Charles Campbell (c1750 – c1825) and the Great Warrior Path – 52 Ancestors #19

When I discovered that I was going to be visiting Scotland in the fall of 2013, I couldn’t bypass the opportunity to visit the seat of the Clan Campbell.

Campbell isn’t my maiden name, but it was the maiden name of my ancestor, Elizabeth Campbell born about 1802 who married in about 1820, probably in Claiborne County, TN, to Lazarus Dodson, born about 1795.  Elizabeth’s father was John Campbell, born 1772-1775 in Virginia and her mother was Jane “Jenny” Dobkins.  John’s brother is believed to be George Campbell, born around 1770-1771.  We are fairly certain that their father was one Charles Campbell who died before May 31, 1825 in Hawkins County, Tennessee when a survey for his neighbor mentions the heirs of Charles Campbell.

Charles Campbell was in Hawkins County by about 1788.  A Charles Campbell was mentioned in Sullivan County, the predecessor of Hawkins, as early as 1783, but we don’t know if it’s the same man.  The history of Charles Campbell’s Hawkins County land begins in 1783 when it was originally granted to Edmond Holt.

1783, Oct 25, 440 (pg 64 Tn Land Entries John Armstrong’s office) – Edmond Holt enters 300 ac on the South side of Holston river near the west end of Bays Mountain, includes a large spring near the mountain and runs about, includes Holt’s improvement at an Indian old War Ford, warrant issued June 7, 1784, grant to Mark Mitchell.

Hawkins view of Campbell land

This photo shows the area of Dodson’s creek from across the Holston River atop a high hill.  Dodson’s Creek, today, is located beside the TVA power plant.  In this photo, Dodson’s Creek would be just slightly to the right of the power plant in the distance.  You can’t see the Holston River in this photo, but it is just in front of the power plant.  This is a good representation of the rolling mountains of this region.  I stayed in this house for nearly a week while doing research in Hawkins County before realizing that the land I was looking at, daily, out the back door, off of the porch swing, was the land of both my Campbell and Dodson ancestors.  Talk about a jolting moment.

The Old War Ford is the crossing of the Holston River at the mouth of Dodson Creek where the Indians used to camp and cross, on the Great Warrior Path.

Indian war path

My cousin helped me locate the Great Warrior Path crossing and I took the  photos below during a visit to locate the Dodson and Campbell lands.

1790, May 26 – Mark Mitchell to Charles Campbell 100# Virginia money, Dodson’s Ck, Beginning at a synns on the nw side Bays mountain thence on Stokely Donelson’s, north 60 then west 218 poles to a small black and post oak on a flat Hill then south 30 west 219 to two white oaks in a flat, then s 60 east 218 poles to a stake then north 30 east 219 poles along Bays Mountain to the beginning containing 300 acres. Signed, wit John (I) Owen mark, William Wallen, George Campbell mark (kind of funny P), R. Mitchell (it appears that this transaction actually took place in 1788, but wasn’t registered until later.) south side of the Holston on the west fork of Dodson Creek.

Today, the road that originally led to the ford of the Holston River dead ends into a road and the part of the road that was the “ford” is gone.  A field exists in its place, and a historical marker, and that’s it.  Not even any memories as the ford was no longer needed when bridges were built, and by now, there have already been several generations of bridges.

old war ford

Here’s the field.  The trees grow along the river and help to control erosion from flooding today.  Walking up to the area, you can see the actual ford area, although there is nothing to give away the fact that this used to be a ford of the river.  The locals say there is bedrock here.

old war ford 2

This area is flood plain, so one would not live here.  The old cemetery where we believe Raleigh Dodson is buried is across the current road and up the hill.  The land where we think Charles Campbell lived is just up Dodson Creek from this area as well, but on somewhat higher ground.

Possible Campbell land

I believe this is or is very near the current day location of the Charles Campbell land.  Dodson Creek runs adjacent the road, and you have to cross the creek to get to the farmable land from the road.  You can see the makeshift bridge above.

Beautiful pool at the bend in Dodson Creek where it leaves the road.

Dodson Creek is beautiful and lush.

Dodson Creek 2

1793/1794 – Charles Campbell to George and John Campbell, all of Hawkins County, for 45#, 150 acres on the south side of the Holston, west fork of Dodson Ck beginning at 2 white oaks then (metes and bounds), signed, John Payne witness.

1802, Feb 26 – George Campbell and John Campbell of Hawkins County to Daniel Leyster (Leepter?, Seyster, Septer) of same, 225# tract on west fork of Dodson’s Creek being same place where said John Campbell now lives, 149 acres, then (metes and bounds) description. Both sign,  Witness, Charles Campbell, Michael Roark and William Paine.  Proven in May session 1802 by oath of Michael Roark (inferring that the sellers are gone from the area).

Is the difference between 149 and 150 acres a cemetery, a church or a school?

Dodson Creek is where Charles Campbell lived.  This is the Dodson family who John Campbell’s daughter, Elizabeth, would marry into a generation later in Claiborne County.  Dodson Creek was also just a few miles from Jacob Dobkins’ home, whose daughter’s George and John Campbell would marry.  Jacob Dobkins, George and John Campbell and their Dobkins wives would be in Claiborne County, Tennessee by 1802.

We believe Charles Campbell came from the Augusta or Rockingham County area of Virginia, but we don’t know for sure.  Unfortunately the deed where his heirs conveyed his land is recorded in the court record, but never in the deed book, so we have no idea who his heirs were.  The will of his neighbor, Michael Roark, who was born in Bucks County, PA and then lived in Rockingham Co., VA stated that he bought the land of Charles Campbell from his heirs joining the tract “I live on.”  Charles’ other neighbor was a Grigsby, and so was Michael Roark’s wife. It’s not unlikely that Charles Campbell was related to one or both of these men.

Michael Roark’s will dates August 25, 1834 and proven on February 4, 1839 says, among other things, that he leaves to grandson James Rork, son of John, tract of land that I now live on after wife and I die, son John 4 shares of tract of land that I bought of the heirs of Charles Campbell joining the tract I live on and containing about 150 acres. Unfortunately, the deed between the Campbell heirs and Michael Roark was never registered.

In a deed from Michael Roark to Neil and Simpson with John Scruggs as their trustee, registered July 17, 1835, where Michael Roark had in essence mortgaged his land in November of 1830 and by 1835 was unable to pay his debt.  The verbiage says in part that Michael not only conveys his land, which is described, but he adds “and also the interest I have in the shares of the 4 legatees of Charles Campbell, decd, to a tract of land lying on Dodson’s Creek.”  He does not say that his wife is a daughter of Charles Campbell, but it’s certainly possible.  He described one of the two tracts of Roark land he is conveying as having been conveyed to him by James Roark in 1811.

This 1835 entry tells us that Charles Campbell’s land apparently had not yet been sold and that there were at least 4 legatees.

Roark, Michael cabin

Years ago, in a book in the library in Hawkins County, I stumbled across this photo of a picture of the cabin of Michael Roark.  You know that Charles Campbell’s cabin didn’t look much different.  A quite elderly descendant of Michael, Libby Roark Schmalzreid, claimed that her grandfather built his house on this land, and is buried on a hill just above the home he built.  She was in her 90s more than half a decade ago, and never said who her grandfather was.  She did say on Rootsweb that the location is on Dodson Creek not far from Strahl.  Given that Michael Roark and Charles Campbell were neighbors, if we find Michael’s cabin, we can also find Charles land.  I mean his actual land, not just a general area.  On the map below, Dodson Creek is shown by the arrows, and Strahl is marked as well.  It’s about 2000 feet from Strahl to the red arrow below noting Dodson Creek.  Dodson Creek and its branches wanders all over this neighborhood.  So, if anyone knows who Libby’s grandfather was, where he built his house or where he is buried, please give me a shout.


Perhaps the key to finding Charles Campbell back in Virginia is to find both Michael Roark and the Grigsby family as well.

On the 1783 Shenandoah Co., VA, tax list, we find both Charles Campbell and Jacob Dobkins in Alexander Hite’s district. Jacob Dobkins is the father of Jane “Jenny” Dobkins who would eventually marry John Campbell and her sister,  Elizabeth Dobkins who would marry George Campbell, believed to be the brother of John Campbell.

Of course, there were also 2 Charles Campbells in Rockingham County, VA in 1782 and 1 in Fayette and one in Lincoln, both in 1787.

Several years ago, we DNA tested both a male Campbell descendant of both John and George and confirmed that indeed, these line match each other as well as the Campbell clan line from Scotland and that the descendants of the lines of both men also match autosomally as cousins, further confirming that John and George were most likely brothers.  This was good news, because even though we don’t know the exact names of Charles ancestors, thanks to DNA, we still know the history of those ancestors before they immigrated, probably in the early 1700 with the first waves of the Scotch-Irish.

So, for me, the opportunity to visit the clan seat, and meet the current Duke of Argyll, the 26th chief of the Clan Campbell and the 12the Duke of Argyll, Torquhil Campbell, personally, was literally the chance of a lifetime.

The Duke, Torquhil Campbell, is much different from other aristocracy.  He lives at Inveraray Castle, the clan seat, but parts of the castle are open to the public.  In addition, the castle is his actual full time residence and he actively manages the estate, including signing books about Inveraray in the gift shop in the castle.


You can’t miss him if he’s there, as he has on an apron that says “Duke.”  He’s a lot younger than I expected as well, born in 1968, but extremely gracious and welcoming.  There must be tens of thousands of Campbell descendants and many probably make their way back to Inverary like the butterflies return to Mexico every winter.

While I was visiting Inveraray, I purchased two books about the clan Campbell and a third, written by the Duke himself, about Inveraray. The Campbell clan origins are shrouded in myth and mists, as you might imagine, but let me share them with you anyway.

Campbell coat of arms

The first origin story, from a book called “Campbell, The Origins of the Clan Campbell and Their Place in History” by John Mackay, says :

“The first Campbells were a Scots family who crossed from Ireland to the land of the Picts.  The Clan Campbell originated from the name O’Duibhne, one of whose chiefs in ancient times was known as Diarmid and the name Campbell was first used in the 1050s in the reign of Malcolm Canmore after a sporran-bearer or purse-bearer to the king previously called Paul O’Duihne was dubbed with his new surname.

Historians after such obscure and legendary times, have agreed that the can name comes from the Gaelic ‘cam’ meaning crooked and ‘beul’ meaning the mouth, when it was the fashion to be surnamed from some unusual physical feature, in this case by the characteristic curved or crooked mouth of the family of what is certainly one of the oldest clan named in the Highlands.

It was the Marquis who insisted that he was descended from a Scots family in Ireland who had crossed to what was then mostly the land of Picts to establish the first Scots colony in the district of Dalriada – a comparatively small part of what we know today as Argyll at the heart of what would in time become the kingdom of Scotland.  It is marked by the fort of Dunadd, of the A816, a few miles north of Lochgilphead, set in the inlet called Loch Gilp off from Loch Fyne.”

Loch Fyne is where the current castle of Inveraray, clan seat, is located and where I visited.

The second source is a booklet called “Campbell, Your Clan Heritage,” by Alan McNie, which is condensed from a larger book, Highland Clans of Scotland by George –Eyre-Todd published in 1923.

It says:

“Behind Torrisdale in Kintyre rises a mountain named Ben an Tuire, the “Hill of the Boar.”  It takes its name from a famous event in Celtic legend.  There, according to tradition, Diarmid O’Duibhne slew the fierce boar which had ravaged the district.  Diarmid was of the time of the Ossianic heroes.

Diarmid is said to have been the ancestor of th race of O’Duibhne who owned the shores of Loch Awe, which were the original Oire Gaidheal, or Argyhll, the “Land of the Gael,”

The race is said to have ended in the reign of Alexander III in an heiress, Eva, daughter of Paul O’Duibhne, otherwise Paul of the Sporran so named because as the kings treasurer, he was supposed to carry the money-bag.  Eva married a certain Archibald of Gillespie Campbell, to whom she carried the possession of her house.  This tradition is supported by a charter of David II in 1368 which secured to Archibald Campbell of that date certain lands of Loch Awe ‘as freely as there were enjoyed by his ancestor, Duncan O’Diubhne.’

Who the original Archibald Campbell was remains a matter of dispute.  By some he is said to have been a Norman knight by the name of De Campo Bello.  The name Campo Bello, however, is not Norman but Italian.  It is out of all reason to suppose that an Italian ever made his way into the Highlands at such a time to secure a footing as a Highland Chief.”

This book then goes on to recite the “crooked mouth” story as well.

A third origin story is recorded in the book written by the current Duke, himself, “Inveraray Castle, Ancestral Home of the Dukes of Argyll.”  In this book, the Duke says:

“The Campbells, thought to be of British stock, from the Kingdom of Strathclyde, probably arrived in Argyll as part of a royal expedition in circa 1220.  They settled on Lochaweside where they were placed in charge of the king’s land in the area.

The Chief of Clan Campbell takes his Gaelic title of ‘MacCailein Mor’ from Colin Mor Campbell – ‘Colin the Great’ – who was killed in a quarrel with the MacDougalls of Lorne in 1296.

His son was Sir Neil Campbell, boon companion and brother-in-law to King Robert the Bruce, whose son, Sir Colin was rewarded in 1315 by the grant of the lands of Lochawe and Ardscotnish of which he now became Lord.

From Bruce’s time at least, their headquarters had been at the great castle of Innischonnell, on Loch Awe.   Around the mid 1400s, Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochawe, great-grandson of Sir Colon, moved his headquarters to Inveraray, controlling most of the landward communications of Argyll.”

From the Campbell DNA Project website, we find this pedigree chart of the Clan Campbell, beginning with the present Duke at the bottom.

Campbell pedigree

Let’s see if Y chromosome DNA results can tell us about the Campbell Clan history.

Originally, the DNA testing told us that the Campbell men were R1b1.  The predicted haplogroup was R1b1a2, now known as R-M269, but some of the Campbell men who have tested further are haplogroup R1b1a2a1b4, or R-L21.

Looking at my cousin’s matches map at 37 markers, below, the Campbell men cluster heavily around the Loch Lomond/Greenock region which is very close to the traditional Campbell seat of Inverary.

Campbell cluster

At 12 markers, the cluster near Greenock, slightly northwest of Glasgow, is quite pronounced.  Most of these matches are Campbell surnames.

Campbell Greenock cluster

Another item of interest is that several men in this cluster have tested for SNP L1335.  This is the SNP that Jim Wilson announced is an indicator of Pictish heritage, although it is widely thought that this was a marketing move with little solid data behind it.  Otherwise, Jim Wilson, a geneticist, would surely be publishing academically, not via press announcements from a company that has previously damaged their own credibility, several times.

Regardless, our Campbell group tested positive for this SNP.  I contacted Kevin Campbell, the Campbell DNA project administrator, who is equally as cautious about the Pictish label, but we both agree that this marker indicates ancient, “indigenous Scots,” and yes, they could be Picts.  Time will tell!

In the next few days, I’ll be writing about my visit to Inverary.  I hope you’ll join me!



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2014 Y Tree Released by Family Tree DNA

On April 25th, DNA Day and Arbor Day, Family Tree DNA updated and released their 2014 Y haplotree created in partnership with the Genographic project.  This has been a massive project, expanding the tree from about 850 SNPs to over 6200, of which about 1200 are “terminal,” meaning the end of a branch, and the rest being proven to be duplicates.

If you’re a newbie, this would be a good place perhaps to read about what a haplogroup is and the new Y naming convention which replaces the well-known group names like R1b1a2 with the SNP shorthand version of the same haplogroup name, R-M269.  From this time forward, the haplogroups will be known by their SNP names and the longhand version is obsolete, although you will always see it in older documents, articles and papers.  In fact, this entire tree has been made possible by SNP testing by both academic organizations and consumers.  To understand the difference between regular STR marker testing and SNP testing, click here.

I’ve divided this article into two parts.  The first part is the “what did they do and why” part and the second is the “what does it mean to you” portion.

This tree update has been widely anticipated for some time now.  We knew that Family Tree DNA was calibrating the tree in partnership with the Genographic project, but we didn’t know what else would be included until the tree was released.

What Did Family Tree DNA Do, and Why?

Janine Cloud, the liaison at Family Tree DNA for Project Administrators has provided some information as to the big picture.

“First, we’re committed to the next iteration of the tree and it will be more comprehensive, but we’re going to be really careful about the data we use from other sources. It HAS to be from raw data, not interpreted data. Second, I’ve italicized what I think is really the mission statement for all the work that’s been done on this tree and that will be done in the future.”

Janine interviewed Elliott Greenspan of Family Tree DNA about the new tree, and here are some of the salient points from that discussion.

“This year we’re committing to launching another tree. This tree will be more comprehensive, utilizing data from external sources: known Sanger data, as well as data such as Big Y, and if we have direct access to the raw data to make the proof (from large companies, such as the Chromo2) or a publication, or something of that nature. That is our intention that it be added into the data.

We’re definitely committed to update at least once per year. Our intention is to use data from other sources, as well as any SNPs we can, but it must be well-vetted. NGS and SNP technology inherently has errors. You must curate for those errors otherwise you’re just putting slop out to customers. There are some SNPs that may bind to the X chromosome that you didn’t know. There are some low coverages that you didn’t know.

With technology such as this you’re able to overcome the urge to test only what you’re likely to be positive for, and instead use the shotgun method and test everything. This allows us to make the discovery that SNPs are not nearly as stable as we thought, and they have a larger potential use in that sense.

Not only does the raw data need to be vetted but it needs to make sense.  Using Geno 2.0, I only accepted samples that had the highest call rate, not just because it was the best quality but because it was the most data. I don’t want to be looking at data where I’m missing potential information A, or I may become confused by potential information B.  That is something that will bog us down. When you’re looking at large data sets, I’d much rather throw out 20% of them because they’re going to take 90% of the time than to do my best to get 1 extra SNP on the tree or 1 extra branch modified, that is not worth all of our time and effort. What is, is figuring out what the broader scope of people are, because that is how you break down origins. Figuring one single branch for one group of three people is not truly interesting until it’s 50 people, because 50 people is a population. Three people may be a family unit.  You have to have enough people to determine relevance. That’s why using large datasets and using complete datasets are very, very important.

I want it to be the most accurate tree it can be, but I also want it to be interesting. That’s the key. Historical relevance is what we’re to discover. Anthropological relevance. It’s not just who has the largest tree, it’s who can make the most sense out of what you have is important.”

Thanks to both Janine and Elliott for providing this information.

What is Provided in the Update?

The genetic genealogy community was hopeful that the new 2014 tree would be comprehensive, meaning that it would include not only the Genographic SNPs, but ones from Walk the Y, perhaps some Chromo2, Full Genomes results and the Big Y.  Perhaps we were being overly optimistic, especially given the huge influx of new SNPs, the SNP tsunami as we call it, over the past few months.  Family Tree DNA clearly had to put a stake in the sand and draw the line someplace.  So, what is actually included, how did they select the SNPs for the new tree and how does this integrate with the Genographic information?  This information was provided by Family Tree DNA.

Family Tree DNA created the 2014 Y-DNA Haplotree in partnership with the National Geographic Genographic Project using the proprietary GenoChip. Launched publicly in late 2012, the chip tests approximately 10,000 Y-DNA SNPs that had not, at the time, been phylogenetically classified.

The team used the first 50,000 male samples with the highest quality results to determine SNP positions. Using only tests with the highest possible “call rate” meant more available data, since those samples had the highest percentage of SNPs that produced results, or “calls.”

In some cases, SNPs that were on the 2010 Y-DNA Haplotree didn’t work well on the GenoChip, so the team used Sanger sequencing on anonymous samples to test those SNPs and to confirm ambiguous locations.

For example, if it wasn’t clear if a clade was a brother (parallel) clade, or a downstream clade, they tested for it.

The scope of the project did not include going farther than SNPs currently on the GenoChip in order to base the tree on the most data available at the time, with the cutoff for inclusion being about November of 2013.

Where data were clearly missing or underrepresented, the team curated additional data from the chip where it was available in later samples. For example, there were very few Haplogroup M samples in the original dataset of 50,000, so to ensure coverage, the team went through eligible Geno 2.0 samples submitted after November, 2013, to pull additional Haplogroup M data. That additional research was not necessary on, for example, the robust Haplogroup R dataset, for which they had a significant number of samples.

Family Tree DNA, again in partnership with the Genographic Project, is committed to releasing at least one update to the tree this year. The next iteration will be more comprehensive, including data from external sources such as known Sanger data, Big Y testing, and publications. If the team gets direct access to raw data from other large companies’ tests, then that information will be included as well. We are also committed to at least one update per year in the future.

Known SNPs will not intentionally be renamed. Their original names will be used since they represent the original discoverers of the SNP. If there are two names, one will be chosen to be displayed and the additional name will be available in the additional data, but the team is taking care not to make synonymous SNPs seems as if they are two separate SNPs. Some examples of that may exist initially, but as more SNPs are vetted, and as the team learns more, those examples will be removed.

In addition, positions or markers within STRs, as they are discovered, or large insertion/deletion events inside homopolymers, potentially may also be curated from additional data because the event cannot accurately be proven. A homopolymer is a sequence of identical bases, such as AAAAAAAAA or TTTTTTTTT. In such cases it’s impossible to tell which of the bases the insertion is, or if/where one was deleted. With technology such as Next Generation Sequencing, trying to get SNPs in regions such as STRs or homopolymers doesn’t make sense because we’re discovering non-ambiguous SNPs that define the same branches, so we can use the non-ambiguous SNPs instead.

Some SNPs from the 2010 tree have been intentionally removed. In some cases, those were SNPs for which the team never saw a positive result, so while it may be a legitimate SNP, even haplogroup defining, it was outside of the current scope of the tree. In other cases, the SNP was found in so many locations that it could cause the orientation of the tree to be drawn in more than one way. If the SNP could legitimately be positioned in more than one haplogroup, the team deemed that SNP to not be haplogroup defining, but rather a high polymorphic location.

To that end, SNPs no longer have .1, .2, or .3 designations. For example, J-L147.1 is simply J-L147, and I-147.2 is simply I-147.  Those SNPs are positioned in the same place, but back-end programming will assign the appropriate haplogroup using other available information such as additional SNPs tested or haplogroup origins listed. If other SNPs have been tested and can unambiguously prove the location of the multi-locus SNP for the sample, then that data is used. If not, matching haplogroup origin information is used.

We will also move to shorthand haplogroup designations exclusively. Since we’re committing to at least one iteration of the tree per year, using longhand that could change with each update would be too confusing.  For example, Haplogroup O used to have three branches: O1, O2, and O3. A SNP was discovered that combined O1 and O2, so they became O1a and O1b.

There are over 1200 branches on the 2014 Y Haplogroup tree, as compared to about 400 on the 2010 tree. Those branches contain over 6200 SNPs, so we’ve chosen to display select SNPs as “active” with an adjacent “More” button to show the synonymous SNPs if you choose.

In addition to the Family Tree DNA updates, any sample tested with the Genographic Project’s Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry Kit, then transferred to FTDNA will automatically be re-synched on the Geno side. The Genographic Project is currently integrating the new data into their system and will announce on their website when the process is complete in the coming weeks.  At that time, all Geno 2.0 participants’ results will be updated accordingly and will be accessible via the Genographic Project website.

In summary:

  • Created in partnership with National Geographic’s Genographic Project
  • Used GenoChip containing ~10,000 previously unclassified Y-SNPs
  • Some of those SNPs came from Walk Through the Y and the 1000 Genome Project
  • Used first 50,000 high-quality male Geno 2.0 samples
  • Verified positions from 2010 YCC by Sanger sequencing additional anonymous samples
  • Filled in data on rare haplogroups using later Geno 2.0 samples


  • Expanded from approximately 400 to over 1200 terminal branches
  • Increased from around 850 SNPs to over 6200 SNPs
  • Cut-off date for inclusion for most haplogroups was November 2013

Total number of SNPs broken down by haplogroup

A 406 DE 16 IJ 29 LT 12 P 81
B 69 E 1028 IJK 2 M 17 Q 198
BT 8 F 90 J 707 N 168 R 724
C 371 G 401 K 11 NO 16 S 5
CT 64 H 18 K(xLT) 1 O 936 T 148
D 208 I 455 L 129

myFTDNA Interface

  • Existing customers receive free update to predictions and confirmed branches based on existing SNP test results.
  • Haplogroup badge updated if new terminal branch is available
  • Updated haplotree design displays new SNPs and branches for your haplogroup
  • Branch names now listed in shorthand using terminal SNPs
  • For SNPs with more than one name, in most cases the original name for SNP was used, with synonymous SNPs listed when you click “More…”
  • No longer using SNP names with .1, .2, .3 suffixes. Back-end programming will place SNP in correct haplogroup using available data.
  • SNPs recommended for additional testing are pre-populated in the cart for your convenience. Just click to remove those you don’t want to test.
  • SNPs recommended for additional testing are based on 37-marker haplogroup origins data where possible, 25- or 12-marker data where 37 markers weren’t available.
  • Once you’ve tested additional SNPs, that information will be used to automatically recommend additional SNPs for you if they’re available.
  • If you remove those prepopulated SNPs from the cart, but want to re-add them, just refresh your page or close the page and return.
  • Only one SNP per branch can be ordered at one time – synonymous SNPs can possibly ordered from the Advanced Orders section on the Upgrade Order page.
  • Tests taken have moved to the bottom of the haplogroup page.

Coming attractions

  • Group Administrator Pages will have longhand removed.
  • At least one update to the tree to be released this year.
  • Update will include: data from Big Y, relevant publications, other companies’ tests from raw data.
  • We’ll set up a system for those who have tested with other big data companies to contribute their raw data file to future versions of the tree.
  • We’re committed to releasing at least one update per year.
  • The Genographic Project is currently integrating the new data into their system and will announce on their website when the process is complete in the coming weeks. At that time, all Geno 2.0 participants’ results will be updated accordingly and accessible via the Genographic Project website.

What Does This Mean to You?

Your Badge

On your welcome page, your badges are listed.  Your badge previously would have included the longhand form of the haplogroup, such as R1b1a2, but now it shows R-M269.

2014 y 1

Please note that badges are not yet showing on all participants pages.  If yours aren’t yet showing, clicking on the Haplotree and SNP page under the YDNA option on the blue options bar where your more detailed information is shown, below.

Your Haplogroup Name

Your haplogroup is now noted only as the SNP designation, R-M269, not the older longhand names.

2014 y 2 v2

Haplogroup R is a huge haplogroup, so you’ll need to scroll down to see your confirmed or predicted haplogroup, shown in green below.

2014 y 3

Redesigned Page

The redesigned haplotree page includes an option to order SNPs downstream of your confirmed or predicted haplogroup.  This refines your haplogroup and helps isolate your branch on the tree.  You may or may not want to do this.  In some cases, this does help your genealogy, especially in cases where you’re dealing with haplogroup R.  For the most part, haplogroups are more historical in nature.  For example, they will help you determine whether your ancestors are Native American, African, Anglo Saxon or maybe Viking.  Haplogroups help us reach back before the advent of surnames.

The new page shows which SNPs are available for you to order from the SNPs on the tree today, shown above, in blue to the right of the SNP branch.

SNPs not on the Tree

Not all known SNPs are on the tree.  Like I said, a line in the sand had to be drawn.  There are SNPs, many recently discovered, that are not on the tree.

To put this in perspective, the new tree incorporates 6200 SNPs (up from 850), but the Big Y “pool” of known SNPs against which Family Tree DNA is comparing those results was 36,562 when the first results were initially released at the end of February.

If you have taken advanced SNP testing, such as the Walk the Y, the Big Y, or tested individual SNPs, your terminal SNP may not be on the tree, which means that your terminal SNP shown on your page, such as R-M269 above, MAY NOT BE ACCURATE in light of that testing.  Why?  Because these newly discovered SNPs are not yet on the tree. This only affects people who have done advanced testing which means it does not affect most people.

Ordering SNPs

You can order relevant SNPs for your haplogroup on the tree by clicking on the “Add” button beside the SNP.

You can order SNPs not on the tree by clicking on the “Advanced Order Form” link available at the bottom of the haplotree page.

2014 y 4

If you’re not sure of what you want to do, or why, you might want to touch bases with your project administrators.  Depending on your testing goal, it might be much more advantageous, both scientifically and financially, for you to take either the Geno2 test or the Big Y.

At this point, in light of some of the issues with the new release, I would suggest maybe holding tight for a bit in terms of ordering new SNPs unless you’re positive that your haplogroup is correct and that the SNP selection you want to order would actually be beneficial to you.

Words of Caution

This are some bugs in this massive update.  You might want to check your haplogroup assignment to be sure it is reflected accurately based on any SNP testing you have had done, of course, excepting the very advanced tests mentioned above.

If you discover something that is inaccurate or questionable, please notify Family Tree DNA.  This is especially relevant for project administrators who are familiar with family groups and know that people who are in the same surname group should share a common base haplogroup, although some people who have taken further SNP testing will be shown with a downstream haplogroup, further down that particular branch of the tree.

What kind of result might you find suspicious or questionable?  For example, if in your surname project, your matching surname cousins are all listed at R-M269 and you were too previously, but now you’re suddenly in a different haplogroup, like E, there is clearly an error.

Any suspected or confirmed errors should be reported to Family Tree DNA.

They have made it very easy by providing a “Feedback” button on the top of the page and there is a “Y tree” option in the dropdown box.

2014 y 5

For administrators providing reports that involve more than one participant, please send to and include the kit numbers, the participants names and the nature of the issue.

Additional Information

Family Tree DNA provides a free webinar that can be viewed about the 2014 Y Tree release.  You can see all of the webinars that are archived and available for viewing at:

What’s Next?

The Genographic Project is in the process of updating to the same tree so their results can be synchronized with the 2014 tree.  A date for this has not yet been released.

Family Tree DNA has committed to at least one more update this year.

I know that this update was massive and required extensive reprogramming that affected almost every aspect of their webpage.  If you think about it, nearly every page had to be updated from the main page to the order page.  The tree is the backbone of everything.  I want to thank the Family Tree DNA and Genograpic combined team for their efforts and Bennett Greenspan for making sure this did happen, just as he committed to do in November at the last conference.

Like everyone else, I want everything NOW, not tomorrow.  We’re all passionate about this hobby – although I think it is more of a life mission for many – and surpassed hobby status long ago.

I know there are issues with the tree and they frustrate me, like everyone else.  Those issues will be resolved.  Family Tree DNA is actively working on reported issues and many have already been fixed.

There is some amount of disappointment in the genetic genealogy community about the SNPs not included on the tree, especially the SNPs recently discovered in advanced tests like the Big Y.  Other trees, like the ISOGG tree, do in fact reflect many of these newly discovered SNPs.

There are a couple of major differences.  First, ISOGG has an virtual army of volunteers who are focused on maintaining this tree.  We are all very lucky that they do, and that Alice Fairhurst coordinates this effort and has done so now for many years.  I would be lost without the ISOGG tree.

However, when a change is made to the ISOGG tree, and there have been thousands of changes, adds and moves over the years, nothing else is affected.  No one’s personal page, no one’s personal tree, no projects, no maps, no matches and no order pages.  ISOGG has no “responsibility” to anyone – in other words – it’s widely known and accepted that they are a volunteer organization without clients.

Family Tree DNA, on the other hand has half a million (or so) paying customers.  Tree changes have a huge domino ripple effect there – not only on their customers’ personal pages, but to their entire website, projects, support and orders.  A change at Family Tree DNA is much more significant than on the ISOGG page – not to mention – they don’t have the same army of volunteers and they have to rely on the raw science, not interpretation, as they said in the information they provided.  A tree update at Family Tree DNA is a very different animal than updating a stand-alone tree, especially considering their collaboration with various scientific organizations, including the National Geographic Society.

I commend Family Tree DNA for this update and thank them for the update and the educational materials.  I’m also glad to see that they do indeed rely only on science, not interpretation.  Frustrating to the genetic genealogist in me?  Sure.  But in the long run, it’s worth it to be sure the results are accurate.

Could this release have been smoother and more accurate?  Certainly.  Hopefully this is the big speed bump and future releases will be much more graceful.  It’s easy to see why there aren’t any other companies providing this type of comprehensive testing.  It’s gone from an easy 12 marker “do we match” scenario to the forefront of pioneering population genetics.  And all within a decade.  It’s amazing that any company can keep up.



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Wales, Conway Castle and High Winds

One should not go to sleep at 8:30 at night.  Because one wakes up at, let’s say, about 4:30 in the morning.  However, I laid down to read and the Carnival Legend was gently rocking and the next thing I knew, I was sound asleep. No evening entertainment or shows for me that night! Too bad, because the shows are wonderful and the cost is included. This shot below is from the show on the Carnival Splendor. We sailed on her before. I can’t show you the photo from this cruise, because, obviously, I slept through the shows….all of them. Yep, every last one.

Carnival Splendor Show

The other disturbing thing that is happening is that I’m now dreaming in that cockney British accent. I’ve never had this happen before, except when I lived in France. And I’ve only been here for 10 days or so. And the problem is that I don’t understand about half of what they are saying.  You see, after 300 years or so, British and American English are only distant cousins, kind of like we are to them.  And when you take into consideration that English is a second language in most of London, you’re dealing with cockney British English spoken by a non-native speaker – and then you understand about every 4th word.  So I understand only part of what people are saying in my dreams.  But that’s OK, I just make up the rest to be what I want it to be!  It’s my dream, after all.

Yesterday was a “sea day” meaning we didn’t dock in any ports. We won’t discuss this particular sea day because the word of the day was “Dramamine.” High winds forced us to change the schedule as well, and we’re going to miss one of the ports I was very excited to visit, because the tour we had booked was going to go right past the last of the McDowell family whose DNA my McDowell family matches, in Northern Ireland, on King’s Moss Road in Ballyrobert, Newtown. When you’re trying to use DNA to find your family location in the old country, this is indeed the Holy Grail. I’m so close but yet so far.

The problem is that it’s storming and there are extremely high seas, 25-30 foot waves. To put this in perspective, waves are generally no more than 6-8 feet. The port of Belfast has closed and we’ve been rerouted. We’re going, guess where…. back to Liverpool which is adjacent Chester. In fact, Chester is one of the shore excursion options. Instead, Jim and I chose to go to Conway Castle in North Wales.

Try as I might, I could not find any ancestor who was from Wales. There is one rumored to be from Wales, one Peter Johnson supposedly born 1715 in Wales and who died in 1790 in Allegheny Co., PA. He married Mary Polly Philips. I also have a Thomas Rice, which is a Welsh name, rumored to be from Shirenewton, Monmouthshire Wales, born about 1660, but no proof. This probably means I just haven’t hunted deep enough, because someone has to be Welsh.

There is a Wales Cymru DNA project at Family Tree DNA for people who can prove their ancestors back to Wales. This project is for both Yline and mitochondrial DNA. Due to the importance of determining the genetic profile of the indigenous populations of the British Isles, The Wales/Cymru DNA Project collects the DNA haplotypes of as many persons as possible who can trace their Y chromosome and/or mtDNA lines to Wales; the reasoning by many researchers being that there was less genetic replacement from invaders in Wales than elsewhere, excepting small inaccessable islands and similar locales.

Having said that, tradition among historians holds that the Celts retreated as far west into Wales as possible to escape invading populations. The Wales DNA project seeks to determine the validity of that theory. Their long term goal is to identify the haplotypes of the Welsh Princes. They provide a nice list of resources on this page if you have Welsh ancestry.

I decided to dig a bit deeper. In the Rice DNA project, kit number 4086 is reportedly a descendant of Matthew Rice, who is probably the brother of my Joseph Rice (c1700-1766) who was married to Rachel. If this is the case, and if the project grouping is correct in terms of family association, then my Matthew could have been Welsh.

So, I’m going to enjoy Wales assuming that I do indeed have Welsh ancestry and I simply haven’t proven it yet! If nothing else, I’m Welsh for a day because today, we’re visiting Conwy Castle.

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle (Welsh: Castell Conwy) is a medieval fortification in Conwy, on the north coast of Wales. It was built by Edward I, during his conquest of Wales, between 1283 and 1289. Constructed as part of a wider project to create the walled town of Conwy, the combined defenses cost around £15,000, a huge sum for the period.

Conwy Castle mockup

This rendition shows the town within the walls as it would have appeared in the 1200s when initially build.

Over the next few centuries, the castle played an important part in several wars. It withstood the siege of Madog ap Llywelyn in the winter of 1294–95, acted as a temporary haven for Richard II in 1399 and was held for several months by forces loyal to Owain Glyndŵr in 1401.

Following the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, the castle was held by forces loyal to Charles I, holding out until 1646 when it surrendered to the Parliamentary armies. In the aftermath the castle was partially slighted by Parliament to prevent it being used in any further revolt, and was finally completely ruined in 1665 when its remaining iron and lead was stripped and sold off.

UNESCO considers Conwy to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”, and it is classed as a World Heritage site. The rectangular castle is built from local and imported stone and occupies a coastal ridge, originally overlooking an important crossing point over the River Conwy. Divided into an Inner and an Outer Ward, it is defended by eight large towers and two barbicans, with a postern gate leading down to the river, allowing the castle to be resupplied from the sea.

Conwy Castle exterior

The castle walls are absolutely massive.


Unfortunately, Conway Castle is so large that I couldn’t get far enough away from it to get a good photo.  The outside of it is at least 2-3 stories below the inside courtyard and castle main area where I was.  The entire city was walled with a total of 21 towers and everything inside was part of the castle complex.  The magnitude of this castle was simply astounding.  It only took 4-5 years to complete.  It was built in the 1200s and is in ruins today.  But they are beautiful ruins.  The 8 castle towers and walls are all still intact.

Conwy paraphet

Conwy view

Conwy arches

When we were in Chester, I wanted to walk the old city walls, but we didn’t get a chance to do that.  Here, I walked the walls, around the castle, but the wall walk at one time extended entirely around the city.

You can see in the photo below that the castle walls seamlessly transition into the city walls.

Conwy City walls

This photo gives you an idea of how large that wall actually is, as compared to the cars.

Conwy walls back

Conwy skyline

In addition, I climbed the very small, very tight circular stone stairs to the top of one of the paraphets, or towers.  The views were utterly stunning.  I’m glad I did it, but I won’t be doing it again.  Between the height, the wind and the motion sickness from the circular stairs, once is enough. The next few photos are from the paraphet walk.

Conwy Jim

And of course, there are sheep. There are more sheep in Wales than people.

Conwy sheep

The city as seen from the towers.

Conwy village

And the countryside.

Conwy countryside

And the harbour.

Conwy harbor

Sometimes rainy days make for stunning photos!

Conwy harbor 2

Can you imagine maneuvering a bus through the city wall? Well, our driver knew that there was only one wall entrance that had a 3 inch clearance, side to side, and that is the only entrance the bus would fit through. And it was not this entrance.

Conwy road

After leaving Conway Castle, we went and had lunch in Betws-y-Ceod, a resort area in North Wales.  We had lunch at the historic Village Inn where they served us lamb.  We had no choice in this matter.  So, I ate lamb.  I still don’t like lamb, but I did try it.  For dessert, we had strawberries and cream, which made up for the lamb.

By then, it was pouring but we had 45 minutes or so of shopping time, so we visited some local shops which is, of course, what tourists do.

There is a very quaint local courting custom.  Young men interested in young women would carve wooden spoons with highly decorated handles and give them as a gift to the object of their desire.  They are called love spoons.  The number of balls on the handle tells her how many children he wants to have, inferring of course, with her.  This custom is excusive only to Wales. You can see many examples in the LoveSpoon store, of course.

love spoons

We also tried Welsh cakes and had a little dessert picnic.  Welsh cakes are a cross between pancakes, cookies and biscuits.  They were different.  We tried three kinds, one berry of some sort, one with sugar and cinnamon – how could that be bad?  But the third was called “savory” and to me it tasted like it had lamb in it.  Not my favorite.

Welsh cakes

Back on our bus and back to our floating home. The great thing about cruises is that you only unpack once and the cruise line worries about logistics. All you have to worry about is getting yourself back on that bus at the appointed time.

Tonight at dinner, we left port just as we were seated.  As we moved out to sea, we saw a wind farm in the sea, followed by an oil rig.

Wind farm at sea

Oil rig

You can see how hard the wind was blowing because the flame at the top is burning sideways, not straight up.  Very rough sea tonight.  I’m ready for bed and I’m wearing my sea bands to bed tonight with my fingers crossed.

Our towel guy tonight was a scorpion and had a tea towel of the flag of Wales, a sweater I bought, the giveaway book about Wales and two love spoons on his fingers.

Towel guy Wales



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Joseph Rice 1700-1766, A Dissenter – 52 Ancestors #18

Joseph Rice was born about 1700, possibly earlier, probably in Hanover County, Virginia, and died in 1766 in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He married Rachel, whose last name is unknown, probably about 1725-1730.  Rachel died after Joseph but before 1792.

For a long time, Joseph was believed to be the son of Matthew Rice, who lived adjacent to his property in Prince Edward County, Virginia, but this has now been disproven. Matthew is Joseph’s brother. Joseph’s parents are believed to be Thomas Rice, born about 1660 in the British Isles, and who reportedly died about 1716 reportedly on a ship returning to collect his inheritance. Thomas’s wife was Marcy who was possibly a Hewes. Thomas was first found in the New Kent County records of St. Peter’s Parish baptizing his children:

  • James the sone of Thom: Rice & Marce his wife baptized ye 4 day of April 1686.
  • Thom: son to Thomas Rice bapt. ye 24th: day of June 1688.
  • Edward Son to Thomas Rice bapt: ye 17 of April 1690.
  • John Son of Tho Rice & Marcey his wife bapt the 18 Septemr 1698.
  • Mary Dautr of Tho Rice baptiz the 19 September 1700.
  • Alice daut of Tho Rice baptz the 19 September 1700.
  • Marcy dautr of Tho Rice baptized the 5 July 1702.

Thomas’s other children’s baptism records are absent.

I have always wondered about the records in the Vestry book in New Kent and then what would become Hanover Co in Va. Thomas Rice and his wife Marcy are recorded having children in this book, but then some children are apparently missing. Why? I copied part of the transcribed book, including the intro pages, and here is what I found.

“The back part (pages 1-143) contains a record, apparently very incomplete, of births, marriages, baptisms and deaths in the parish between 1685 and 1730 or 31 when a new book was begun.”

The transcriber also goes on to say:

“Of this number some 20 or more leaves have been torn out, apparently at random, generally speaking only 1 leaf at a time is missing, but occasionally two consecutive and in one case three. Furthermore of the ones that remain, or rather that have been counted as remaining, many have been torn or otherwise mutilated to the point where there is less than half and in some cases less than fourth of the sheet left.”

In 1802, this parish was split into two.

Thomas’s immigration is proven by a 1700 land patent to George Alves of New Kent Co. for importing people into the colony which includes the name of Thomas Rice. Marcy’s name is not mentioned which may mean he married her after his arrival before 1686, the date of his first child’s baptism.

We know Thomas owned land, but we don’t know how he acquired it. He died sometime between 1711 and 1716 when his wife was called Widdow Rice, possibly on a boat returning to the old country for his inheritance.

Unfortunately, records are very sparse because the majority of the records of Hanover County were burned during the Civil War, however the parish records of St. Paul’s Parish of Hanover and St. Peter’s Parish of New Kent are extant. Hanover County was formed from New Kent County in 1721.

Joseph is not proven to be the child of Thomas, but circumstantial evidence and family oral history is compelling.

We find Joseph consistently with Matthew Rice, known son of Thomas, owning land beside him in Prince Edward County, Virginia the two men being constantly intertwined throughout their lives.

Joseph Rice is first mentioned in a merchants account book in 1743 in Hanover County, Virginia.

Matthew Rice is first found mentioned in a deed executed in 1741 in Amelia Co., VA, which then encompassed present-day Prince Edward County. He purchased 800 acres and was identified as “of St. Martin’s Parish” of Hanover Co. Matthew accumulated considerable land in Sandy River area close to the land of Joseph Rice, who first obtained land in a 1746, a 400 acre land grant on Sandy River (near Great Saylor Creek) in Amelia (later Prince Edward) County. Later probate records indicate these two men were contemporaries in age. They likely were brothers since their children were near in age and were similarly named.

Joseph surveyed and worked on roads, served on jurys and voted for representatives in the House of Burgesses.

I visited Prince Edward County in 2007 and while I wasn’t able to pinpoint Joseph’s exact land, it was likely near here on Rolling Road, which appeared in his deeds.

Rolling Road

In 1759, Joseph was granted permission to build a “meeting house” on his property, indicating he was a fervent member of a dissenting religion (not Anglican), probably a Methodist given that his 2 grandsons, William and Rice Moore became early Methodist ministers in Halifax Co., Va. and Grainger Co., Tn., respectively, in the 1770’s.

Matthew Rice in Prince Edward County lived adjacent Joseph Rice and James Moore. Matthew is the son of Thomas Rice and Marcy. Joseph is not Matthew’s son. The proof lies in these deeds.

All 3 of these deeds are executed on May 18, 1765:

  • Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County to John Rice of Prince Edward County for the love which I have for my son John Rice of Prince Edward County, 165 acres on the branches of Sandy River in Prince Edward bounded by Matthew Rice Sr., Matthew Harris, Deep Bottom branch, north fork of the Great Branch of Sandy River, Thomas Smith, signed Matthew Rice wit Matthew Rice Jr., Thomas Turpin, recorded May 20, 1765
  • Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County to Nathan Rice of Prince Edward County for the love and affection I have for my son Nathan Rice a certain tract of land about 165 acres on the branches of Sandy River in Prince Edward bounded by Matthew Rice Jr., Daniel Lewallings plantation cornering on the branch, the Great Branch of Sandy River, Thomas Turpin, Matthew Rice Sr., Thomas Smith. signed.  wit Matthew Rice Jr., Thomas Turpin, recorded May 20 1765
  • Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County to William Rice of Prince Edward County for the love and affection I have for my son William Rice of Prince Edward County a certain tract of land about 175 acres on the branches of Sandy River in Prince Edward bounded by Elizabeth Barns, the road, Joseph Rice Sr., William Womack’s new corner line, Matthew Rice Sr., the branch that runs between David Rice and Joseph Rice Jr, it being half of a tract of land that Matthew Rice Sr. bought of Samuel Goode. signed. wit Matthew Rice Jr, George Rabourn recorded May 20 1765.

Note that I don’t show a land purchase from Samuel Goode to Matthew in either Amelia or Prince Edward County, but the Good(e) surname is everpresent with the Rice family, and I have to wonder if Rachel, wife of Joseph Rice was a Goode.

William, Nathan and John Rice were children of Matthew Rice and Ann McGeehee. Doing the math backwards, this means that all 3 of these people were of course born 21 years or more before this time, so before 1745. I show a birth year of 1738 for Nathan and 1742 for William. I don’t show a date for John.

Matthew Rice Sr. was born about 1696. Therefore he would have married and began having children between about 1716/1725.

Anyway, Matthew deeds his land to three of his sons. In the last deed, he references both Joseph Rice Sr. and Joseph Rice Jr., which threw me for a loop for a minute until I realized that our Joseph Rice (Sr)’s son Joseph would have been coming of age about this time, born before 1744 because he was of age when his father Joseph Sr. died in 1766, so he would be referenced as Jr. by this time in 1765.

We know old Thomas Rice and Marcy were in Hanover County having children because the Parish register shows the baptisms from 1686-1700. Two known children, Matthew and William were omitted, but thought to be born in 1792 (William) and 1796 (Matthew). Perhaps they were reversed. There are children every 2 years for all of the other slots, so if not then, they Matthew would have had to be born before 1692 (possible) or after (1700) very unlikely given the ages of the children.

Until I found a chancery suite, it was believed that Joseph was the son of Matthew, but this chancery suit, filed after Matthew died in 1775, proves otherwise. Ann McGeehee was Matthew’s second wife and their children were all under 21 when he died in 1775. Ann had 8 children by Matthew, and I believe that Benjamin Rice was the oldest of her children and came of age sometimes about 1776 because he is not listed as an infant in 1776.

We know that Benjamin went west in 1787 or 1788 from the suit. So let’s say Benjamin was born about 1755, so the other kids Matthew, Charles, Nathan, James, William and John were born to the first wife. Let’s say it took Matthew 2 years to remarry. So he would have married his first wife about 18 years before 1755, so 1737. I show Matthew Jr. in my data base as being born about 1735, so all of that makes sense.

However, the chancery suit gives all the names of his children, says that Matthew Jr. is the eldest child, and says nothing about a Joseph. So Joseph must be a brother to Matthew Sr. and not his son, which means that Joseph was the child directly of Thomas Rice and Marcy, or of some other Rice male in that neighborhood at that time. However, there are no other Rice’s recorded in the parish registers in that time and place.

Joseph Rice’s will was written in 1765 and probated on June 16, 1766, naming his wife Rachel, his children, several still underage, and his son-in-law James Moore. What we know about Joseph’s family is limited and is based on his will and other evidence. His children are listed the order they are set forth in his will along with their inheritance.

      • Son-in-law James Moore 100 acres of the land “whereon I live”.
      • John Rice, underage when his father wrote his will, born after 1744, inherited land adjoining James Moore.
      • William Rice, underage, 100 acres of the “east part of tract whereon I live”.
      • Charles Rice, underage, “remainder of land where I live after death of wife”.
      • David Rice, born before 1744, 133 acres of land where “he now lives”.
      • Joseph Rice, born before 1744, 133 acres” where he now lives”. Joseph also married a Rachel and had 4 children, John, Salley, Massey and Martha Patsy.
      • Mary Rice, feather bed, furniture, cow and calf. Given that Mary was James Moore’s wife, it’s unclear why Joseph named her separately and with her maiden name, unless James first wife died and he later remarried to Mary. We do know that James’ wife’s name in Halifax County was Mary. These people are my ancestors.
      • Not mentioned in Joseph’s will, but proven as his son by earlier deeds of gift, is his son Icay Rice. Icay settled very early in current Bourbon Co., Ky. where he obtained a preemption grant in 1779 just before his massacre on June 20, 1780 at Martin’s Station by Indians. His wife and 4 children were taken prisoner and taken to Detroit where his wife, possibly named Maiden, subsequently remarried.

There is also an unexplained William Rice who died in 1760 in Prince Edward County and Joseph Rice is an appraiser for him. We know this William is not Joseph’s son William, who is alive in 1765 when Joseph makes his will, nor Matthew’s son William who is alive in 1765 when Matthew deeds land to him. Who was this William? Joseph was most likely related to William in some manner.

By 1770, James Moore and his wife, Mary Rice Moore had moved to Halifax County, VA and their children were:

  • James Moore born circa 1785 married Lucy Akin
  • Rev. William Moore born 1750/1751 married Lucy unknown
  • Rev. Rice Moore married Elizabeth Madison and moved to Grainger County, Tennessee
  • Mackness Moore born before 1766 married Sarah Thompson and moved to Grainger County, Tennessee
  • Sally Moore born about 1767 married Martin Stubblefield and moved to Grainger County, Tennessee
  • Mary Moore bore before 1769 married Richard Thompson
  • Lydia (probably) Moore born about 1746 married Edward Henderson and lived beside James Moore
  • Thomas (possibly) Moore, died leaving an orphan

This inventory of Joseph Rice’s estate gives us our only insight into his daily life and tells us a great deal about the man. He was not poor, by any means, but he did not own slaves, which would be in keeping with the Methodist faith. He was probably a soldier, a member of the mustered county militia. Most men were. He could have served in the French and Indian war. Let’s take a peek at what he left behind when he departed this Earth:

  • 31 cattle
  • mare, 5 horses
  • 12 sheep
  • 10 geese
  • 16 hoggs
  • Cart, wheels, old rake
  • 12 bells
  • 4 jugs, butter pott
  • some camphire and tickler (tuhler) bottles and a funnell
  • 4 pair cards
  • 3 drawing knives
  • parcel carpenter tools
  • parcel shoemaker tools
  • two old swords, pistol barrel
  • 3 reaphooks, meal sifters
  • old baskets, wool, flax
  • bed (2), bedstead, furniture, bag of feathers
  • barrell with salt
  • 3 old chests and a box
  • Corn, cotton, tand leather
  • money scales
  • ladle, fleshfork
  • parcel of old books
  • some bottles and old punchboles
  • rifle, smooth bore gun belt, shot bagg
  • 2 smoothing irons, 2 candlesticks
  • 2 iron wedges, parcel of old hoes and axes
  • parcel of pewter dished
  • parcel of cyder casks
  • parcel of salt
  • 4 old saddles and horse harnesses
  • 3 bee hives
  • whip and cross cut saw
  • 6 iron potts, a grinstone, pan
  • loom and slay
  • washing tub, water pails
  • wollen wheal
  • 2 tables, parcel of chairs
  • shears, iron skillet, pickler bottle, bridle bitt
  • 3 beds, furniture
  • 3 cattle hides, knives, forks
  • parcel of wax and tallon
  • spectacles, razor, hone
  • paper, some bottles, old file
  • pair bullet moles
  • 3/4 of a hoggshead crop tobacco

Inventory returned to court March 16 1767

Was Joseph a carpenter or a shoemaker, or was he a jack of all trades out of necessity? Did he use those swords? If so, when and where? Where is the rest of the pistol? Are bullet moles actually molds? Did he make his own ammunition to put in his shot bag? Is there a story to be told?

There were books. Could he read? We know he can at least sign his name because the deeds he executed in his lifetime are signed, not marked with an X. What were the books? There are spectacles. I can see this man wearing his spectacles beside the fireplace, sitting at one of his 2 tables, reading his books by the light of his two candles.

I turned to the Rice DNA project to see if I could better define Matthew Rice, or his line. This DNA project is not housed at Family Tree DNA and it does not provide oldest ancestor information on their website. Unable to make heads or tails of this site, I wrote to the administrator and asked about descendants of Matthew Rice. The administrator replied:

“I have not updated my records in sometime, but at least #4086 who is a descendant of Jesse Rice born circa 1778 of Shelby and Muhlenburg, KY who believes they are descendants of Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County, VA is in Group 4. #4086 has no exact matches, so I am unsure if there are other descendants of Matthew or not.”

The information about group 4 shows the following.

Rice Group 4 cropped

The website goes on to say:

“Although nine of the donors have tentatively been traced back to Rices of Virginia, and eight others to Rices of Kentucky or the Carolinas (and probably to Virginia ultimately), the identification of the progenitor remains uncertain. Indeed, some other testees who do not match seem to be contending for the same progenitor (Thomas Rice of Gloucester Co, Va., c1650 – c1716). It will be necessary to test more descendants to firm up this group.”

But this part, this is really painful.

“Besides the results presented here, some of the participants have tested for certain additional loci with much lower mutation rates. These loci are used in studies of population genetics to define categories known as haplogroups. Since haplogroups are distributed broadly on continental scales and date back to prehistoric times, these categories are not useful for genealogy, and we have avoided displaying them here. Indeed, they would be a hindrance, since they have a notable tendency to distract viewers and participants alike from genealogical pursuits.”

I really want to know the Rice haplogroup. I track all of my haplogroups on my DNA pedigree chart. Furthermore, I want to know a detailed haplogroup. There is so much deep ancestry to be gleaned here and historical context that is unavailable without the haplogroup information.

I wrote to the administrator again, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover that they also maintain the Family Tree DNA Rice project site, grouped in the same way. Now, if they just showed the oldest ancestor too, that would be really useful!!!

The good news is that many of these Rice descendants have their haplogroup extended, including kit 4086, believed to be descended from Matthew. They are haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1b, otherwise known as P312. This SNP in effect divides haplogroup R in half, sometime around 4000 years ago in Europe, distributing from the west of the Rhine basin.

Many people test additional SNPs downstream of P312, but the project doesn’t have the SNP table turned on, so I can’t see if anyone in this group has tested with Geno 2.0 and what extended haplogroup they might be. However, with the new haplotree, promised shortly by Family Tree DNA, hopefully this problem will be resolved because the most downstream named haplogroup will show for everyone.

However, sometimes there is more than one way to discover information.

I decided to check the Haplogroup P312 project to see if any of the Rice’s in this group had joined that project. They do have oldest ancestors enabled, and SNPs as well.

I discovered that kits 4897 and 4131 are found in the DF27 group where the administrator wants participants to also test for Z196.

Both of these men list their oldest ancestor as Thomas Rice, Gloucester Co., VA born circa 1655 and died in the early 1700s. One says 1711, one says 1716. Both show his country or origin as Wales. I wonder if that is something that is documented or they have just assumed due the Rice surname being commonly Welsh. For the first time, recently I’ve seen Thomas’s birth listed as having occurred in 1650 in Shirenewton, Monmouthshire, Wales, but I’ve been unable to find any source for that information, so at this point, I have treated it as simply a hint. I’m not even sure how to go about verifying someone’s birth in 1650 in Wales.

I turned to my British friend, Brian, for help with these records and he every so kindly checked the book, “The British Registers of servants Sent to Foreign Plantations, 1654-1686” by Peter Wilson Coldham to see if Thomas Rice was listed. Indeed, he was.

“Thomas Rice of Shire Newton, Glam, To Clement Blake, mariner, 4 years Barbados.”

This entry was dated August 15, 1656. Next, of course, we need to know if indeed, in Wales, near Shire Newton, there was a Rice whose estate was probated sometime between 1711 and 1716. If the story about Thomas’s death is true, then there would be an estate for him to collect. Of course, if his family was well enough off to leave an estate, why was Thomas Rice bound in the first place instead of his family simply paying his transportation?

Moving back to Thomas’s DNA – checking the SNP tab in the DF27 project, it shows is that kit number 4131, a descendant of Thomas Rice, indeed has had additional testing done, which eliminates several common downstream haplogroups.

4131 Thomas Rice, Gloucester Co,VA,ca1650-ca1716 (WLS?] R1b1a2a1a1b R-P312 P312+, L2-, L20-, L21-, L4-, M126-, M153-, M160-, M65-, SRY2627-, U152-

Even better yet, kit 4897 has taken the Geno 2.0 test and has had many downstream SNPS tested. Indeed, this is my lucky day. This result extends to all of the Rice men who descend from a common ancestor. We can see below that indeed, DF27 is positive.

4897 Thomas Rice, b. 1650 and d. 1711 R1b1a2a1a1b R-P312 CTS10168+, CTS10362+, CTS10834+, CTS109+, CTS11358+, CTS11468+, CTS11575+, CTS11726+, CTS11985+, CTS12478+, CTS125+, CTS12632+, CTS1996+, CTS2134+, CTS2664+, CTS3063+, CTS3135+, CTS3331+, CTS3358+, CTS3431+, CTS3536+, CTS3575+, CTS3654+, CTS3662+, CTS3868+, CTS3996+, CTS4244+, CTS4364+, CTS4368+, CTS4437+, CTS4443+, CTS4740+, CTS5318+, CTS5457+, CTS5532+, CTS5577+, CTS5884+, CTS6135+, CTS623+, CTS6383+, CTS6800+, CTS6907+, CTS7400+, CTS7659+, CTS7922+, CTS7933+, CTS8243+, CTS8591+, CTS8665+, CTS8728+, CTS8980+, CTS9828+, DF27+, F1046+, F115+, F1209+, F1302+, F1320+, F1329+, F1704+, F1714+, F1753+, F1767+, F1794+, F180+, F2048+, F2075+, F211+, F212+, F2142+, F2155+, F2302+, F2402+, F2587+, F2688+, F2710+, F2837+, F29+, F295+, F2985+, F2993+, F3111+, F313+, F3136+, F33+, F332+, F3335+, F344+, F3556+, F356+, F359+, F3692+, F378+, F4+, F47+, F506+, F556+, F63+, F640+, F647+, F652+, F671+, F719+, F82+, F83+, F93+, L11+, L132+, L15+, L150+, L151+, L16+, L23+, L265+, L278+, L350+, L388+, L389+, L407+, L468+, L470+, L471+, L478+, L482+, L483+, L498+, L500+, L502+, L506+, L51+, L52+, L566+, L585+, L721+, L747+, L752+, L754+, L761+, L768+, L773+, L774+, L779+, L781+, L82+, M139+, M168+, M207+, M235+, M294+, M343+, M415+, M42+, M45+, M526+, M89+, M94+, P128+, P131+, P132+, P135+, P136+, P138+, P14+, P141+, P145+, P146+, P148+, P151+, P158+, P159+, P160+, P166+, P187+, P207+, P225+, P226+, P228+, P229+, P230+, P232+, P233+, P235+, P236+, P237+, P238+, P240+, P242+, P243+, P244+, P245+, P280+, P281+, P282+, P283+, P284+, P285+, P286+, P295+, P297+, P310+, P312+, PAGES00083+, PF1016+, PF1029+, PF1031+, PF1040+, PF1046+

Unfortunately, SNP Z196 is not one that is tested in the Nat Geo test, so we’re stuck until the new tree is released, unless, unless….these men have tested SNP Z196 and have joined the DF27 project. Would I be that lucky? Let’s see.

WooHoo, it is my lucky day. Both men have joined the DF27 project, both have apparently tested SNP Z196 because they are both clustered in the group titled “Aa. DF27+Z196- (R1b-DF27*).” Translated, that means they do have the DF27 haplogroup mutation, they don’t have the Z196 haplogroup mutation and the DF27* means that they have tested all downstream SNPs available and they don’t have any, so they are confirmed DF27 and not DF27 with untested downstream SNPs. So even though I can’t see these results directly, the grouping told me everything I need to know!!! Thank you DF27 project admins!!!

So, I’m excited to see where the men with this mutation set are found. Do they cluster someplace in Europe? Will we be able to tell anything from where they are found, as a group? Keep in mind, this map is generated from the “most distant ancestor” field and location, and if you don’t enter that geographic information on the Matches Map, it won’t show up here. What this means is that there are probably a lot more people who could be plotted here but haven’t entered their ancestor’s location information. Let’s see what we have.

DF27 map

This is very interesting. Aside from the British Isles, which is after all, a destination location for the rest of Europe, these group participants are widely scattered. Not something I expected. They are literally found from Spain to Scandinavia and east to west. Let’s take a closer look at the British Isles.

DF27 closeup

There is no Irish or Scottish cluster. Most of these participants ancestors are from England. Interestingly, there is no Wales cluster either. In fact, there is only one person in Wales, a Davies from Monmouthshire, which, ironically, is where Thomas Rice is supposed to be from in one set of records. Of course, verifying those records and proving it’s the same Thomas Rice are horses of a different color. What this does tell me though is that the two Rice men have listed their oldest ancestor on the Most Distant Ancestor tab, they have not entered the geographic information on the Matches Maps tab. It’s very easy to miss.

We’ve learned a lot through our little DNA sleuthing journey to find the results of our Rice line’s DNA. We’re now back some 4000 years or so in Europe and now we’re looking to figure out what type of historic migration event would populate England but not Ireland or Scotland with the DF27+Z196- men. It surely wasn’t Vikings and we know that Scotland and Ireland were settled by the Celtic people, so it wasn’t them. Who was it? Where did these people come from before England?

Saxon map

This Saxon England map above is similar to the distribution of the DF27* group in England, but we know that the Saxons were clustered in Germany before they arrived in England, and doesn’t fit the continental European distribution of this haplogroup very well.

Roman map

This map shows Roman Britain and contains the distribution of DF27 quite well, including the portion in Scotland along Antoine’s Wall which is the northern walled border of Roman Britain.

Antonine wall map

Roman soldiers were recruited and conscripted from all over Europe. At one time Rome controlled most of Europe. The extent of the Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD is shown on the map below.

Roman Empire 117AD

Which one of these scenarios might best fit the cluster of matches that includes our Thomas Rice?  In time, we may discover that answer.

Sometimes looking to the history of the area where an ancestral family is first found is helpful.  If, indeed, our Thomas is from Shirenewton, the history of Shirenewton tells us this:

“Before the Norman invasion of Wales, the Shirenewton area formed part of the forest of Wentwood (Welsh: Coed Gwent). At the time of the Domesday Book, it was part of the lands at Caldicot which were held by Durand, the Sheriff of Gloucester. Durand and his successor as sheriff, his nephew Walter FitzRoger also known as Walter de Gloucester, had part of the forest cleared around the year 1100, and established a small settlement which was known as “Sheriff’s Newton (or New Town)” or, in Latin, Nova Villa. The manor then became known as Caldecot-cum-Newton, and in some documents the village was called Newton Netherwent. “Netherwent” is the English name given to the Welsh cantref of Gwent-is-coed (Gwent beneath the wood, i.e. Wentwood), with “-went” deriving from the Roman town of Venta which became Caerwent. The name “Sheriff’s Newton” became contracted over the years into Shirenewton.


But back to our Rices after they adopted their surname which was after 1086 and probably before 1300, or so. Was our Rice line really from Wales? Do Thomas Rice born about 1650 and found in Gloucester County, Virginia and Thomas Rice born about 1660 in the British Isles and found in New Kent/Hanover County, Virginia share a common grandfather or great-grandfather perhaps? And was that ancestor found in Wales? Do records exist for this timeframe that could confirm or refute the claim that Thomas from New Kent/Hanover indeed was sailing back to claim an inheritance sometime between 1711 and 1716? The answers to all of these questions, some resting in history, some in genealogy and some in the genetics of the future wait for us to answer them.


The amazing thing is that we were able to make this discovery about the Matthew Rice line through his common paternal Rice cousins. I don’t have a male Rice descendant to test. This was done entirely “second hand” or as we could have called it at home, via “shirttail cousins.” In this case, shirttail cousins equate to Y DNA cousins, and that’s exactly what was needed. Now, let’s hope that the genealogy is correct for kit number 4086. While that is a serious consideration, I do know the genealogy of some of the Matthew lines and they did indeed wind up in Muhlenburg, KY where this participant’s ancestors are found, so I’m not terribly concerned about the line being connected to the wrong ancestor.


So, just for the record, anyone who thinks that project fields like haplogroup, oldest ancestor and location aren’t important to be displayed in any project are mistaken and deprive genealogists of information that could be useful.


Furthermore, project features like maps and SNPs, provided free by Family Tree DNA, can very simply be enabled and provide a wealth of knowledge to researchers, especially those who don’t have a male line to test.



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