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“The greatest history book ever written is the one hidden in our DNA.” 
                                                                                  —Dr. Spencer Wells

"We declare at the outset that we do not make any positive assertion that anything we shall say is wholly as we affirm it to be. We merely report  accurately on each thing as our impressions of it are at the moment."                         --Sextus Empiricus

  

About this Family History

Many years of intense research have yielded a database that is a major source of genealogical information on most of our families. Some people have been included to show relationships only and are not well documented. This occurs most often where I have not personally researched the family or individual or where information about them is readily available in the public domain -- especially presidents and royalty. Unlike some genealogists, I sometimes cite internet and personal sources that may lack evidence, and I include alternative data. My reasoning for this is that I have often benefited greatly from clues found in undocumented sources and I believe every genealogist should have the same opportunity to analyze, evaluate and apply logic to every bit of information available, using his or her own skill set. Therefore, I do not withhold anything that might be of value to a future researcher. By including my sources, I invite everyone to evalute them for themselves, recognizing that there is no such thing as "proof" in genealogy. One will always find conflicting information -- or no information -- that forces us to make judgments regarding the validity of our assumptions. I have also added a number of collateral lines in an effort to establish a broad database for DNA testing.

My sincere thanks go to all those who have contributed valuable information that has added to our knowledge of our family -- you know who you are! For confidentiality purposes, I have omitted all details for living persons (or those for whom I have no knowledge of death).

Here you will find notable relatives -- Mayflower passengers, Revolutionary War participants, presidents, kings, queens, knights, and more. But you will also find many more ordinary folk -- farmers, blacksmiths, ministers, soldiers, sailors, butchers, postmen, and undertakers. Virtually all came from England, Holland or Germany and settled in New England or New York. We thank them all for their courage and determination. We are their legacy.

Genealogy is a never-ending study, and I am always thrilled to find new information. All comments, suggestions and corrections are welcome, but please help me preserve the integrity of my data by furnishing sources.

Good luck in your quest!

Recent Changes

Thanks to John Cardinal, creator of Second Site, the former Pop-up Pedigree is now a full-fledged 4-generation family tree that provides more information about a person's lineage, including his or her siblings, spouses (partners), and children. As always, you can click on any name to be taken to that person's page. I have also added the last-changed date to each person's page. While such changes may or may not be signficant, they may be useful. For example, the lineage of Mary Catherine Shirts, one of my great grandmothers, now is much better defined, and more accurate, as a result of recent research.

A Word about Navigating this Site

To orient yourself, you may want to visit the Charts section first. Just click on the Charts tab (above), then click on any of the chart titles that interest you. Or use the Search Form by clicking the Search tab above. Or check the Surnames (top left alphabet block) or Master Index. Find the surname in which you are interested and browse the entries. Names such as Adele of France or Louis III where no surname exists are indexed as surnames. By contrast, females whose birth surnames no doubt exist but are unknown are included under the heading Unknown. An asterisk (*) attached to the first name signifies that this person is an immigrant to America, usually the first person in a line to leave the country of origin. Notice that I have used icons, as follows:

picidx A tiny head means that at least one photo is available for this person.

picicon A camera beside a photo means there is another photo for this person.

iconmilitaryy An American flag means that this person served in one of America's wars.

iconroyaly A crown means that this is a head of state, usually either a person of royalty or a president of the United States.

iconimmigy A globe means that this person was the first in his or her line to immigrate to America.

docicon A document means that a story, certificate or other item can be viewed by clicking.

 There are links to photos, charts and people throughout, so be sure to experiment. Anything underlined is a link. Every time you click on a link, it will take you to a new page, a different person, a chart or even another  website. I hope you will enjoy browsing my site. It is my privilege to make it available to you. If you use my data, I hope you will first validate it (and let me know if you find errors), then credit this site.

If you use the Google search box (on the bottom of every page), it will direct you to the page(s) where the item can be found. Click on that link, then use CTRL F to find the specific item on that page.

What's Next? The World of Genetic Genealogy

You should know that DNA surname studies are underway to solidify my research and that of others for the names Worden/Warden/Werden, Southard/Southworth/Southwood, Tipple/Teeple and Willour/Wheeler (and all similar spellings). In addition, a geographic DNA study launched in January 2008 is specifically designed for the descendants of Palatine emigrants, most of whom settled in the Hudson Valley in 1710 on their arrival in America. I founded all of these projects and am the project manager for all except the Palatine project which I no longer administer. I welcome any questions. All interested parties are invited to visit our websites and see the results as well as pedigrees. Simply click on any of the links below to the World Families Network and to Family Tree DNA, the company that processes our DNA samples. It is important to find more males who carry these surnames to take part in the studies. I encourage all living males, especially the oldest or last in a line, to have their DNA tested, regardless of their surname. (Reduced prices are available if you join a project at FTDNA.) 

Beyond surname testing, everyone can now trace his or her maternal direct line (mother to her mother to her mother... to her mother). While finding matches (that is, genealogical ties) to the maternal line is somewhat more difficult, mtDNA testing is one more way to extend our family trees.

In addition, we now have access to autosomal DNA testing, which allows us to find distant cousins -- up to 6th or 7th level and sometimes even beyond. atDNA is inherited from both parents but it recombines in each generation. Each of us inherits approximately 1/2 of our DNA from each parent, 1/4 from each grandparent, 1/8 from each great grandparent, etc., but the actual DNA contained in each fraction is randomly selected, which accounts for the differences among siblings. If two people have both inherited some amount of the same DNA on the same chromosome, we can assume they are related to each other. This does not tell us how they are related, but we can now focus our research on comparing the two family trees to find surnames in common.

Knowledge of our ancient past, before surnames were adopted and records were maintained, is also expanding at an explosive pace, with much of the credit due to DNA testing being done by all of us who serve as "citizen scientists." The Map of Our Ancient Origins included here is from a press release issued by IBM on November 2, 2011. It reflects the latest thinking about the paths our ancestors took out of Africa so many years ago. To view the map, click on the Places tab above, then scroll to the bottom of that page. Check my blog, below, for new findings in the amazing world of genetic genealogy.

Of course, there are medical, forensic and other uses for DNA testing. This website and our DNA projects do not consider these other unique applications. My focus is on genetic genealogy.

 If no one in the family is interested in genealogy today, you can be certain a future descendant will be eternally grateful for your foresight. Learning about one's family history is a fascinating hobby whose popularity is increasing rapidly. DNA testing provides us with the genetic signatures of our ancestors and helps us expand our family trees as well as our knowledge of the lives they lived and the places they traveled. It can ultimately bind genealogy and history together.

Finally, please be sure to write me if I can answer any questions or if you can help me make my database better (more complete, more accurate, etc.). Comments and suggestions are always welcome. Just click on my name at the bottom of any page to send me an email. 

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