Daniel Vannoy (1752 – after 1794) Embattled, then Disappeared – 52 Ancestors #261

Daniel Vannoy Blue Ridge Parkway.png

Daniel Vannoy is the father of Elijah Vannoy who was born about 1784. This seems like such a simple statement, but believe me, identifying Elijah’s father was anything BUT simple. In fact, without DNA testing, we would never have been able to know which of the 4 sons of John Vannoy was the father of Elijah.

Fortunately, we know the identity of the wives of the 4 Vannoy sons. It was through matching the descendants of the ancestors of Daniel’s wife, Sarah Hickerson, that we identified Daniel.

I wrote about that here and here.

In a nutshell, Y DNA proved that Elijah was indeed a Vannoy male, and autosomal matches to Sarah’s siblings’ descendants proved that Daniel Vannoy and Sarah Hickerson were Elijah’s parents.

Birth and Baptism

Daniel Vannoy was born on February 22, 1752 in Rowan County, North Carolina, according to family Bible records.

The location of Daniel’s birth in Rowan County has been widely reported as Potts Creek, but Potts Creek, today, is about 90 miles southwest of the Jersey Church where we know positively that Daniel’s father was living. There may have been a different Potts Creek at that time, but it’s unlikely that Daniel’s father, John Vannoy moved away from the Jersey Settlement, and back again, especially given that settlers were even less safe further west. I’d love to know the source of the Potts Creek information.

Daniel Vannoy may have been named after Daniel Gano, one of the men who lived in Hopewell New Jersey and whose son, John, migrated not long after the Vannoy family settled in the North Carolina Jersey Settlement. The Reverend John Gano was the eventual minister of the Jersey Settlement church, at least until he high-tailed it back to New Jersey because of the unsafe conditions in North Carolina.

It’s worth noting that Gano recorded that the trip from New Jersey to the Jersey Settlement in North Carolina was 800 miles and took him 5 weeks – and he was riding a horse, not pulling a wagon which would have taken much longer – about 10 miles per day on average. That means that John Vannoy’s trip to North Carolina took about 80 days – if nothing broke and everything went well.

Gano returned to New Jersey in 1760 due to Indian trouble in North Carolina, but clearly John Vannoy and his sons remained. In February 1760, the Cherokee attacked Fort Dobbs and the white settlements along the Yadkin and Dan Rivers. War with the Cherokee lasted until August 1761 when a peace treaty was reached.

Daniel Vannoy was baptized into the Dutchman’s Creek Church on August 17, 1774 at 22 years of age.

August the Seventh 1774, there was added to the Church by baptism:
Daniel Vannoy

Dutchman’s Creek Church became Eaton’s Ford on the Yadkin in 1790. The Mulberry Fields Baptist Church, where Daniel was baptized was a more distant branch of Dutchman’s Creek.

Daniel was baptized as an adult and the family had clearly moved to the area known as Mulberry Fields, today known as Wilkesboro, by 1774.

Moving West

Daniel’s father, John Vannoy, owned land near Lick Creek Road Church when Daniel was born. The Jersey Church where Daniel would have first attended is a few miles up the road. Eaton’s Baptist Church is at the middle red arrow on the map below. The Mulberry Fields church was located at what is now Wilkesboro, about 75 miles northwest of the Jersey Settlement.

Nathaniel Vannoy lived at Mulberry Fields, but Andrew Vannoy eventually lived near McGrady, up on the mountain, another 17 miles further north. Daniel’s other brother, Francis, lived on Reddies River, in between Andrew and Nathaniel.

Daniel Vannoy Jersey to Wilkesboro.png

It’s interesting that Daniel Boone’s parents lived on Mulberry Fields on the Yadkin as well, and that Daniel Boone’s brother, Edward Boone was baptized the same day as Daniel Vannoy. In fact, the Boone family seems to be a presence in Daniel Vannoy’s life, with Squire Boon also found in the court notes with Daniel Vannoy.

Daniel Vannoy lost his father when he was about 25 years old, in approximately 1788, and shortly thereafter, Daniel married.

Wedding Bells

Like many young men, we don’t hear much about Daniel until he marries, but we do find Daniel on the Surry County tax list in 1774 and 1775 with 1 poll. That portion of Surry County would become Wilkes county a few years later.

Wilkes County was formed in 1777, and in Wilkes County, Daniel Vannoy and Sarah Hickerson were married on October 2, 1779.

Daniel Vannoy marriage.jpg

On his marriage document, we have Daniel’s only known signature. This tells us that he could read and write.

After Daniel’s marriage, he began farming and we find him in a variety of typical records for the next few years.

Court Minutes 1777-1788 – September 6, 1778 – page 3 – Court ordered that George Wheatley, Edmund (blurred), Jeffrey Johnson, Francis Vannoys, Jonathan Stamper Jr., William Johnson, Thomas Stubblefield, Francis Reynolds, James Reynolds, Moses Toliver, David Hickerson, Daniel Vannoys, Charles Burns, Andrew Vannoye, Joseph Pourter, Joseph Fannel (?), view road from end of road at Roaring River to court house.

Francis and Andrew Vannoy are Daniel’s brothers, and David Hickerson is Daniel’s brother-in-law.

Daniel Vannoy Wilkesboro Roaring River.png

Assuming the courthouse then was in present-day Wilkesboro, and the “end of road at Roaring River” is about at Elkin Highway today, this was about a 10 mile stretch of road. This length explains the next entry that divides the length into more manageable segments for maintenance. Daniel’s brother, Nathaniel, was responsible for opening and overseeing a section of the road.

The next day, Francis Reynolds was appointed as the overseer of the new marked road from the court house to Francis Reynolds Ridge Road, Francis Vannoy overseer of the road from Francis Reynolds Ridge Road to Roaring River, George Wheatley overseer of the road from Roaring River to Little Bugabo Creek, and William Warrel over seer of the road from Little Bugabo to the County Line.


March 27, 1778 – James Fletcher entered 400 acres on the South side of the Yadkin River including an island at Moravian Lower line to John Prophets claim including improvement said Fletcher lives on (Caveated by Daniel Vannoy) – entry 47.

A property caveat is a legal document lodged to provide notice of a legal claim to a property. Lodging a caveat allows time for both parties to claim their interest in court. No other transactions can be registered against the title until the caveat is resolved.

Moravian Creek is south of the Yadkin River, while at least some of the rest of the Vannoy family settled several miles North of the Yadkin, although Nathaniel lived in the Mulberry Fields area.

We don’t know for sure if Daniel received this grant, but based on the next entry, it appears that he might well have.

October 7, 1779 – Charles Gordon entered 100 acres east corner east and west line Mulberry Fields tract joining Daniel Vannoy’s tract, entry 1236.

Let’s see if we can find this land.

Daniel Vannoy Moravian River.png

This land would be in Wilkes County near present-day Wilkesboro. The mouth of Moravian River is shown intersecting with the Yadkin at the upper red arrow, with what was then Mulberry Fields to the right.

Of course, in the intervening 221 years since Daniel tried to claim those 400 acres, roads were constructed, as well as many floods having occurred. I don’t see an island today, but that doesn’t mean much if the island was small.

The great irony is that when I visited Wilkes County in 2004, my favorite coffee shop, the Coffee Tavern, was located on the Yadkin River, quite near this location.

Daniel Vannoy coffee tavern.jpg

Now a dental office, this was about a mile and a half as the crow flies from the mouth of Moravian Creek on the Yadkin. Daniel’s land would have been more than half a mile wide by a mile long – but of course it might not have been rectangular. The Coffee Tavern is likely further east, but not by far.

I struggled to find this property today, but finally succeeded.

Daniel Vannoy Moravian to coffee tavern.png

I knew I was close, but the Coffee Tavern was actually further east at 1409 Willow Lane. Still, I stood on the back deck with my coffee and looked out over the Yadkin not far from where Daniel and his brother, Nathaniel lived. I had no idea then how close I was, but I clearly remember feeling moved.

The Yadkin was smaller than I expected, but it was clearly the lifeblood of, and responsible for, the settlement of this part of North Carolina.

Finally, I found the actual survey itself, and the island mentioned. There’s an important clue, “just below the mouth of Cub Creek.”

And North is down, not up.

Daniel Vannoy Cub Creek.jpg

I wasn’t far from this location at the Coffee Tavern – although it appears that Daniel only attempted to own this land but didn’t succeed. His brother Nathaniel lived close by.

Daniel Vannoy Mulberry Fields.png

This area in Mulberry Fields was clearly the early stomping ground of the Vannoy men.

Beaver Creek

Daniel then entered land further west. The descendants in Wilkes County have always said that “Elijah’s people” were from “over in Ashe County” – and it was true.

October 18, 1779 – Daniel Vannoy entered 100 acres on a branch of the New River called South Beaver – entry 1248.

Daniel Vannoy 1780 survey.jpg

Next in the file was the survey drawing which helped immensely in locating Daniel’s actual land.

Daniel Vannoy Beaver Creek survey.jpg

Daniel’s brother, Nathaniel would be his chain carrier for the survey.

This land would be in future Ashe County when it was formed in 1799.

Daniel Vannoy South Beaver.png

New River in Ashe county shown by the green arrows, and the South Beaver is shown by the red arrows. It’s about 5 miles long.

Daniel Vannoy South Beaver to Wilkesboro.png

The closest portion of South Beaver was not close to Wilkesboro – about 24 miles distant.

Andrew Vannoy was claiming land on Mulberry Creek by 1780, and Francis was living on the Reddies River by Lewis Fork by 1783. Nathaniel claimed land in Mulberry Fields.

Daniel Vannoy Beaver to McGrady.png

The closest points between Vannoy Road in Wilkes County and South Beaver Creek. Daniel’s brother Andrew lived close to McGrady near the Old North Carolina 16 location, known as the “Old Wilkesboro Road” which snaked its way through the mountains.

On December 6, 1779, Daniel was again serving as a juror in Wilkes County.

While things appear calm in the courtroom up until now, keep in mind that the country is in the middle of the Revolutionary War and many men from Wilkes County served. Nathaniel Vannoy was a Sergeant Major and Daniel’s brother Andrew was a Captain, but there is no suggestion that Daniel served.

The Feud Begins

September 4, 1781 – Court entry for Samuel Steward vs Daniel Vannoy.

A jury was called – no trial outcome is listed. This looks to be the official beginning of a feud between the Hickerson family and Daniel Vannoy – not even 2 years after his marriage to Sarah. By this time, their first child had probably been born.

This suit is likely a foreshadowing of things to come a decade later.

It’s worth noting that on the 1782 tax list, there are no Stewarts or Stewards and in the 1790 census, there is only one Steward family in Wilkes County, James Steward.

Three pages later in the court transcriptions, another suit involves a near neighbor.

Nathaniel Jud vs Daniel Vannoy.

Another jury is called, with no outcome listed.

I would like to have been a fly on that wall.

Court would have been quite interesting on April 26, 1786. Daniel was a juror in court that particular day, although not for this specific trial. The trial where Daniel served immediately followed this case.

State vs Bradock Harris – indicted assault, jury called, jury find guilty. Ordered defendant fined 5 pounds and be CARTED up and down the court yard from Humphries to Smothers with this inscription wrote in large letters on paper and fixed to his forehead and read loudly by the sheriff at each place. THIS IS THE EFFECTS OF AN INTENDED RAPE and the last part of the punishment be inflicted between hours of four and five o’clock this evening.

Court was adjourned for one hour and following were present: Charles Gordon, Russell Jones and William Nall, Esquires.

The caps are in the record and are not mine.

I’d wager that the court adjourned so everyone could go outside and watch the procession. Interesting that in the 1790 census, Bradock is married with 2 children.

The next entry for that day in the Wilkes County court is a case where Daniel Vannoy is a juror, so he would have witnessed the case above, including the punishment. Court in the 1700s was the soap opera entertainment of the day.

The fact that Daniel is serving in Wilkes County tells us unquestionably that he was living in Wilkes County and was a property owner at this time.

The 1782 Wilkes County tax list shows that Daniel had 100 acres of land, 1 negro, 1 mule or horse and 4 cattle. This implies that he did not obtain the 400 acres in Wilkesboro and was probably living on the South Beaver Creek land.

A few months later, we find Daniel in the records again. It appeared that he applied for another grant on Beaver Creek.

October 23, 1782 – NC grant no 274 – Daniel Vannoy 100 acres on Beaver Creek branch South fork New River page 229.

I thought this was a second piece of land, but it wasn’t. The first document is the entry for the grant, and this document, below, is the actual granting of the same land.

Daniel Vannoy 1782 grant.jpg

In 1787, Daniel is found on the tax list with a wife, 2 sons and a daughter.

We know now that one of those sons is Elijah Vannoy, but we don’t know the identity of the other son, nor of the daughter, assuming they survived, of course.

November 11, 1788 – Petition of the back inhabitants of this state humbly sheweth that there are many small pieces of land in the upper or back parts of this state now lieing vacant and the price of entering of land being high and the inhabitants in general low circumstances causes many families to live on rented lands whereas if the price of entering was reduced they might be in a capacity of getting land on their own. We pray that you would reduce the price of entering land so as to put poor men in a capacity of getting land to maintain their families on.

These petitioners look to be men from Wilkes County, NC. I recognize many of the names such as Vannoy, Shepard, Cleveland, Hickerson and McNiel.

We find Daniel Vannoy listed among the petitioners.

In 1790, Daniel is found on the census with his wife, 2 sons, a daughter, and a slave.

Daniel Vannoy 1790 census.jpg

Viewing the neighbors on the census list is often useful. Unfortunately, Daniel is the last person in the second district, but the people listed above him are likely recorded in some form of neighbor order.

In this case, Leonard Miller is married to Daniel’s wife’s sister, Jane. Does this mean that Daniel and Leonard are living not terribly far from Charles Hickerson, Sarah’s father, in Wilkes County?

July 28, 1790 – Daniel is a court juror.

November 12, 1792 – Daniel Vannoy witnessed a deed for William Curry Sr. and Jr, on the Middle Fork Fisher’s Creek.

November 7, 1793 – Court ordered Isham Harvell, William Chambers, William Mitchell, Charles Johnson, William Curry, Daniel Vannoy, Charles Foster Jr. James Harvil, William Hendren, John Hendren, John Howard view road from road leads from Old Store to Samuel Nicholsons to the Meeting House at road between Fisher’s Creek and Cub Creek.

Cub Creek intersects with the Yadkin in Wilkesboro, but Fisher’s Creek, now Fisher’s River, is about 35 miles East.

Daniel Vannoy Cub Creek to Fishers Creek.png

November 8, 1793 – Bastardy bond 50 pounds Reuben Carter charged with begetting bastard child on Mary Brewer, Daniel Vannoy and John Johnson bondsmen, page 383.

This bastardy bond for Reuben Carter makes me wonder if Daniel is related to either Reuben Carter or Mary Brewer, the mother of Reuben’s child. Note that on the census, Henry Carter is listed three houses above Daniel Vannoy.

April 6, 1794 – Between Daniel Vannoy and Nathaniel Vannoy 160 pounds for negro women named Winnie formerly property of Col. Charles Gordon and her child, Reubin. Wit Rowland Judd and Isaac Parlier. Signed Daniel Vannoy page 190

This hurts my heart to know that Daniel owned slaves. There’s no clue as to how or when he obtained those slaves.

This transaction was confirmed in court on May 4, 1805, “Bill of sale from Daniel Vanoy to Nathaniel Vannoy for a negro woman named Winny was duly proven in court by the oath or Rowland Judd.”

Daniel’s In-Laws

Before the end of 1793, Daniel’s father-in-law, Charles Hickerson had died and is reported by his grandchildren to have been buried at Mulberry Fields.

We know Charles Hickerson had died because Daniel’s mother-in-law, Mary Hickerson died on or about December 5, 1793. Mary “published” a nuncupative will that was probated in Wilkes County at the February court term 1794 and recorded in Will Book A, page 386.

As they say, that’s when the fight began.

In the name of God Amen, I Mary Hickerson of the County of Wilkes and State of North Carolina, being of Sound mind and memory, blessed be God, do this the fifth day of December in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety three make and publish this my last Will and Testament in the manner following, that is to say– First, I give my son Joseph Hickerson one purple rugg. I also give my daughter Jane Miller my chest and tea ware. I also give my daughter Mary Stewart and her son Samuel Hickerson one feather bed and also my daughter, Mary Stewart, all the goods in the above mentioned chest. And all the balance of my property to be equally divided amongst my daughters. I also leave my son David Hickerson three yards of white linnin. Also this is my last Will and Testament and Desire. Delivered in the presence of us Amy Hickerson Jane Miller.

No signature and no executors.

I suspect that Amy Hickerson is actually Ann, Mary’s daughter-in-law.

The problematic words in this will are likely “the balance of my property to be equally divided among my daughters.” Mary doesn’t name the daughters, nor does she say if that includes any deceased daughters who might have children. Or, maybe there wasn’t any other property left, based on how this will read, so any daughters not specifically remembered would have received nothing at all.

Mary Steward who had a Hickerson son, Samuel, is the probable the source of the alias of Samuel Steward in the 1794 slander case with Daniel Vannoy as well as the 1781 court suit.

It’s also of note that Mary did not leave anything to her daughter, Sarah, Daniel Vannoy’s wife, and that too may have been a source of conflict.

Was Sarah Hickerson Vannoy deceased before her mother? If so, Sarah clearly had children and Daniel would obviously have felt they should have inherited something from their grandmother.

If Sarah wasn’t deceased, why was she not specifically remembered. Did her only inheritance fall into the “balance of my property to be equally divided among my daughters,” but there was no property left to divide?

Slander and Assault!

Obviously, someone was very unhappy. That someone was apparently Daniel Vannoy and by inference, his wife, Sarah, assuming she was living. I do presume she was alive, because Daniel Vannoy never remarried, at least not that we know of. The Wilkes County marriage records exist prior to and after this date.

On May 7, 1794 we find this in the court notes:

Samuel Stewart alias Little D. Hickerson vs Daniel Vannoy – slander – jury called.

This tells us that Samuel Steward is of age, so born before 1773. In fact, he was probably of age by 1781 when the first suit was filed, meaning he was born before 1760, pushing his mother’s birth back to about 1740 or so.

This entry suggests that the man is now called Samuel Steward but his legal name is Little D. Hickerson – suggesting that he was illegitimately born to his mother, Mary HIckerson, before she married a Stewart/Steward man.

David Hickerson vs Daniel Vannoy – same jury, Leonard Miller forfeit his appearance as witness in case.

It sounds like Leonard Miller, Daniel’s brother-in-law, didn’t show up for court. He probably didn’t want to be in the middle, but if he was a witness, it’s likely he was there when whatever happened, happened.

Court ordered attorney McDowal to show tomorrow why a new trial shall not be granted in Samuel Hickerson vs Daniel Vannoy.

Here, he’s actually listed as Samuel Hickerson.

Leonard Miller is Daniel’s wife’s sister Jane’s husband.

David Hickerson is Daniel’s wife’s sibling.

Court ordered R. Wood to show cause why David Hickerson should not pay witness in suit.

I’m guessing that R. Wood is an attorney for David Hickerson.

In today’s parlance, everyone is lawyered up.

On November 2, 1794 – On motion of attorney McDowell on behalf of Daniel Vannoy, complainant, a sci fa issued to Samuel Hickerson alias Steward Hickerson Litle.

This is the fourth name for Samuel, aka whatever.

Scire facias is a writ requiring a person to show why a judgment regarding a record or patent should not be enforced or annulled.

In this case, the scire facias filing suggests that Daniel argues that Mary’s will should be set aside as pertains to Samuel, the son of Mary Steward to whom Mary Hickerson left all of her furniture and everything in that trunk. In essence, this probably included all of Mary’s worldly goods except the purple rug, chest, tea ware and 3 yards of white linen.

Or maybe there was an allegation that additional items were added to the chest that hadn’t been there before.

Of course, Mary Hickerson was Daniel’s mother-in-law.

As the leaves and seasons were turning and the anniversary of Mary’s death was approaching, things deteriorated further.

November 6, 1794 – State vs Daniel Vannoy, indicted assault and battery, fined 1 penny.

This is one of those verdicts where it appears that the court (no jurors were mentioned) had to find Daniel guilty, but they fined him as little as possible. This is what I refer to as a wink and a nod. Yep, you did it Daniel, as they patted him on the back and said, “yea, I would have too.”

November 7, 1794 – State vs Samuel Hickerson indicted assault and battery.

Unfortunately, no outcome is listed for this trial. It sounds like Daniel and Samuel had an old-fashioned brawl.

State vs William Curry, indicted assault and battery, jury called.

William Curry is the man for whom Daniel witnessed the deeds. I wonder if he’s somehow related too.

I’m not sure how William Curry is mixed up in this, but he clearly is based on the distribution of the costs.

Court ordered a fine of 5 pounds be remitted in State vs David Hickerson.

If a fine was ordered, David was found guilty. It’s worth noting that the fine is more than a penny.

Ordered William Curry pay Joshua Souther, John Love and the prosecutor in suit State vs William Curry, and Daniel Vannoy pay other witnesses – defendant found not guilty.

William isn’t guilty, but for some reason Daniel has to pay the witnesses. This is a mess.

Daniel was on a tear. Today, this is referred to as “going full southern.” I can’t help but think of Julia Sugarbaker.

Daniel was obviously furious about something and feeling very wronged. Was he actually?

November 8, 1794 – Bill of sale from Daniel Vannoy to Nathaniel Vannoy for negro woman named Wille, oath Isaac Parlier.

The next day, Daniel sold his slave, probably to pay the costs and witnesses. I don’t know if this case was a matter of money or of principle, or both, but clearly Daniel was “all in.”

This was the third slave Daniel sold in 1794, all to his brother Nathaniel.

Was Daniel preparing to leave?

January 16, 1795 – Between Daniel Vannoy and Patrick Lenin Cavender, 50 pounds, 100 acres on South Beaver Creek branch South fork of New River below his spring branch…gap between Frenches and Querrys Knobs. Wit David X Fouts and David Burket. Signed Daniel Vannoy pages 390 and 391.

Two months after those suits and after selling his slaves, Daniel sold his land.

This land sale was not proven in court until on November 6, 1802, after Daniel seems to be gone. “Deed from Daniel Vannoy to John L. Cavender for 100 acres of land proven in court by the oat hof David Fouts.” The transcriber notes that Absher abstracted a deeed (C 1:390) on January 16, 1795 from Daniel to Patrick Lenin Cavender for the same amount of land, with the same witness, and this might be the same land.”

This land sale document held the clue to actually locating Daniel’s land.

Daniel Vannoy Beaver Creek land.png

Frenches Knobs is the red balloon, above, and the area being pointed to with the red arrow looks very much like Daniel’s survey. Noticing the road to the right of the Beaver Creek Primitive Baptist Church holds another potential clue. It’s named Bob McNiell Road.

Daniel Vannoy land.png

This is roughly the area of Daniel’s land.

The Cemetery is named the Peter McNeill Family Cemetery according to FindAGrave. The Beaver Creek Primitive Baptist Church was founded in 1785, which clearly suggests that both Daniel Vannoy and the McNiell family were involved. This church was on Daniel’s land, which makes me wonder if he was actually one of the founders himself. He owned this land from 1780 when he staked the claim until 1795 when he sold it.

The oldest McNiell family burial is Peter Gaither McNeill born in 1827.

Daniel Vannoy Blue Ridge.png

Note that Daniel actually moved across the top of the Appalachian Range. Frenches Knob is shown with the red pin. The two arrows beneath show the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs in dog-leg fashion along the top of the ridge. I’ve also noted McGrady and Wilkesboro.

Visiting Daniel’s Land at Frenches Knobs

Let’s take a drive and visit Daniel’s land!

Daniel Vannoy Frenches Knobs.png

The beautiful valley between the knobs where Daniel lived. I can’t help but drink this in. This is heading Northwest on 163 right about at the east boundary of Daniel’s land.

Daniel Vannoy Frenches Knob view.png

The infamous Frenches Knobs, above, and an old barn in a field.

Daniel Vannoy Beaver Creek Church Road.png

The intersection of Beaver Creek Church Road and Bob McNiell Road with North Carolina 163.

Daniel Vannoy Beaver Creek Church cemetery.png

There’s a cemetery back behind Beaver Creek Church, shown at right above, but we know that William McNiel sold out and moved on, with Elijah Vannoy, to Claiborne County, Tennessee about 1811. This appears to be a related McNiell family, as William McNiel’s children left with him when he packed up his wagon.

I do wonder if Sarah Hickerson Vannoy might be buried here.

Daniel Vannoy land 163.png

This was Daniel’s land. I’ve now “turned around,” because Daniel’s land seems to end about here, and am driving back southeast.

Daniel Vannoy land knob and barn.png

I wonder if this was the location of the original homesite. Note the ancient tree in the front yard, and the old barn out back. Not to mention, it’s relatively flat and has a source of fresh water nearby.

What Happened to Daniel?

And then, after Daniel sold his land in 1795, in the next 4 years before Ashe County was formed…silence. Nothing in any Wilkes County Records.

Daniel is not found in the 1800 Wilkes or Ashe County census, but in Ashe County, only the census for the Morgan district still exists. He’s not found anyplace else for that matter either.

Daniel Cavender who purchased Daniel’s land in 1795 is not listed in the census either, but he could have died or sold the land in the intervening years.

Given that Elijah Vannoy married William McNiell’s daughter in 1809, let’s see if he’s listed in the 1800 census.

William McNiel is listed in the Morgan District of Ashe County with:

  • 4 males under 10 (Niel McNiell born about 1792, other 3 males unknown)
  • 1 male 10-15 (George McNiell born about 1788)
  • 0 males 16-25
  • 1 male 26-44 (William McNiell born c 1760)
  • 2 females under 10 (Mary McNiell born about 1792, Nancy McNiell born 1794)
  • 1 female 10-15 (Lois McNiel born about 1786)
  • 1 female 16-25 (Sarah McNiell b 1784)
  • 1 female 26-44 (Elizabeth Shepherd born 1766)
  • 1 female over 45 (unknown)

It’s possible that we found Sarah Hickerson Vannoy. Although this doesn’t fit exactly either. Sarah could be the woman over 45, as she would have been about 48. The extra male under 10 could be Joel Vannoy born in 1792, but Elijah, born about 1784 is missing.

In 1810, William McNiell is again living in Wilkes County, 5 houses from Andrew Vannoy. I find William still in the Ashe County court notes in 1809, but not in the Ashe County 1810 census, so it would appear that these families are moving together back to Wilkes County.

In 1810, Daniel Vannoy is still missing in the census, but there is a Sarah Vannoy who might be the widow of Daniel living in the Wilkesboro District, in Wilkes County, with no males, 2 white females 10-15, 1 white female 16-25 and 1 white female 26-44. Sarah would have been about 58 at this time, so whether this Sarah is the widow of Daniel is unclear. The ages don’t match, but the census is notorious for those types of issues.

There doesn’t seem to be another candidate for this Sarah Vannoy.

If this woman is Daniel’s wife, Sarah, then Daniel and Sarah had two more daughters between 1794-1800, but son Joel born about 1792 is missing. If this woman is Sarah, then the woman with William McNiell in 1800 might not be Sarah, as she has 2 additional small children not accounted for in 1800.

In 1810, when Elijah, Daniel’s son, then about 26, emerges on the census, it’s not in Ashe county which was formed in 1799, but in Wilkesboro District in Wilkes County which extends north of Wilkesboro, not far from McNiels and David Hickerson.

No Vannoy or McNiel (by any spelling) is on the Ashe County 1815 tax list either.

Daniel is most likely dead by 1817, because his son, Joel Vannoy who was born in 1792 married Elizabeth Saint Clary (Claire?) on March 18, 1817, and his marriage license was signed by Little Hickerson as bondsman. Surely, if Daniel was alive, he would have signed himself.

This may also suggest that Sarah was not estranged from her family – at least not in 1817, although her brother, David, Little’s father, had been in Tennessee by that point for several years – and so had Sarah’s son, Elijah Vannoy.

If Sarah was alive, it’s apparent based on where her 2 sons emerged that she moved back to Wilkes County.

Many Wilkes County families moved on to Tennessee around the 1810 timeframe, and maybe if Sarah was living, she was finding her family shrinking.

The only children of Daniel Vannoy that we know of, for sure, are my Elijah born about 1784, proven through DNA, an unnamed son and daughter born before 1788 according to the tax list, probable son Joel born about 1792 and a rumored daughter Susan, courtesy of long-time Wilkes County researcher, now deceased, Joyce McNiel. Susan was reported to have been born about 1804 and married George McNiel, born about 1802. Joyce proved that two other sons weren’t the father of Susan, but she was never able to prove who her parents actually were. DNA could probably do that today.

Of course, if the Sarah in Wilkes County in 1810 is Daniel’s wife, then Daniel had 2 additional daughters.


Daniel was quite active for years in Wilkes County, serving in court as a juror, which means he was a citizen in good standing.

This all seemed to come unraveled in 1793 and 1794 with the death of his wife’s parents and resulting conflict when he would have been in his early 40s. From that point on, Daniel simply disappears.

By 1799, when Ashe was formed, Daniel would have been living there, based on his land grants, that is, if he still owned land. However, Daniel had sold his land in 1795.

There are no further land transactions for Daniel Vannoy in either Wilkes or Ashe County.

Daniel’s son Elijah was born about 1784. Son Joel is reported to have been born in 1792 according to the book, “George Michael Eller and Descendants of his in America”, so he could not have been one of the males in the 1790 census. This also means that it’s unlikely that Sarah in 1810 in Wilkes County is Joel’s mother, because Joel would have been 18 and still living at home – or working on a farm someplace.

Furthermore, the fact that Elijah married Lois McNiel in 1809 or earlier, fully 14 years after Daniel Vannoy sold his land and disappeared suggests that Elijah was living someplace in Ashe County. How else would he have been courting Lois McNiell? Their first child was born 11 months after a court entry in Ashe County with William McNiell appearing as a court justice. You have to be in physical proximity to court.

Knowing that William McNiel was Daniel Vannoy’s neighbor in Ashe County, I can’t help but wonder if William McNiell raised brothers, Elijah and Joel Vannoy.

When Daniel was last in the records, Elijah was about 11 and Joel about 3.

Did Daniel die, intestate, in either Wilkes or Ashe County before 1800? If so, he would not have owned property at that time, because the Wilkes records are complete and there is no mention of Daniel after 1795. If he didn’t own property, he may have had no estate to probate.

If that’s the case, he went from being a slave-owning land-owner to not owing slaves or land without enough assets to probate. That would be unusual but certainly not impossible.

Did Daniel die in Ashe County sometime between 1799 when the county was formed and 1806 when the court records began? That’s certainly possible. A significant number of records were destroyed in the Ashe County courthouse fire in 1865.

If Daniel died sometime after 1806 in Ashe County, some of the court records exist. I’m reading them page by page, in the hope of catching a glimpse of Daniel. Currently I’m working on 1810, and no Daniel Vannoy. I don’t think he’s there. That’s 15 years after he sold his land and disappeared.

It is interesting that William McNiel, the father of Lois McNiel whom Elijah Vannoy would marry in 1809 lived in Ashe County, also owning land on the north side of the South Fork of New River.

William McNiel still owned land in Wilkes County that he sold to his new son-in-law, Elijah Vannoy, in 1810.

Daniel Vannoy and Sarah Hickerson were married in 1779. If Sarah was age 20 at the time, she would have been born about 1759. In that case, she could have borne children until about 1802. If she was slightly older, Daniel’s age, born in about 1752, then Sarah would have been giving birth until about 1795.

It’s certainly possible that the Sarah that appears in 1810 in Wilkes County is indeed Daniel’s wife, but there’s no record of her other than the census in Wilkes County.

The 1810 census exists for both Wilkes and Ashe Counties, and it’s apparent that Daniel is living in neither county at this time.

It’s possible that Daniel and family moved on when Daniel sold his land in 1795, except that Daniel and Sarah would not have left their son Joel, born in 1792, only 3 years of age, behind.

It’s also possible that Sarah and Daniel both died and the Vannoy boys were raised by one of their uncles, or someone else, in Ashe or Wilkes County.

On the census records, we do find that Andrew Vannoy has an unexplained male in both 1800 and 1810, but not two unexplained males. In 1787, both Joseph and Benjamin Darnell, born about 1780, were bound to Andrew Vannoy until they were 21 because their father had died. This extra male in 1800 could have been one of the Darnel boys.

Marital Strife?

The situation between Daniel and the Hickerson family had to take a toll. It obviously unraveled Daniel, because he is being sued for slander and assault by a number of people.

I can’t help but wonder if this situation caused his relationship with Sarah to deteriorate as well. At that time, extremely few people got divorced. In fact, divorces were only granted at the state level – and yes, I checked.

What was more common was for the man to simply “leave,” to move on to another place and perhaps remarry.

I have no evidence that this is what happened to Daniel, but I also have no evidence, not one shred, that Daniel remained in either Ashe or Wilkes County – even though his minor sons did.

The fact that Daniel sold his land as well as his slaves suggests he left. I can’t find any additional land transactions. I can’t find his wife. I can’t find a probate record, or his children being assigned guardians or bound out like the Darnel boys.

Yet, Daniel’s 2 sons emerge in Wilkes County in 1809 and 1817, respectively.

Did Daniel literally just disappear in life too?

I find his two known sons, both in Wilkes County, with Elijah’s marriage occurring in 1809 or before and purchasing land from his father-in-law, William McNiel, in 1810.

Perhaps the reason Elijah was willing to leave with the McNiel family for Claiborne County within the next couple of years is because both of his parents were gone, and his parent’s two families were estranged from each other.

Daniel’s son, Joel Vannoy, is found in Wilkes marrying in 1817 with Little Hickerson signing as his bondsman. Daniel probably rolled over in his grave – assuming he was in a grave someplace and not blissfully married in another state.

This certainly suggests that Joel Vannoy was close to the Hickerson family.

There’s are also other possibilities – more nefarious.

It’s not unheard of for vigilante justice to occur.

Maybe Daniel disappeared up in those mountains.

It’s rough, really rough, terrain. A body would never be found.

But given that Daniel sold both a slave and land, that looks like the less likely option – unless, of course, it was known that he had cash.

It’s apparent that Daniel was preparing to not live there anymore. What isn’t apparent is why his sons, ages 11 and 3, were left behind.

Daniel could also have committed suicide. I don’t ever recall people discussing things like that – but surely, they happened. Perhaps they were couched as accidents – suicides and murders both.

We know that Daniel’s grandson, Joel Vannoy, was mentally unstable and confined to an institution for some time. Was Daniel mentally ill too? Is that perhaps what happened to him in 1794 when he was in his early 40s? Are we witnessing a psychotic break from the distance of two+ centuries?

One thing is for sure, Daniel was one unhappy man in the last records we have of his life.

Then, he was simply…gone.

Daniel Vannoy's land from Blue Ridge Parkway

Overlooking Daniel’s land from the Blue Ridge Parkway.



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Triangulation in Action at Family Tree DNA

Recently, I published the article, Hitting a Genealogy Home Run Using Your Double-Sided Two-Faced Chromosomes While Avoiding Imposters. The “Home Run” article explains why you want to use a chromosome browser, what you’re seeing and what it means to you.

This article, and the rest in the “Triangulation in Action” series introduces triangulation at Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe, GedMatch and DNAPainter, explaining how to use triangulation to confirm descent from a common ancestor. You may want to read the introductory article first.

What is Triangulation?

Think of triangulation as a three-legged stool – a triangle. Triangulation requires three things:

  1. At least three (not closely related) people must match
  2. On the same reasonably sized segment of DNA and
  3. Descend from a common ancestor

Triangulation is the foundation of confirming descent from a common ancestor, and thereby assigning a specific segment to that ancestor. Without triangulation, you might just have a match to someone else by chance. You can confirm mathematical triangulation, numbers 1 and 2, above, without knowing the identity of the common ancestor.


Triangulation means that all three, or more, people much match on a common segment. However, what you’re likely to see is that some people don’t match on the entire segment, meaning more or less than others as demonstrated in the following examples.

FTDNA Triangulation boundaries.png

You can see that I match 5 different cousins who I know descend from my father’s side on chromosome 15 above. As always, I’m the background grey and these matches are all being compared against me.

I triangulate with them in different ways, forming multiple triangulation groups that I’ve discussed individually, below.

Triangulation Group 1

FTDNA triangulation 1.png

Group 1 – On the left group of matches, above, I triangulate with the blue, red and orange person on the amount of DNA that is common between all of them, shown in the black box. This is triangulation group 1.

I’ve overlayed additional triangulation groups below, so you can compare the groups.

Triangulation Group 2

FTDNA triangulation 2.png

Group 2 – However, if you look just at the blue and orange triangulated matches bracketed in green, I triangulate on slightly more, extending to the left. This group excludes the red person because their beginning point is not the same, or even close. This is triangulation group 2.

Triangulation Group 3 and 4

FTDNA triang 3.png

Group 3 – At right, we see two large triangulation groups. Triangulation group 3 includes the common portions of blue, red, teal and orange matches.

Group 4 – Triangulation group 4 is the skinny group at far right and includes the common portion of the blue, teal and dark blue matches.

Triangulation Groups 5 and 6

FTDNA triang 5.png

Group 5 – There are also two more triangulation groups. The larger green bracketed group includes only the blue and teal people because their end locations are to the right of the end locations of the red and orange matches. The start location varies as well. This is triangulation group 5.

Group 6 – The smaller green bracketed group includes only the blue and teal person because their start locations are before the dark blue person. This is triangulation group 6.

There’s actually one more triangulation group. Can you spot it?

Triangulation Group 7

FTDNA triang 7.png

Group 7 – The tan group includes the red, teal and orange matches but only the areas where they all overlap. This excludes the top blue match because their start location is different. Triangulation group 7 only extends to the end of the red and orange matches, because those are the same locations, while the teal match extends further to the right. That extension is excluded in this group, of course.

Slight Variations

Matches with only slight start and end differences are probably descended from the same ancestor, but we can’t say that for sure (at this point) so we only include actual mathematically matching segments in a triangulation group.

You can see that triangulation groups often overlap because group members share more or less DNA with each other. Normally we don’t bother to number the groups – we just look at the alignment. I numbered them for illustration purposes.

Shared or In-Common-With Matching

Triangulation is not the same thing as a 3-way shared “in-common-with” match. You may share DNA with those two people, but on entirely different segments from entirely different ancestors. If those other two people match each other, it can be on a segment where you don’t match either of them, and thanks to an ancestor that they share who isn’t in your line at all. Shared matches are a great hint, especially in addition to other information such as Phased Family Matching which we’ll talk about in a minute, but shared matches don’t necessarily mean triangulation has occurred, although it’s a great place to start looking.

I have shared matches where I match one person on my maternal side, one on my paternal side, and they match each other through a completely different ancestor on an entirely different segment. However, we don’t triangulate because we don’t all match each other on the SAME segment of DNA. Yes, it can be confusing.

Just remember, each of your segments, and matches, has its own individual history.

Imputation Can Affect Matching

Over the years the chips on which our DNA is processed at the vendors have changed. Each new generation of chips tests a different number of markers, and sometimes different markers – with the overlaps between the entire suite of chips being less than optimal.

I can verify that most vendors use imputation to level the playing field, and even though two vendors have never verified that fact, I’m relatively certain that they all do. That’s the only way they could match to their own prior “only somewhat compatible” chip versions.

The net-net of this is that you may see some differences in matching segments at different vendors, even when you’re comparing the same people. Imputation generally “fills in the blanks,” but doesn’t create large swatches of non-existent DNA. I wrote about the concept of imputation here.

What I’d like for you to take away from this discussion is to be focused on the big picture – if and how people triangulate which is the function important to genealogy. Not if the start and end segments are exactly the same.

Triangulation Solutions

Each of the major vendors, except Ancestry who does not have a chromosome browser, offers some type of triangulation solution, so let’s look at what each vendor offers. If your Ancestry matches have uploaded to GedMatch, Family Tree DNA or MyHeritage, you can triangulate with them there. Otherwise, you can’t triangulate Ancestry results, so encourage your Ancestry matches to transfer.

You can find step-by-step transfer instructions to and from each vendor, here.

I wrote more specifically about triangulation here and here.

Let’s start by looking at triangulation at Family Tree DNA.

Triangulation at Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA has two different tools that can be used separately in different circumstances to determine whether or not your segments triangulate.

Phased Family Matching can be used for triangulation.

The Matrix tool can be utilized for people who aren’t designated through Phased Family Matching as maternal or paternal matches to suggest or eliminate triangulation.

First, go to the Family Finder section of your personal page.

We’ll be working with Matches, the Chromosome Browser, and the Matrix.

FTDNA triangulation page.png

Phased Family Matching

At Family Tree DNA, I’ve tested my cousins:

  • Cheryl, my mother’s first cousin (1C)
  • Charlene, my first cousin once removed (1C1R) on my father’s side
  • David, my second cousin (2C) on my father’s side.

I’ve linked the test results of those cousins to my tree in their proper location, which allows Family Tree DNA to do something called Phased Family Matching.

If you don’t have a tree and don’t link your DNA results and those of your family members, Family Tree DNA can’t perform Phased Family Matching.

I explained phasing in the introductory article.

Testing your parents is wonderful if that’s possible, but parents aren’t always available to test. At Family Tree DNA, you don’t need to have tested your parents in order to have phased matches.

In essence, Family Tree DNA uses the DNA of known cousins, third cousins or closer, to assign matches to maternal or paternal tabs, or sides, also sometimes referred to as buckets. I wrote about Phased Family Matching here and here.

FTDNA triang buckets.png

You can see that of my 4806 matches, 1101 are assigned to my paternal side, 884 to my maternal side and 4 are assigned to both.

FTDNA triang header.pngFTDNA triang Charlene.png

My cousin Charlene is assigned to my paternal side, as shown by the blue icon, because I linked her to the correct position in my tree, as is my cousin, David, below.

FTDNA triang David.png

Conversely, my cousin Cheryl is assigned maternally because I linked her as well.

FTDNA triang Cheryl.png

These specific people are assigned maternally and paternally because I linked them to their proper place in my tree. These matches will allows Family Tree DNA to link other testers to the proper side of my tree too, because they match me and my cousin on the same segments – in essence phasing a large number of my matches for me which facilitates triangulation.

Linking Matches on Your Tree

In order to cause Phased Family Matching, aka, “bucketing” to occur, I linked my own test and that of my known 3rd cousins or closer to their proper places in my tree at Family Tree DNA.

If you don’t create a tree or upload a GEDCOM file and link yourself and your known matches, your matches can’t be assigned to maternal and paternal sides.

FTDNA triang tree.png

By utilizing the matching DNA between you and known close relatives on your maternal and paternal sides, Family Tree DNA assigns other people who match both of you on those same segments to the same side of your tree.

If you select matches from the same side of your tree and they match on the same segments, they triangulate.

Of course, that’s assuming the person doesn’t match you on both sides of your tree.

You can also download your matching segments in a file and sort to see who matches on the same locations, but the parental side designation (bucketing) is not reflected in the segment download file. Bucketing is reflected in the match download file which is a different file.

There are two separate download files, but they can be merged.

Two Download Files

The first file, your match download file, provides information about your matches such as their haplogroups, surnames and contact information, including bucketing assignment, but not the actual matching segment data.

The match file tells you a great deal and is both sortable and searchable. You can search for any surname, for example, or you can sort for everyone in the Paternal or Maternal matching bucket. You can creatively combine parts of this file with the matching segments file in order to quickly flag the people on your paternal side. Knowledge about how to work with spreadsheets is a plus.

FTDNA triang match file

Click to enlarge

This download is available at the bottom of the Family Finder match page.

FTDNA triang match.png

You can download all of your matches, or just those in a filtered view, such as in-common-with or as the result of a surname search.

FTDNA triang download.png

The second file, your matching segments file, is available on the chromosome browser page.

The matching segments file includes the match name along with the matching chromosome segments and number of matching SNPs.

FTDNA triang segment file.png

If you click through to the chromosome browser from your main page, as shown below, with NO MATCHES SELECTED, you will be able to download ALL matching segments.

FTDNA triang browser.png

You’ll see “Download All Segments” in the upper right-hand corner.

FTDNA triang download all seg.png

From that Chromosome Browser page, you will also have the ability to select matches to show on the browser.

FTDNA triang browser select

If you select people on the match page before clicking on the chromosome browser or select matches on the chromosome browser page, then clicking on “Download Segments,” will only download the matching segments of the people that you have currently selected to match against in the browser.

FTDNA triang download seg.png

Combinations of Tools and Filters

  • The chromosome browser tells you if people match you on the same segment.
  • The in-common-with filter on the match page tells you who you match in common with a specific person, but not if those two people match each other.

Of course, if both people are assigned to your same parental side bucket, and they both only match you on one large segment – and it’s the same segment, then you must triangulate.

If they aren’t both assigned to a parental bucket, then you can’t make that determination using parental side designations.

Is there a tool that allows you to compare people against each other at the same time to see if your matches also match each other?

Glad you asked.

Yes, there is.

The Matrix

Let’s say that you want to see if a group of people who you match also match each other.

FTDNA triang matrix.png

Family Tree DNA provides a Matrix tool that allows you to select 10 (or fewer) matches in order to determine if your matches also match each other.

FTDNA triang matrix match.png

I’ve entered Cheryl, Charlene and David. You can see that David and Charlene match each other, and Cheryl doesn’t match either Charlene or David.

Of course, we know that’s accurate because:

  • I already know these people and their relationship to me and each other
  • These three people are already assigned to maternal and paternal sides or buckets, so the matrix is verifying what we already know
  • I know where they match on the same segment on the chromosome browser

FTDNA triang 3 browser.png

Even though they match on the same segment on the chromosome browser, the fact that they are bucketed to different parental sides, and that the matrix shows that Cheryl doesn’t match either Charlene and David, confirms that David and Charlene triangulate with me, while Cheryl is not a member of that triangulation group.

This is exactly why triangulation is important. Looking at the image above, the only thing you know is that they all 3 match you – but with the additional information about bucketing and the matrix, we know that only the two bottom people, Charlene and David triangulate with me. Note that I’ve added the maternal and paternal icons for clarity.

FTDNA triang match group browser.png

However, if I didn’t have this knowledge, or not everyone was bucketed, the Matrix tool would be extremely useful. The matrix tool uses the matching threshold of approximately 7.69 cM.

The matrix doesn’t tell you if these people match each other on the same segment where they match you,

However, there’s a good probability that they do, especially if only one matching segment is involved.

You can check the chromosome browser to see if they both match you on the same segment. It’s possible if they don’t match you on the same segment that they match each other on different segments, and possibly through a different ancestor. You may need to reach out to them to ask if they match each other, and if they have known genealogy if they aren’t bucketed.

By utilizing the Matrix tool, you can isolate people to maternal and paternal sides of your tree.

Other Resources to Identify Common Ancestors

Be sure to check other clues at Family Tree DNA such as:

Shared surnames, shown on your matches page, with common surnames that you share bolded

FTDNA triang surnames.png

Trees, indicated by the blue pedigree icon on the match page.

FTDNA triang pedigree.png

Y and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups and matching. You can view your matches haplogroup and other information by clicking on their profile picture on your matches page.

FTDNA triang profile.png

Advanced Matching can be utilized to see if you match on combined tests, or in common projects.

FTDNA triang advanced match.png

This article discusses the 9 different autosomal tools available at Family Tree DNA.

What About You?

Do you have a tree at Family Tree DNA?

Have you connected your test and any family members to your tree?

Can you test a family member, third cousins or closer, or have them transfer a kit from another vendor?

Here’s how to transfer:

How many people do you have on your paternal and maternal tabs on your Family Finder matches page?

You can paint every single one of the people who are designated as maternal or paternal at DNAPainter to your grandparents on the respective maternal or paternal side. DNAPainter Instructions and Resources will explain how, and why.

Join me soon for similar articles about how to work with triangulation at MyHeritage, 23andMe, GedMatch and DNAPainter.

Most of all – have fun!



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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

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DNA File Upload-Download and Transfer Instructions to and from DNA Testing Companies

Upload download.pngSome of my most popular articles are the instructions for how to download your DNA files from the various vendors in order to upload and transfer your DNA files to other vendors to obtain more matches.

Now, I’ve put the instructions for all the vendors together in one place. Feel free to share with your friends, family and groups by posting the link to this article.

Why Upload?

People test at multiple vendors or transfer their files in order to:

  • Take advantage of unique features at each vendor
  • Match against people in each database that haven’t tested elsewhere
  • Benefit from the lower cost of transfers as compared to testing at each vendor

Transfers, also known as uploads, themselves along with matching is free, but more advanced features require either a full subscription (MyHeritage,) a monthly subscription (GedMatch) or a one-time unlock fee (Family Tree DNA or MyHeritage without a subscription.)

Vendors who welcome uploads and have a full suite of products are:

GedMatch is not a testing vendor. Customers only transfer files from other vendors TO GedMatch to use their tools, not from GedMatch.

Vendors who don’t allow uploads, meaning you must test there, are:

Download and Upload Instructions

Transferring your DNA consists of downloading your raw DNA data file from one vendor and uploading the file to another vendor’s system.

This process does NOT delete your DNA file or results from the original system. That’s an entirely different process, not related to a file download.

Here’s how to transfer – with individual steps for downloading from and uploading to each vendor:

How many new matches will you receive by transferring to each vendor?

Upload a Tree 

Every vendor, except 23andMe, makes use of your family tree, although 23andMe does allow you to link to your tree elsewhere. I link to my MyHeritage, because you don’t have to be a member to view my tree.

Trees from your own desktop software or other vendors can be exported or saved as a GEDCOM file, and uploaded to each vendor. If you already have a tree at the vendors, you’re all set.

If not, this article will help:

Also, don’t forget to link yourself and the tests you manage to your tree. Instructions for linking to a tree at 23andMe are included in this article too.



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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research