Tag Archives: DNA

Ancestry DNA — More Frustrating Than Useful?

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I actually got some interesting results through the test, however the whole structure of the website and how others use it is very frustrating.  How do I dislike Ancestry DNA let me count the ways.

  1. Private Players. These are the people who take the test and then put a lock on their family tree. This means they get the full view of my public tree, reap all the benefit of my research and my membership in Ancestry, but I can’t see how we are related through tree. Yes, I know I can message them and get access to their tree—do you know how few respond?!
  2. Stragglers (Just Along For the Ride). These are the people who are testing but post no tree at all. I first suspected that people were taking the test to prove paternity (al la Maury Povich Show!)—that was until I learned a paternity test kit was cheaper. Maybe these folks are helping out a relative to see if they match. Could be they got a Groupon and took the test for a hoot. More likely they are working on a family tree at home and just gleaning information from my test results and my PAID subscription to Ancestry.
  3. Extensive Review Time.  Ancestry dumps all the Private Players and Stragglers into my search results. I can’t just delete them—I have to open up each one. This took a couple weeks to get through all of the results.
  4.  Stupid Search. How stupid is the Ancestry DNA search function? So stupid… there is NONE! This means that you can’t type in a surname and bring up all the match results for that surname. Ancestry allows you to mark interesting results with a gold star or a note, but to find those interesting results again you have to scroll through pages of marked results and open the notes. Yes, it’s dumb.
  5. Hidden Markers. Ancestry doesn’t actually show you your DNA results or markers. It doesn’t even tell you for sure which ancestor is your match. On some of the matches I’ve seen there were 11 (ELEVEN!) surnames that matched and it’s anyone’s best guess which one is the DNA match or if it’s someone in my tree or the match’s tree we haven’t ID’d yet. Totally a pain in the sit-down region!

The best results have been through tenacious research. I’ve been getting feedback on the Pryor surname from others who have taken the Ancestry DNA test—one researcher who is definitely from the line of the Marion County Pryors  (Matthew Pryor back to Robert Pryor and Virginia Betty Green) has completely different than the test subject I submitted. So that line is not connected to the line of Nicholas Pryor of Henrico County. The jury is still out on Richard Pryor (and Mourning Thompson) line because of some of the issues noted above.

Has anyone else tested with Ancestry and would like to share with me which Pryors they matched to? Rather than leaving a comment on this post, contact me through the TN Pryor website http://www.tnpryors.com/contactus.htm


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Another DNA Match – Major John Pryor of Richmond

Hold onto your wigs and your tri-corn hats… it looks like we have another DNA match for the Tennessee Pryors to Colonial Virginia.  The frustrating part is that it looks like we’re missing someone from the family tree.

The Match – The new cousin is Mary Pryor who married Robert Quarles.  The good news is that we know exactly who this Mary is and who are her siblings. She is the sister of Major John Pryor of Richmond (read post about his time line).  The Major’s name may ring a bell for you in connection with the story of his wife, Anne Beverly Whiting, running off with her French tutor and becomming the mother of explorer John C. Fremont.

This means that we need to consider his place as a descendant of Nicholas Pryor b. 1688.

I’m a bit shocked because I was hedging my bet that Major John was connected to the family of Col. Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton.  Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised because Major John Pryor had a Jeffersonian connection as well as other connections to other prominent Virginia families. We know that our other Pryors who were in Albemarle and Amherst Counties were also connected to Jeffersons family, one of them even marrying Jefferson’s sister. (read post about Jeffersonian connections).

Father: ___________________? Deceased by 1787
Mother:___________________? Alive in 1787, possibly remarried.
Child 1: Major John Pryor born 1750, married Anne Beverly Whiting and Elizabeth Quarles Graves.
Child 2: Mary Pryor, married Robert Quarles
Child 3: Sally Pryor, married Mr. Taylor, daughters: Elizabeth Taylor, Rebecca Taylor
Child 4: Elizabeth Pryor, married Mr. Hankins, sons: Archer, William, Romert, John, and Pryor Hankins of James City, VA.
And nieces whom I have not yet matched to their parents:
Dorcas Bryan
Charlotte Morrison (of Williamsburg, Va.) born 1790 – Probably Charlotte who married George F. Morrision who was on the 1830 Census in York Co. Charlotte was age 60 on the 1850 Census in York Co. On the same page of the 1850 Census there is a free-African-American family headed by Pryor Jackson and his wife Dorcas Jackson.
Elizabeth Hazelwood

I’ll keep digging. Let me know if you know how Major Pryor fits into the family tree!

DNA and Marriage Connections

MarriageIt’s amazing how identifying the Pryors gets easier when the connections become clearer. In my last post (William Pryor of Amherst County – Do We Have A Name For His Mother?) I discussed uncovering a possible link between the Pryor and Laffoon families of Goochland County. So many wonderful connections have popped up in my research over the weekend– I hope that sharing will spur your own research.

An interesting connection came out my family member’s DNA results. We’re distant cousins (1st cousin 6x removed) of  Ann Pryor, daughter of John Pryor and Mary New. I theorized in a past post (The Patriarch: Tracing Nicholas Pryor) that John was the son of my ancestor Nicholas Pryor. John the older brother of David and William Pryor was born in about 1689, not too long after Nicholas was recorded as a Headright in Goochland County.

There have been NO DNA matches between the “other” Pryors in Goochland County… that’s the line of Col. Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton who go back to Robert Pryor and Virginia Betty Green.  That means that the Pryors in Amherst, Albemarle, Cumberland Counties in VA are probably not related to this other line. It also means that the Pryors in Nashville, Sumner County, and Overton County in TN are not related to the Pryos in Marion Co., TN.

Two Wrights… This weekend I looked at William Pryor of Amherst Co. He gave a statement about his service in the Revolutionary War with his brothers John and Nicholas (I know many people get tired of me mentioning this but it’s a good way to ID which William I’m talking about). William married Elizabeth Wright. Ann Pryor (daughter of John Pryor and Mary New) married John Wright. William and Ann Pryor were first cousins. I wonder if the Wrights were kin to one another?

Captain Ellis and the Pryors… In looking at Wrights I found that William’s wife Elizabeth Wright was the daughter of Isaac Wright and Susannah Ellis. I haven’t placed Isaac yet (really I haven’t worked on it), however I found that Susannah was the daughter of Capt. Charles Ellis and Susannah Harding. If you go back to my last post you’ll see that William’s father (William who was married to Margaret) sold land to a William Harding in 1751. And Captain Ellis is tied to the Pryors through their military service: William, Nicholas and a Richard Pryor all served under Ellis.

Initial DNA Results on Sumner, Overton, and Virginia Pryors

I used to start blog posts alerting Sumner County Pryors to new finds in my family tree.  After creating my theory of how my Sumner County (and Overton County Pryors) connect with Pryors in Amherst,  Henrico, Goochland, and other Virginia Counties… I need to find something more encompassing. Perhaps alerting folks to an update to Nicholas the Headright family tree?

So anyone related to Nicholas Pryor who entered Virginia in 1688 I have some NEWS.

Recently one of my relatives took a DNA test.  We got some interesting results.

First, we found that our tree connects with a cousin Nancy L. Childress.  Nancy L. was the niece of Abraham Childress.  Therefore she was also a cousin of the Miss Childress who married David Pryor a son of Nicholas Pryor.  This is big news because it helps to support my theory that our Pryor line is descended from Nicholas, David and Miss Childress.

I went back and looked at relationships in the family tree.  Let’s consider this… when John Pryor and his wife Massie and his brother William and  his wife Spicy came to Sumner and Overton Counties in TN, they were living near their relatives who were settled in Nashville.  David Pryor and wife Susannah  Ballow of Nashville were the Uncle and Aunt of John and William Pryor.

I think that’s pretty stunning.  David and Susannah’s daughter Mitchie married President Thomas Jefferson’s brother.  Mitchie’s son John Randolph Jefferson (1816-1845) is buried in Nashville City Cemetery (view his tombstone).

I’m not letting this Jefferson connection go. There’s also a family tree I’ve reviewed that suggests our Pryor line has a DNA connection to Peter Jefferson.  Now I’m wondering where the “other” Jefferson marriage is in our family tree! Perhaps Nicholas’ wife Susannah was a Jefferson or his grandson John (father of the Sumner/Overton  John and William) married a Jeffereson?

Always another Pryor mystery to solve!

Mystery of the Finley-Pryor Line

Can we solve another Pryor mystery?

There are at least 3 descendants of Matthew Pryor who migrated from North Carolina and settled in Marion County, Tennessee who have done the latest DNA testing to confirm their relationship. For one of them the results were quite a surprise because their family name wasn’t Pryor at all! I’ve received some terrific photos and a request for help from this researcher.

Charlie Finley, from the Marion County PryorsHer ancestor Charlie Finley (or Findley) was born January 15, 1880 in Wright County, MO. His parents are unknown. Although he was born before the date of the 1880 Census, Charlie Finley has not yet been found on the census. Family folklore is that Charlie went to live with Erasmus Findley after his parents died. Erasmus is on the 1870 and 1880 Census in Wright Co. In 1870 Helen McCain Pryor, widow of Philip Pryor, and her sons were also living in Wright County, MO.  However other than knowing they were kin to Matthew Pryor of Marion County, TN, it is unknown how or if Philip’s children were connected to Charlie Finley.

An interesting little piece of information: William Pryor, son of Matthew Pryor of Marion Co., TN was living in Finley Township, Greene Co., MO in 1850. Is this clue to the connection of the Pryors and the Finleys?

Charlie migrated from MO to Texas. He was counted on the 1900 Census in Red River County, TX:
Pct. 2., page 61b, John W. Dowell Sept 1866 33 TN MO TN
Martha wife Feb 1871 29 MS MS MS
Velma dau Sep 1891 8 TX
William son May 1894 6 TX
May dau Sep 1896 3 TX
Charlie Finley laborer Jan 1880 20 AR IA MO

Charlie married Minnie Maud Dowell on 24 Oct. 1900 in Red River Co., TX.  Charlie and his family were counted on the 1910 and 1920 Census in the same county. His children were named Chester Guy, Opal, Ira, Charles, Ida