Tag Archives: DNA

Criminal Cases: John/Jonathan Pryor of Sumner County

sheriff-badgeMurder Conviction, 1860

In 1860 JOHN PRYOR was counted on the Davidson Co., TN Census. He was 30 year old, born in TN, and in the State Penitentiary in Nashville. The book “Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary by Chuck Sherrill states “Jonathan Pryor was received on March 12, 1860. Convicted of “malicious stabbing” in Sumner Co. and sentenced to 3 years. Age 30. Occupation none. Birthplace Tennessee. Discharged January 2, 1863. Released under the Act of 1863.

In prison ledger 86, number 2128. Additional information for prison ledger 87: Born and raised in Overton Co. Father dead. Mother and one sister, wife and three children live in Sumner Co. One sister and three brothers in Overton County.

Additional records obtained on this John Pryor has caused me to look again and the possibilities of who were his kin.

John’s wife and children are the easiest kin to explain. The divorce record for this John Pryor reveals that his wife was Eliza Beasley and that she filed for divorce in 1860 (Sumner County) because he was incarcerated.. Eliza was counted on the 1860 Census in Sumner Co. The divorce record states that Eliza and John only had one child. Two more children appear to be from John’s first marriage to Ellen Lee: William E. Pryor and Mary Pryor. These children were living with the Mays family in 1860.

An additional suit that names this John Pryor confirms he was AKA Jonathan Pryor, confirm the identity of his first wife, and it confirms his children (see post Sumner County: Jonathan Pryor Who Was in Nashville Penitentiary)

A far as other kin, first let me explain who I think aren’t his parents. I don’t think this is John Pryor, son of James and Nancy Pryor of Overton County.  This other John Pryor was the father of Mary Ellen Pryor born September 1862 to Candis Malone–since this was well into John Pryor’s prison term it probably rules him out.  The children of James and Nancy had no known connections to Sumner County, which also helps to rule them out.

Why don’t I think this John Pryor was a son of John and Massey Pryor? A Jonathan Pryor age 25 was living with Massey Pryor on the 1850 Census at the same time that this John/Jonathan was counted as a head of household with wife Ellen Lee. There’s always the possibility that John/Jonathan was counted twice, however I have to think the census is correct unless there is evidence otherwise.

One scenario, and it’s the one I’ve thought to be correct for some time,  John Pryor is a son of Spicy and William Pryor of Overton Co., TN. This kinship can be explained by census records and the relationships stated in the prison record. First if William was his father, he was deceased by 1860 (he was not counted on the 1850 Census). His mother, Spicy, was counted in 1850 in Overton Co. with a Phereba Pryor in the household. Phereba may be the sister referred to in the prison record as she is counted in 1860 living close to Massy Taylor Pryor in Sumner Co. The sister and three brothers living in Overton Co. were probably Mary Pryor, wife of Loderick Garrett; Edward Pryor, Overton Pryor, and Chesley Pryor.

But wait a minute…

I’m keeping an open mind because as we discovered in 2014 (PRYOR DNA RESULTS: Part 2 William Pryor and Spicy Taylor of Overton County, TN), Chesley Pryor is likely not a genetic child of William and Spicy Pryor. Would John have counted him as a brother? I think because Chesley was integrated into the family as a brother, whether he was adopted or the product of an affair, John would have counted him as a brother.

 

Status of FTDNA Pryor DNA Project

dna testing 2On 9/25/15 I un-volunteered as the administrator of the Family Tree DNA Pryor project. The project started as a fascinating experience — many great Pryors who were interested in their genetic genealogy and I had results that helped to define my own Pryor line. So why did I decide to leave?

There are loopholes in how the FTDNA projects are structured and secured. I was not provided the tools, assistance, and cooperation to fix these issues. Also, these issues have caused me to remove the test kits I purchased.

My understanding is that FTDNA will appoint a new administrator shortly. If you have any queries about a test kit or if you are interested in testing, please contact the project administrator (a FTDNA staff member is the temporary contact) listed on the FTDNA Pryor “website” https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/pryor/about. Please do not contact me as I have no affiliation with the project nor will I recommend testing.

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Another Pryor Y-DNA Match: News for GA, TN, and VA Pryors

Working GA MapSome big news for some of the Pryors — there is a new Y-DNA test result. This is a tester who can trace their lineage to Edward Pryor of Wilkes Co., GA.  I hope that piques your attention because Edward Pryor is quite a nice find. His son, John, is Patriot ancestor used by researchers for admission to the DAR. If John was an adult at the time of the Revolution how far back does Edward go?–Maybe pretty far back because he signed his will in 1796 (see will).

Thank goodness for an Edward Pryor because it’s refreshing not have to search for another John, William or Samuel!  I’m very interested in the Edward Pryor recorded in Henrico County, VA. Could he be the Edward Pryor in GA?

1. A Nicholas Pryor processioned the land of a Abraham Childress in Henrico County per a 1736 vestry entry.

2. In 1746 David Pryor, deceased, was recorded in Goochland County Records as having sons John and David. Abraham Childress was appointed guardian of the young David.

3. An Edward Pryor was named on a 1757 Vestry record with Lemmy Childers (another spelling for Childress), also in Henrico County.

I’m open to the possibility that this Edward Pryor is connected to Nicholas Pryor (a Nicholas Pryor was deceased by 1746 when a Susannah Pryor was appointed administratrix of his estate in Henrico County). In 1741 John Shoemaker’s deed stated his land in Henrico County was adjacent to “Nikolas Pryor” on Deep Run. In 1754 Edward Pryor was recorded on a deed between Richard East and William Buxton, stating Edward’s land was on Deep Run.  And Edward was still there in 1760 when he was recorded as the owner of land adjoining land William Price.

Time to get down to the results of the Y-DNA test.  The tester for Edward Pryor’s line connects with the tester from William Pryor of Campbell County, VA and Overton Co., TN on 12, 25, 37, 67, and 111 markers. They are a 105 out 111 marker match which according to FTDNA’s infomation, they are related within 7 to 12 generations. (see FTDNA chart)

The tester for Edward can trace their family tree 8 generations to Edward. The tester for William can trace their family tree 6 generations to William and with speculation, two more generations to John who may be the orphan of David Pryor who died in about 1746. Please note these are not family trees carved out of solid stone, but are meant to be guidelines for further research.

 

PRYOR DNA RESULTS: Part 2 William Pryor and Spicy Taylor of Overton County, TN

from the book "The Orphan," published in Edinburgh, Scotland 1841

It’s been so hard to find testers I feel blessed that we actually had two male Pryors test for the line of William Pryor and wife Spicy Taylor at the same time. Two Pryor DNA testers and two very different results.

The first tester is who I’ve referred to in my prior post (no pun intended) as Tester #3. He is descended through the line of Overton Pryor, the first born son of William and Spicy.

The second tester is descended through Chesley Pryor, named presumably for Chesley Taylor a brother of Spicy Taylor. Chesley Pryor was the last known son of William and Spicy. Chesley was living at home at the time of the 1850 census and was counted in the household of Spicy Taylor.

It was surprising, but not stunning, when this second tester didn’t match to the other tester for William Pryor’s line. The second tester didn’t have any Pryor surnames in his results on FTDNA.com, so that casts strong doubt on whether he’s descended from a Pryor line.

Some time ago a female Pryor, descended from Chesley, did the autosomal DNA test on Ancestry.com (aka the “Ancestry DNA” test).  One of my kids took take the same test. While I  had several hits on Taylors and Garretts (the line of Spicy Taylor and her sister Massey Taylor), my test didn’t match to this female tester. Regardless of our Pryor ancestry, if we were related, we should match on our common Taylor ancestors: Spicy Taylor and Massey Taylor.

The male Y-DNA tester for William/Chesely’s line ALSO took the same autosomal test. His only Pryor match was to the female tester mentioned above.

So we  have a male Y-DNA test and a autosomal test from the line of Chesley Pryor who doesn’t match the other Y-DNA test for William and Spicy, nor does he match known autosomal testers for  John and Massey. One of the first questions we asked was where the break in the Pryor DNA line occurred — Did Spicy have a child with another man? If Spicy was Chesley’s mother then despite who his father was, Spicy’s DNA would be passed down through Chesley.  The autosomal tests indicates Spicy’s DNA is not likely passed down through this line.

So that means there are at least two intriguing scenarios of who Chesley was and who his children were. The first scenario is that William and Spicy took in a foundling or orphan. The autosomal tests would indicate that this child was not related to either adoptive parent. The child was integrated into the family and given a family name: Chesley.

It would be odd if the break came during the time of Chesley. The male Y-DNA tester is from the line of Chesley’s 1st son Parker while the female autosomal tester was from the line of Chesley’s 3rd son John. These sons were 6 years apart in ages with another son in between (Charles Lavander). John was not on the 1860 census, but was in Chesley’s household on the 1870 census. That would mean that children were adopted from the same parents over time. That can happen, but it seems to be of a lower probability than the first scenario.

If Chesley’s children were not fathered by Chesley, there are several possibilities and some work would need to be done to figure things out.

  • The female autosomal tester could find someone descended from Chesley’s son John to take a Y-DNA test. That test may show if Parker and John were fathered by the same person.
  • They could find a Y-DNA tester from the line of Chesley’s other son, Charles Lavander Pryor. This is a “wild card”. Perhaps that tester would match the tester for William and Spicey’s line. Perhaps this tester would match the Y-DNA tester for Parker Pryor.
  • The tester for Parker Pryor could upgrade his Y-DNA test to see if he matches at a higher level to a different surname on FTDNA.com. He could also post his test results on Ysearch.org to see if he matches other testers who’ve tested through other companies.

The Overton County Pryors are not alone in the tales of orphans in Pryor households. Families shrunk in size due to a cholera epidemic and a generally high mortality. Census records seem to show young Pryor males living and doing farm work in other households. The Pryors in Overton County didn’t own slaves, so perhaps taking in children helped with getting the farm work done. William and Spicy’s marriage was recorded in the Quaker Marriages in Virginia, so perhaps taking in children was part of their Quaker beliefs. The scenario of taking in orphans may also explain William Pryor b. 1820 who was recorded among the Pryors, Taylors, and Talleys in Sumner County. Were William and Chesley boys that the Pryors took in and raised as their own?

Regardless what is done with further DNA testing, Pryors  who descende from Chesley Pryor will want to dig deeper into the paper trail. Gather together your family birth records, death records, and wills to see who is named and how they are named.  It’s time to re-check court records for adoptions or guardianship agreements. There’s an explanation out there!

(Top of page: illustration from the book “The Orphan,” published in Edinburgh, Scotland 1841)

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Ancestry.com Cuts 2 DNA Tests – How to Transfer DNA Data

On 6/5/2014 Ancestry.com sent out an email to users to announce that they are discontinuing the male Y-DNA tests and female mtDNA tests. They will not longer be selling these tests. They will no longer be offering support for these tests and the way I understand it — in September if you’ve paid for a test you will no longer be able to see your matches.  It will all be gone.

ancestry-060414

Please note this email said their AncestryDNA product WILL continue to be sold and supported.

People who’ve tested through Ancestry have the option of downloading their male Y-DNA tests or their mtDNA tests and moving them to another company.  Apparently in response to the Ancestry announcement, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA.com posted special discounted pricing for  people who want to move their DNA data to FTDNA.

ftdna-offer

If you decide to continue your Pryor DNA research by moving your data to FTDNA, it’s recommended that your join the Pryor surname project where you can compare your test results with other Pryors in the project.  Here’s the link to join the surname project and order a transfers (33 marker and 46 marker test transfers are at the bottom of the page).

https://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?&group=Pryor&vGroup=pryor

I’m the administrator of the FTDNA Pryor project. I am not a DNA expert, however if you have questions on which FTDNA product to select or how the transfer process works, please feel free to contact me.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD YOUR TEST ON ANCESTRY

1. Login to your Ancestry.com account (Do not use the Google Chrome browser as AncestryDNA web pages have problems working on that browser)

2. In the top menu select DNA and click the Y-DNA and mtDNA link

3. There’s an orange button in the center of the screen that says “Learn about the new test” scroll past that. On the right side of the screen you’ll see “Download all Y results” and “Download all MtDNA results”. Select the link for the test you would like to download.

4. When you click the proper link a file will download onto your computer. Save it to a folder where you can find it again on your computer. This is the file you will UPLOAD to FTDNA.com.

WHAT TO EXPECT WITH A DNA DATA TRANSFER

It may take a few weeks for your transfer to complete at FTDNA.com. While waiting, be sure you have done your basic genealogy research: order your birth certificate, father’s birth record and grandfather’s birth record (go as far back as the records are available). Order death records for your male Pryor line and marriage records.

So, now you’re waiting for FTDNA and perhaps for some records– take the time to be sure your profile is complete on your FTDNA account. Look on the left side of your profile — does it confirm you’re in the Pryor project? (it’s an orange link)

When FTDNA has completed processing your transfer, your test results will be compared with other tests in the project and placed in a family sub-group. It’s likely that if your test matches to someone in the group, you will be contacted by other testers to welcome you into the group and to facilitate the exchange of family tree information. 

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