just working on my husband’s Moore family from Kentucky and Virigina area. The Robert Moore I have is from Kentucky and married a Mary Smith from Virgina. I was trying to see if they were the same Moore’s that are in my family. Merry Christmas everyone.

  4. I certainly hope success with your endeavors to find your “Moores”, as well as myself. It would be a “Hoot” to find we are related! I never realized there were so many different Moore Lines! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
    Carolyn J Inman

  5. Roberta,
    Here is the info on my Moore brick, I am giving you what I know and am praying it may be helpful as the name Estes is one of the surnames that Family Finders has as a distant match for me. and I’ve been told there are strong links to Virginia in our heritage. Unfortunately I do not have any near relatives who might have any information to help me out on this.

    We have been looking for an elusive Moore line for about 30 years. I’m surprised that there’s any mortar to hold that darn brick in place we’ve chipped away so much. Our oldest Moore ancestor that we know of is John Moore born 1796 in Chester County, PA. Sadsbury or Parksburg, I don’t know the date or the Chester County location sources. The census all say that he was from Pennsylvania and give 1796 as the date. Have a lot of info on his children forward.

    My brother is J2 M 172. The Moore from Chester County and most of the rest of PA are not.
    He is in the Moore DNA group under William Henry Moore, Zanesville Ohio 1838. I have seen a Moore with J group though I can’t remember which group it was in. I believe they were from Maryland. DIdn’t have opportunity to hunt it down. There have been several candidates suggested to be his parents and many do show a son John but with the information we have about the wife and children we have concerning my John Moore they don’t work. My John , Susanna and all 7 kids are in the 1850 The latest suggestion has been Thomas Moore and Sarah Haines.

    There is also the possibility that John may have been his middle name so where he used it on papers when others referred to him they may have used a different name. We know for a fact that Johns son, William Henry Moore, used the name commonly used Henry tho on paper he was William Henry.

    John m. Susanna Lowery b. 1806 Loudon Co., Virginia date of marriage 4 Jan 1827 in Zanesville, Muskingum Co, Ohio.
    All of the children were all born in Ohio, and all except John H, were married in Zanesville, all but William H and Cynthia died in Ohio.
    i. Abraham 1828, m Susan Mobry.
    2. Sarah Ann 1830 m. John Carmichael (a bigamist!)
    3. Mary Jane b. 1833 m. John Flower
    4. Margaret E. b 1835 m. Robert J. Miles
    5. William Henry b. 1837 m. Elizabeth Ann Clayton (d/o of Philip & Jane)
    6. John Heistein b. 1842 m. Lucy Ellen Clayton (d/o Philip & Jane)
    7. Cynthia L. b. 1847 m. Levi H. Colcher

    I am1000 percent sure that Susanna Lowery is the correct name for our Mrs. John Moore but in the interest of full disclosure (and to muddy the water) 2 other wives have been suggested at various times for John. One is a Jane Nelson. No other info and the 2dn is Susanna Mouser. I tracked that down and it is WRONG! I think my sis is the one who first had Mouser and she recanted after we found the record re: Moore-Lowery.

    There are William, James and John Moore(s) who claimed land grants in the Virginia Military District in Ohio which was made for Virginia Veterans of the American Revolution.

    Another tidbit of info is that my Father said one time in a conservation that ” One of the family was a very famous preacher”. I don’t know which family .

    Here’s hoping that the Genealogy Angels Bless us all this coming years!

  6. You should add a sixth way — putting the question out there in the world (as evidenced by the posts! Have you checked out the William Moore in Rowan/Stokes Co NC who would be about the right age? That would be a logical PA/VA migration route.
    Happy holidays!

    • We believe that James Moore’s son, James went to Rowan County. He married a Susanna. The DNA matches. There are other groups there too, several in fact, but the DNA doesn’t match on those. Without DNA, we would never, ever sort this out.

      • So glad to hear others have the Moore brickwall. I wonder if my paternal line Moore is related to your Moore since we do have the maternal line Vannoy connection. I have a James Moore abt 1778 married to a Martha Miller. He is thought to be from VA, lived in the Iredell Co area near New Stirling ARP Church and died there. His daughter is Jane Amanda Moore married to JP White.

          • Sorry, no male Moore to test. There is a cluster of Moore families from the Alexander and Iredell Co, NC area that were associated with the New Sterling ARP Church. I believe an early founder was a John Moore and there is a James Moore.. The earliest New Sterling Cemetery listing for a Moore is Archibal Lee Moore b.1810 and Andrew Moore b.May 2, 1811. There is a William Moore with no birth date, but he died Sept 8, 1842.

  7. I wish you the best of luck in finding your Moore family. I love your idea in focusing on a family for a year. That would be be very productive. It may be something I will have to adopt for 2013 – but how do I pick which one!!

  8. I would be interested in an ancestor or the Iredell County Robert Moore who married Elizabeth Taes having the DNA test done. I believe I am related to that line and wouldl ike to prove it.
    Dennis Moore

  9. Roberta, If you are revisiting the Moore’s of Halifax Co., VA, please look at group 2. We are in group 2, and our Burt Moore said in his pension papers he was born in Halifax Co., VA, but we have not found proof of his Father, either. You have the patriarch for group 2 : (Patrick Moore b. c 1681 IR d. c 1753) of Halifax group, first found in Lunenburg County, after his death his sons settled in Halifax County on Miry Creek. Sons Hugh, Joseph, Alexander, Robert, John and William.).
    Two other ydna testers(group 2) who descend from Deacon James Moore b. 1702 married Agnes Colbreath, d. 1773 NH are very close matchs to us(130051). Will their results influence your determination of the patriarch or help you with your quest? Thks, Janice Moore Cronan

    • Hi Janice,

      I know who the progenitor of that line in Halifax is because I have all of the paper work for that family. It’s not my line, but to sort out the various lines in Halifax, I had to do the work for all of them. If your Burt was born in Halifax and is genetically from this group, then this is his line. Deacon James Moore could be related prior to Halifax Cunty, VA, even back in the old country. Also, depending on the haplogrup and how far the people match, the match may be because of haplogroup similariries. For example, if they are both haplogroup R1b1a2 and only match at 12 markers, I would certainly want to see 37 or 67 markers before I called that a match unless there was a very unusual marker involved. It’s really interesting how the DNA plays out and what it shows us. Before we had DNA, I was just convinced that the Halifax Moore families must be related in some fashion, and they weren’t, not even some with the same names (James). You didn’t give me any more info about your Burt. When was he born and who was his wife. Maybe I have something to help. I’ll send you an e-mail.


      • HI Roberta Estes, Have you seen the # of “Estes” living around the Moores in Wilkes County, North Carolina? If you haven’t you should check it out. I did as you suggested about the “cousins” dna and I’m not sure yet– but there seems to be a connection between the Moore’s and the “Valentines”living in Cocke County, Tennessee. Apparently, I am a cousin to a Teresa Gail Valentine. I sent her an email and her husband responded because she is having some oral surgery this wk. It is very unusual because he is somewhat related to my father’s side of the family. It really is a small world! it was a double surprise! Just joking but he said he was related to the Brendels(Johannes Brendel).
        Carolyn J Inman email:

  10. We too are on the Moore search for a William Moore b. about 1800 do not know where. He just appears out of nowhere in Maine.
    He married Lydia Smith Quint Savage b.1790 in Farmington Maine. They stayed in Maine for awhile somewhere around 1837, moved on to Indiana-Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma.
    We are able to trace family all the way to present day.
    Able to trace different lines of Lydia’s family back to Mayflower’s Issac Allerton.
    William Moore is a dead stop in Maine.
    Any leads would be greatly appreciated.

  11. Hi Roberta, I’m in group # 12 (Samuel Moore)but can’t seem to make any contact with others in that group. Any ideas or suggestions T. Moore Root

    • Well that’s really unfortunate. Have you tried through their e-mails on your matches on your personal page? Some of these Moores tested very early and I wonder if their e-mails have changed. Sometimes if you contact the admin they will either have more info or will forward an e-mail for you to an alternate e-mail if they participant listed one. You can’t see that, but admins can.

  12. I’m related to the Moore,s of Halifax through a second marriage of my great, great, great grandmother Elizabeth Overby Moore. Below is the 1860 Census for them.
    In the 1860 census for the Southern District of Halifax County, Va., under dwelling # 1190 on page 158, we find the following family.
    Wm. Moore (m), age 40
    Elizabeth Moore (f), age 47 (Elizabeth Overby Moore)
    Nancy Moore (f), age 10 (age apparently in error)
    Martha Moore(f), age 13
    Roan Moore (f), age 6
    Robert Moore (m), age 4
    Partheny (f), age 2

  13. I am looking for any info on the parents of a Joseph A Moore,
    Joseph A Moore
    B: october 7 1904
    Kentucky, USA
    D: july 13 1965 ♂
    carlisle co ky

    He was married to a Hazel.
    They had two children, Joseph and Mollie/Molly.
    They lived in southern Illinois in the 1930s and 1940s per census records. At the time of Hazel’s death, the obit states her son Joseph lives in Chicago, IL. Per the obit, Hazel had a sister still living by the name of Theresa Byassee who lived in Alexander Co, Illinois.

  14. I have two sets of Moore families, which I am having equally hard time finding information. I have a William Moore (Campbell County, VA) whom married Lucy Luck(1820), daughter of Nathaniel Luck and my GGG Grandfather David Hudson Luck who is married to Frances Ann Moore(1820). Lucy and David are siblings. They all went to Kentucky. My other Moore family is Ottoway Bird Moore who marries Elizabeth Clayton Hancock. They have Martha Jane Moore whom marries John Holcomb Luck.
    Sincerely, Shelley Luck

    • Shelly. My great, great grandparents are John Halcom and Martha Jane (MOLLIE). Her father Ottoway called John, died in1850 when she was 10. Her mother remarried Andrew Hancock and is buried in Cairo ky in 1913. Ottoway is buried 1850 Macoupin I’ll. He was apparently landholder there

  15. I guess I am in the same situation with the Moore Brick Wall. I am looking for the father of Moses James Moore b. 1834 in Manning, SC and married Susan McCoy b. 1834. I am looking for his father who allegedly was born in Virginia in 1796 with the same name. I suspect that his name was not Moses James Moore. It has been passed down through the years that he was a surveyor from Va.
    I understand that most Southern families are told that there ancestors came from Virginia. The route from Pennsylvania through the Carolinas. South Carolina and North Carolina have huge numbers of Moore’s. At least two Colonial Govenors named James Moore, one from Cape Fear, NC.

  16. I am new to genealogy, but in playing around on ancestry and findagrave knowing what I know about my Moore side, I am back to Silas H. Moore, my 3rd great grandfather b. 1828 in Indiana, d. 1896 in Kansas. Here is the footnote on his findagrave:

    “Silas H. Moore was a son of Rev. William Moore, who is periodically mentioned in accounts of John Brown and was one of the participants in the Battle of Black Jack.”

    Any chance you’ve ran into this?

    • I haven’t run into that, but the Battle of Black Jack occurred in 1856 and my Rev. William Moore died in 1825, so it can’t be the same man. Since you are a male Moore, you can take the Y DNA test at Family Tree DNA and see which Moore line you fall into. You’ll want to join the Moore Worldwide project.

  17. Roberta, it is now over two years since anyone commented on this, but I just found the line. Are you still online?
    Rebecca Moore Smith

      • I feel your “Moore Wall” pain. I have felt it for at least 5 years now.
        I think you and I could be related. I also go back to the Moores of Halifax Co, VA. And I know by DNA that I tie into the James Moore and Mary Rice family, but I don’t know where. I have a lot of Moore Family Finder matches that also go back to those Moores.
        My great great grandfather was Samuel Moore. He was born in South Carolina circa 1811. By my father’s Y DNA matches, I know we relate to the Moores from York District, SC, but no one can find my Samuel in their family trees.
        I know we somehow relate to James Moore and Elizabeth Canning of South Carolina and to Joseph and Rebecca Moore, but how is still a mystery. Samuel just seems to have appeared out of no where.
        Most of my Moore matches are from SC, AL, Miss, Georgia and Tennessee. That is a big area to be looking. I have tried Family Search and found his wife and kids in Lawrence County, Alabama 1840, but not him. They moved on to Mississippi, had two more kids there, and again, he does not show up in the census with the rest of the family in 1850. I am so frustrated.
        Then, to complicate things even more, my great grandfather’s death certificate lists his father as Samuel, but says Samuel was born in Ireland, not in the states. Silas said in censuses that his father was born in SC, not Ireland. What??? I feel so lost!
        I am waiting on SNP results to further narrow down the playing field for my Moores. Right now, we are confirmed Y haplogroup DF25.
        Maybe we can find each other on Family Tree DNA or Gedmatch and see if we are related.

  18. Roberta, can you tell me if there are Y-DNA representatives of many of the famous Moore lines: any of the Moores supposedly at one time in Barbados, like Gov James Moore of SC; Col. Stephen Moore of the Moores that originally owned the WestPoint property in NY; Col Augustine Moore in early VA; Richard Moore of Mayflower fame (from England I suppose as I understand he has no male descendants, legitimate anyway); More Hall Moores; Moores of Drogheda; and many more ones that are known in history? Just wondering. Maybe if there was a Moore Facebook group we could get more input on different lines. So many Moores just seem to appear from nowhere. Unfortunately I see a lot of obvious errors in Moore genealogies that perpetuate erroneous connections.

  19. i am also related to the halifax vir. moores. find me on facebook as….al albert moore. i may have info for you. i am related to james.

  20. I am looking for Robert and
    Ellen Moore. they are my great grand parents and are buried in Rose Mound in Mulberry Ks.

  21. Hello,
    My ancestor is John Parker Moore born 1765? in Halifax Co VA, emigrated to Washington Co TN by 1790s, Buncombe Co NC 1800, Macon Co NC and Rabun Co GA after that. Do you have any leads about his family?.

    • Hello Janice, Yes I am familiar with Marty Grant’s contributions I am starting over looking at my own documents (boxes and boxes) hoping to notice something I missed years ago. Found a new name in Group 7, Wm F Livingston, so I searched… the mother of Wm Franklin Livingston born Dec 1861 Wilkes Co according to Find A Grave was Caroline Livingston born 1842, daughter of Cornelius (Baptist minister), in either Wilkes or Caldwell Co NC. Her family, 2 generations, received land grants in both. Caldwell Co, King’s Creek, was 1844. Her 1st cousin Caroline, daughter of John Jr, was born 1841; their grandmother was Mary Caroline, wife of John Livingston Sr, born 1780 VA. Cornelius is in 1860 Mountain Creek, Rutherford Co NC, 1870-1880 Cocke Co TN, and is buried in Grainger Co TN. John Sr and Jr remained in Wilkes. Cornelius’ daughter Carolina chose not to go to TN, rather she went back to King’s Creek by 1870, listed as single with Franklin, age 9, and 2 younger children. She is living beside her cousin Thomas who married in 1869. Apparently, Wm Franklin Livingston’s father is a Moore since he is a Y-DNA match with John Parker Moore. This is the 1st match! Interestingly, in 1850 Johns River, Caldwell Co, Caroline age 8 and her family are living beside E S Moore age 57 and 1st wife. Elijah Stone Moore had no children by his 1st wife. By 1860 he is listed in Morganton, Burke Co, while Caroline Livingston is in Mountain Creek, Rutherford Co, just a few miles south. By 1870 Elijah age 76 is listed with 2nd wife age 37. Elijah’s half brother, Carroll Moore, was younger, age 45 in 1860 with sons age 14 to age 3. The father of Elijah and Carroll was Rev War soldier Daniel Moore 1764 VA-1845 Caldwell Co NC. The father of Daniel was Rev War soldier Jesse Moore Sr 1743 Goochland Co VA-1827 Caldwell Co NC having settled Globe Valley Caldwell Co in 1772. Now I just need to find the next generation. Any ideas? Thanks for your help.

  22. I am from Stokes county NC. I have an ancestor Alexander Moore Sr. who settled in Stokes County. His father was William Moore Sr and he was born 1705 in Scotland. His wife is Mary, marriage date about 1731. He died in 1766 in Amherst Virginia.

  23. Have been working on my husband’s Moore Line for 30 years. We proved his 2x great grandfather Elijah M. Moore (1818-1888) reportedly from Anderson SC and died in Searcy Co. AR. Buried in Slay Cemetery there. Married Mary Jane ______ Stanley (not proved).
    Identified a couple of his sisters and proved one Rebecca Moore Lawrence buried in Ironside Cemetery, Malheur Co., OR. Elijah M.Moore (1818-1888) is shown on FTDNA – YDNA projects Moore Surname, Moore-Worldwide, Davis Surname, and G-L497 Haplogroup. No Moore matches so far. One fairly close match at 67 markers is to a surname Davis!! Is anyone else working on this family?

  24. Found in a judgment at Halifax courthouse Hugh moore was in Philadelphia,pa before coming to Halifax county virginia.

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