Blog Archives

Generations Shown in Pryor AncestryDNA Testing

Another observation came out of the Ancestry DNA. The first test submitted was for one of my kids. They were a willing subject and it seemed like a keen way to find out more about BOTH sides of their family tree. After a productive telephone chat with another researcher I decided to submit my own test.

What a difference a generation can make! My results included matches that weren’t even in my daughter’s results.

FTDA’s Family Finder autosomal test projects results back to 5 generations. AncestryDNA claims results may show results back to 8 generations, but their own graph shows how little common DNA they’re working with at that point. https://www.ancestry.com/dna/learn

One of the testers who descends from William and Spicy Pryor can claim them as their 5th great grandparents. They are separated by 7 generations. The hope of shedding light on their connection to earlier generations which may include kin of Edmund Taylor, Elizabeth Garrett, or any Pryors is quite slim.

There’s a couple ways to make AncestryDNA work for research.

Not just a concept from my results (you’ll hear others online make this recommendation). Test yourself AND also test your oldest relatives.

When looking at your results zero in on matching test who are the LEAST number of generations from your most distant relative you’re searching. For example, the test I mentioned above claims William and Spicy as their 5th great grandparents. Other kits claim them as 3rd and 4th great grandparents.

Ancestry rates their matches as Extremely High, High, Good and Moderate. I found that testers who were connected to a common 3rd great grandparent were “Extremely High” but when comparing to a tester who shared the same ancestor, but at the 5th great grandparent distance, our relationship was rated as “Good”. None of the results on my now long and slightly unwieldy chart were rated as “Moderate”.

So I pass on this cheeky advice: if you’re old or have an even older relative… test ’em!

 

 

Follow Up To Identifying L M Pryor from Tennessee

I heard from Pryor researcher Nova Lemmons, sharing that there’s a grave site for the Dr. Daniel McPhail mentioned in a 2014 post (read post).  It’s kind of reassuring that well over a hundred and fifty years ago Dr. McPhail’s remains made it back from Mexico for burial in Tennessee. The tombstone states he was born in Scotland.

Nova asked if I had found out anything new about the L M Pryor who’s  name was on Dr. McPhail’s box. When I wrote the post in 2014 I suggested that perhaps Dr. McPhail was friend or family of the Pryors and McPhails in Williamson County, TN. I’m thinking that’s the case. An even earlier post from 2009 also connects Dr. Daniel McPhail to the Pryors in Williamson County, TN through the marriages of Sarah Pryor.(read post). Like Dr. McPhail, Sarah’s husband Angus McPhail was from Scotland.

The Find A Grave memorials are linked incorrectly.

  • The grave for Dr Daniel McPhail is correct, however he’s connected to the wrong mother.  Mary A Carter can not be his mother because she was born over 30 years after Dr. McPhail was born. Nova pointed out that there’s large probate file for Dr Daniel McPhail from 1846 in Williamson County, TN. His widow is recorded as Sarah C McPhail, so Mary A. isn’t the doctor’s mother nor is she his widow.
  • Dr. Daniel McPhail died in 1846 (The inventory of his estate is dated November 1846). The notice in the newspaper (above) states he died in Mexico. The Mexican War began in April 1846, so if his grave marker is correct he died within the first couple months of the war. Nova did some digging and found that McPhail was a surgeon for 1st TN Infantry in Cos. F and S.  He died at Matamoros on 13 Jul 1846 (one says 10 Jul 1846). The Nashville Tennesseean reported on 8 Jun 1846 that Dr. McPhail of Franklin had been appointed as surgeon in Colonel Campbell’s company.

Mary A Carter was married to a younger Daniel McPhail, rather than Dr. Daniel McPhail.

  • In 1860 Angus McPhail (widow of Sarah Pryor) was counted on the the US Census in Washington County, TX. Daniel McPhail born 1824-1825 was the head of household.
  • On the 1860 Census Daniel’s probably wife was recorded as Mary.
  • This younger Daniel McPhail returned to Williamson County, TN and was counted in that county in 1870 and 1880. His father’s place of birth was stated as “Scotland” on the 1880 Census, so either Angus or Dr. Daniel could have been his father.
  • Although Daniel born 1824-1825 is on the 1870 census in Williamson County, he wife wasn’t counted in the household. The grave marker for Mary McPhail in Franklin City Cemetery states she died in 1869 which certainly would explain her absence from the census. Her marker states she was the wife of Daniel McPhail – I think her Find A Grave memorial is linked to the wrong Daniel McPhail.

So who is the L M Pryor who appeared on Dr. McPhail’s box? I think he may be one of the Williamson County Pryors – Sarah Pryor married a Carter as did the younger Daniel McPhail, Sarah married Angus McPhail, and Angus was living with the younger Daniel. Luke Pryor of Williamson County is probably Sarah Pryor McPhail’s brother. His probate file is dated 1848, so perhaps he became ill or died or both before he could arrange return of Dr. McPhail to Tennessee. Other than Luke, I don’t have any other suggestions.

Pryor and Taylor Marriages Cloud AncestryDNA Results

I’ve created a mega chart of Pryors from AncestryDNA kits. These are the Pryors in Sumner County and Overton County, TN. I will share what I’ve found in a few posts. I’m going to follow the same guidelines I used as admin of the male Y-DNA project through FTDNA– I won’t divulge test names, names of the testers, or other identifying info. I will refer to refer to dead people, most of whom passed more than 50 years ago.

A few years ago I started off with one test from a descendant of Allen L Pryor b. 1816 and tried to figure out how it matched with others. One of the worst methods of searching was searching by the surname Pryor– it picks up on all Pryors many of whom have no relationship to you (that’s me!).

Gradually more descendants of Allen L Pryor have tested. Tests matches include descendants of his children John Edward, Betty, Annie, and Lycurgus. What’s especially splendid is that Ancestry predicts the same generation distance as predicted through paper research.

Using the Autosomal Ancestry DNA test to match up people only goes so far because of all the marriages between lines. For instance, there’s a test that can matches to Allen’s projected sister Louisa. It’s helpful in matching her to the Pryor line until you look down the list of Louisa’s descendants and realize they married into the same Taylor family as the Taylor grandparents of both Allen and Louisa. This means the match can be for Pryors or Taylors or both.

There are now AncestryDNA tests for descendants of the children of William Pryor and Spicy Taylor who lived in Overton County. They match to tests on the Allen L Pryor side of the tree. However, Allen’s parents were John Pryor and Massey Taylor, the known sister of Spicy Taylor. So are the tests matching on the Pryors or Taylors or both?

See how the marriages between lines can cloud things?

 

 

 

 

 

Cincinnatus Pryor of Elizabeth City, VA

88Cincinnatus Pryor signature
It looks like there’s a new Pryor or Prior (it’s spelled both ways on documents) for the family tree. Ancestry.com has added records of applications to the Military Academy at West Point, NY. They include an 1825 application for a cadet named Cincinnatus Prior who is described as the son of General Prior of “the late war”. I think that would make him a son of Brazure Williams Pryor who fought in the War of 1812.

One glowing letter of recommendation in the file states Cincinnatus was a scholar at the Hampton Academy and was accomplished in English, Latin, Mathematics, Geometry (including Euclid’s Elements), trigonometry, and his courses included elementary chemistry and geography.

A letter of application signed by Cincinnatus Pryor states his age and place of birth which fits with Brazure’s marriage to Elizabeth Antoinette DeNeuville in 1807.

January 12, 1827. Addressed to the Secretary of War…  was born in the State of Virginia and now reside in the Borough of Norfolk and State of virginia. My age is Eighteen and my character and qualifications will appear from the recommendations of Wm Thos. Newton, Capt. E. P. Kenedy, Mr. John Tyler, Genl John Floyd, and certificates of my teacher Mr. Wm Ewing which were enclosed to you last year.
{signed}

Cincinnatus Pryor

Brazure Williams Pryor died in April 1827, so it’s possible that Cincinnatus didn’t make it to West Point. However if you do a search of Google books there’s a government publication that states he was dismissed from the Navy in about 1832. Wait a minute… Navy? I though he was applying to West Point!