Ancestry DNA and William Pryor of Sumner County, TN


It’s time to make some comments on DNA testing. While it may not be the end-all for determining relationships; it can help to shine some light on who is related to whom and point to a direction for further research. Finding out that the surname you’ve been searching may be a “detour” may be disappointing however it shouldn’t detract that we are part of a family’s story and shared in the journey of that family. Rather than exclude us it shows more clearly how we became included!

So what’s new with the Pryors? We have perhaps a clearer picture of the family William Pryor of Sumner County, TN who died en route to the California Gold Rush in the 1840’s.

A male Pryor who can prove his line back to William tested several years ago via an Ancestry Y-DNA test. His kit was a VERY distant match to other Pryors from the known line of Allen L Pryor of Sumner County.

This was a bit of a surprised because William’s grand-daughter Willie Pryor was referred to as “cousin Willie” after she married Thomas W. Gregory whose first wife was Allen L. Pryor’s daughter, Bettie.

When I went back to working the chart for my Pryor autosomal DNA results I discovered there’s an Ancestry DNA kit for William’s line. They are a descendant of Thomas W Gregory and his second wife Willie Pryor. They are a very high match to my test and they also match to other known Gregory tests.

So who do they match to with the Pryors, Taylors, and Talleys? That’s where it gets to be interesting. There are 12 tests that are very clearly matches to these lines. Willie’s descendant matches up with only one of the 12 tests (the tester is a ggg-grandson of Allen L Pryor).

From the male Y DNA testing there was a low expectation that a descendant of William Pryor would match to the Pryors and Taylors, so the results are pretty much as expected.

HOWEVER, Willie Pryor’s mother was suppose to be a Talley and a sister of Elizabeth Talley who married Allen L Pryor. I’d expect a match to the kits among the 12 that are descended from Allen L Pryor and wife Elizabeth Talley. There is still only that one lone match.

Where does the break in the DNA lineage occur? Was Willie not a daughter of a Pryor and a Talley? Possibly not. If her mother had an affair then she would still match to some of the Talley kits, so results so far indiate her mother wasn’t a Talley.

Some fodder for research.