A Wedding photo, but who is the bride and groom?

Although WDDP member Dale Francis Davis, from Ellendale, ND, left us in 2015, his collection of family photos lives on. A photo from this collection was discovered by his son but it comes with a mystery. Lend your thoughts to this mystery and see if you can figure out where the problems originates.

This is the photo that was known in Dale’s family as the “wedding photo of Dale’s parents.” Dale Francis Davis was born in 1929. Dale’s parents were Orin T. Davis and Josephine (Sherman) Davis.

Wedding pic 2
But the caption on the back says, “…taken in 1851” 

On the back of the photo is the caption, “…taken in 1851. ” Can you see the problem? Dale Francis Davis was born in 1929.

If the photo was of Dale’s mother and father, it couldn’t have been in 1851, since Dale’s parents, Josephine and Orin Davis, weren’t married until 1907. They weren’t even born until 1876 and 1889.

Trying to determine who is in the photo is all dependent on accuracy of the date chosen by the person who wrote the caption.

If Dale Francis’ mother, Josephine Sherman, wrote the caption, she wouldn’t have seen the photo until after 1907, at age 18, when she married into the Davis family. That was about 56 years after the date listed on the photo.

Does the woman in the wedding photo look like this more recent photo of Josephine (Sherman) Davis?

Davis pic 1951
Dale Francis Davis and his mother, Josephine (Sherman) Davis, abt 1951.

A mystery, for sure. But luckily, one that was solved.

Turns out the date in the caption was a mistake. The photo was analyzed by an historical expert and was determined to be from about the year 1910. That was about when Dale Francis Davis’ parents, Orin T. Davis and Josephine Sherman, were married, in 1907.

So the story handed down, that this was a photo of Dale’s parents at their wedding, was correct.

Why the caption says 1851 is the mystery.

Perhaps 1851 was the date of someone else’s wedding, grandparents or great-grandparents, or a couple from the other side of the family, and the captionist confused them.

Perhaps they were subtracting incorrectly? Perhaps incorrectly estimating when the marriage should have occurred?

A handwriting mistake? Declining memory of an older relative? Confusing an older marriage with the more recent marriage date?

We might not ever know the reason for the incorrect date, but it is corrected now for all future generations.

We, of course, have all our photos carefully labeled with name, date, place and relationship, right?


New Y-Match

StantonHoffmanDavis,AlfredU,1917New Member’s ancestor: Stanton Hoffman Davis, Sr., Alfred U. yearbook, 1917

We have a new match on our Davis Y-line, thanks to Tim Davis, of Maryland, who donated his sleuthing hours and funding of the test.

This new member of our William Davis DNA Project is a young man who lives in San Diego, whose father was born in Michigan and whose grandfather was Stanton Hoffman Davis, born 1925 in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Our new member’s great-grandfather was also named Stanton Hoffman Davis, but he was Dr. Stanton Hoffman Davis. This senior Stanton Hoffman Davis was born in 1894 in Alfred, New York and attended Alfred University. See his yearbook entry above.

Stanton Hoffman Davis Sr. later went to Yale Medical school and became an Obstetrician. Although Stanton Sr. died in 1980 in Texas, he lived in Plainfield, New Jersey while his children were growing up.

Alfred University, College founded by the Seventh Day Baptists

Stanton Hoffman Davis Sr.’s father was Rev. Boothe Colwell Davis, born in 1863 in WV and died in 1942 in VA.
Rev. Boothe Colwell Davis might be a name you recognize. He was the President of Alfred University from 1895 to 1933. Alfred University is a non-sectarian college founded by the Seventh Day Baptists in 1836 in Alfred, New York.

Davis Memorial Carillon, for Dr. Boothe Colwell Davis, built 1937
Davis Memorial Carillon, built in 1937 for Rev. Boothe Colwell Davis
A carillon is a musical instrument consisting of at least 23 cast bronze cup-shaped bells which have been precisely tuned so that many bells can be sounded together to produce a harmonious effect. -https://www.alfred.edu/map/carillon.cfm

Our new member’s Davis line descends from William1 Davis and Elizabeth Pavior via their son James2, still the only child of William and Elizabeth whose living descendants we have been able to locate and test.

Starting at the top of the tree, the line goes from James2 (and Judith Maxson) to Jacob3 (who lived in New Jersey with wife Mary S. Davis), then to Jacob4 (who married first, Prudence Maxson and secondly, Sarah Hoffman).

Jacob4’s son was Samuel5 Davis who was born in WV (married Elizabeth Fitz-Randolph). And Samuel5’s son was Rev. Boothe Colwell Davis.

Rev BoothColwellDavis1933
Rev. Boothe Colwell Davis,  1863 WV-1942 VA, photo abt 1933

So these Davis ancestors were part of the Davis group who left New Jersey in 1789 and traveled through PA on their way to settle their new town of Salem, VA (now WV). And, after living in WV and attending Alfred U. in NY, Dr. Stanton Hoffman Davis moved back to NJ again. Back to where his Davis ancestors lived for 45 years.

The entire 10 generations in chronological order
William1 Davis and Eliz Pavior (RI, NJ)
James2 Davis (NJ) and Judith Maxson (NJ, WV)
Rev. Jacob3 Davis, Sr. and Mary S. Davis (NJ, WV)
Rev. Jacob4 Davis and Sarah Hoffman (NJ, WV)
Rev. Samuel5 Davis and Elizabeth Fitz-Randolph (WV)
Rev. Boothe Colwell6 Davis and Estelle Winchester Hoffman (WV, NY)
Dr. Stanton Hoffman7 Davis, Sr. (NY, NJ, TX)
Stanton Hoffman8 Davis, Jr. (NJ, TX)
New member’s father9 Davis (Michigan)
New Member 10 Davis (San Diego, CA)

IdaKenyon, JonathanAllen,1875-1876, AlfredUniversityPicturesque Steinheim Castle on Alfred U. campus,
built by Ida Kenyon, completed by Jonathan Allen, 1875-76

So, welcome new member! You come from a distinguished line, amongst many distinguished Davis family lines!

See our new member’s Y-test results, compared to results of our 27 current Davis members, at FTDNA’s Davis DNA Project site.  Our Davis subproject is “Davis, William, K87577.” Scroll down to the dark maroon banner.

Wonder if you’re a DAVIS?

YlineIf you are wondering if you, too, might be part of the extended Davis family, there are two tests you can take. To positively prove the Davis surname line, the Y-test, only for males, is essential. It is indicated by the blue line in the graphic above that represents our haplogroup, I-L160, or I2a1b in old vernacular.

autosomal testBut to discover if you are a dna cousin to proven Davis family members on more than just the Y-line, you can do so with the autosomal test, which both men AND women can take. The autosomal test will find matches to Davis family descendants on all your ancestral lines, not just your paternal surname line.

In the graphic above, potential matches are ALL the people, both males and females, on all lines. Autosomal tests are offered by the major companies FTDNA, AncestryDNA and 23andMe. Chromosome segment information withheld on Ancestry tests can be revealed by transferring results to FTDNA or Gedmatch.com.

If you’re considering testing, I urge you to do so. It’s a lot of fun! Since we have many Davis descendants proven by Y-tests, you can see if you match any of them autosomally. This doesn’t positively prove a Davis relationship, but it is a good step towards that conclusion.

Looking forward to finding where our Davis family will turn up next.



15 Nov. 2015.

Two days ago I sent out 39  8×10 envelopes with “do not bend” stamped all over them.
They were going out to our current members of the William Davis DNA Project.

Enclosed in those envelopes is (finally) a certificate of membership to our William Davis DNA Project. Please check your mail (Your real mail. Look for a box outside your house someplace) for it. If you don’t receive one in the next few days, please let me know.
If you have moved in the last year, your certificate might go to post office limbo and I will endeavor to get another to you if you let me know where to send it. If you feel that you should be a member by virtue of a relationship to someone who has tested but you have not received any certificate, please contact me.


These 39 envelopes represent 27 testers and 17 of their family members, with some envelopes carrying two certificates going to two family members.


Our Davis group appears to be spread out from the East coast to the West coast. (There were no WDDP members in Hawaii or Alaska and none in foreign countries.)

Among our group, which zip code do you think had the highest number of Davis family descendants?
For the counters among us, here’s the break down:

[1st number of zip code/ = number envelopes mailed there]

0. zip code 0xxxx=3 envelopes mailed
Massachusetts: 1
Vermont: 1
New Jersey: 1
1. zip code 1xxxx = 6 envelopes mailed
NYC: 1
New York State: 5
2.  zip code 2xxxx= 6 envelopes mailed
Maryland: 3
West Virginia: 2
North Carolina: 1
3. zip code 3xxxx= 2 envelopes mailed
Georgia: 1
Florida: 1
4. zip code 4xxxx= 7 envelopes mailed
Ohio: 4
Michigan: 2
Indiana: 1
5. zip code 5xxxx=6 envelopes mailed
Wisconsin: 3
Minnesota: 2
North Dakota: 1
6. zip code 6xxxx=3 envelopes mailed
Kansas: 2
Missouri: 1
7. zip code 7xxxx= 1  envelope mailed
Texas: 1
8. zip code 8xxxx=1  envelope mailed
Arizona: 1
9. zip code 9xxxx=4  envelopes mailed
California: 3
Washington: 1

It looks like the state with the most William Davis DNA Project members or family is New York state with 6 members. Ohio comes in second with 4 members. I’m not sure that we can extrapolate any conclusions from such a small cross-section of Davis descendants, but it would be interesting to do a larger study to see if any one state has more Davis descendants than another and see if the states where Davis ancestors originally settled correlate to how many live there now.

I hope you enjoy this attempt to create an “official” recognition of your descent from Seventh Day Baptist Reverend William Davis. I hope you have fun sharing it with other family members at Thanksgiving.
Have a wonderful holiday.

Best wishes,
Jan Davis Markle


Gil Markle, Jr. abt 1977
Dr. Gilbert Scott Markle 7 July 1940- 20 March 2015

It is with great sadness that I share the news that we have lost another of our William Davis DNA Project members, this one close to my heart. My oldest brother, Dr. Gilbert Scott Markle, a legend in his own time, has passed away. He died March 20, after a brief illness, at the age of 74.

Gil had that undefinable quality of charisma that attracted everyone, each person feeling that he or she was the special one in the spot light of Gil’s attention. As a result, Gil had scores of people, from all walks of life, who revered him. (See the many Legacy guest book posts and Gil Markle Facebook posts.)

Gilbert Scott Markle was the oldest of three children, all born in New Jersey in the 1940’s, but he was was actually a Davis by blood. The name change came about innocuously, an undocumented adoption. Gilbert Scott Markle’s father, also Gilbert, was born a “Davis” on his Manhattan, New York birth certificate. But Gilbert Sr.’s father, Charles Davis, died shortly after the birth, and, as was the custom at that time, Gilbert Sr. was unofficially adopted by his mother’s second husband, Willis Markle. From then on, Gilbert Sr. carried the surname Markle, passing it down to his children.

The name Davis wasn’t the only thing lost when Charles died. Gone too was any documentation proving who Charles was or where he was from. So in early 2007, Gilbert Scott Markle became the first tester for the William Davis DNA Project. Gil was genetically proven a DAVIS, and a descendant of Rev. William Davis, by his Y-DNA tests that matched the many Davis testers with documented Davis ancestries. All the testers showed the same haplogroup, first I2a, which later became I2a1b, and now is known as I-L160. After 7 years of Y matches, and meeting many interesting Davis cousins, the search for Gil’s grandfather, Charles Davis, turned to autosomal testing.

Through autosomal testing and using adoption search methodology of the DNAadoption.com group to search for this Davis ancestor, several clusters of autosomal matches have been discovered which are all related to the Davis family tree.

One cluster of over 20 separate match lines descends from a single ancestral Davis couple, born in 1740 in NJ. Another large cluster of matches centers around the ancestral surname MAXSON, which is a common Davis family surname. A third cluster of matches centers around Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, about 5 miles from Shrewsbury, NJ, which, if you know the William Davis history, is the area where the Davis clan moved to in 1744 from Rhode Island. Another cluster of matches also centers around Fayette County, PA, which is the area where the Davis clan settled for a year or so, on their way from NJ to Salem, West Virginia in 1789. And, as expected, another cluster of matches, surprisingly a small one, stems from West Virginia where we know a good portion of the Davis family finally settled.

Any of these clusters of matches may eventually lead back to the one ancestral Davis couple whose child was Charles Davis, born in 1870. We have great hope that future, and hopefully closer, autosomal matches will lead to these unknown Davis ancestors, and ultimately to Charles, himself.

Carrying the name Markle instead of Davis seemed to have made no difference to Gil’s life trajectory. Gil’s life was so full of accomplishments, it was enough for several lives. He was Valedictorian of his high school class, despite graduating a year before his own age group. He was a Fulbright scholar and attended the Sorbonne. He was a PhD in Philosophy from Yale, a tenured professor of philosophy at Clark U., the founder and head of two educational travel companies, ALSG (American Leadership Study Groups) and Passports, and founder of Long view Farm, a recording studio in North Brookfield, MA. You can read about his life’s accomplishments and escapades in the two obituaries below and in the writings that he left behind on his websites.

My oldest brother, Gilbert Scott, entrepreneur, visionary, icon, philosopher, engineer and writer, may have passed on, leaving loved ones behind to miss him, but his DNA still resides at the testing company and its pattern is still generating matches, from both Y and now autosomal tests. Considering all that he accomplished in his life, it is fitting that his DNA would continue to accomplish results after he is gone. RIP, dear brother, knowing that the ancestral secrets lying patiently within your chromosomes will eventually be unveiled.

~Jan Davis Markle

See Diary Of a Studiowner (www.studiowner.com) for Gil’s autobiographical and academic writings.

See Legacy Guest Book (76 posts) and Gil Markle on Facebook.

Obituary, Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Mar. 21 to Mar. 22, 2015, http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/telegram/obituary.aspx?n=gilbert-markle&pid=174452624#sthash.tmSEksbs.dpuf

Dr. Gilbert Scott Markle
SPENCER – Gil Markle passed away on March 20th at his home in Spencer after a brief illness. He was 74.Gil enjoyed a distinguished and unusually multi-faceted career in academia, in educational travel and in the recording industry. He was a Fulbright scholar, a tenured professor of philosophy at Clark University, founder of the American Leadership Study Groups (ASLG) and creator of Long View Farm recording studio in North Brookfield, Mass.Gilbert Scott Markle was born in Jersey City, N.J. [ed’s note: should say: Englewood, NJ], on July 7, 1940, son of the late Gilbert J. Markle and Constance Gates Markle. Gil is survived by his loving companion of more than 30 years, Kathy Mueller; his daughter, Abigail Stayart, and her husband, Andrew, of Chicago, IL; his son, David Markle, and his wife, Karolina Markle, of Shrewsbury, Mass.; two grandsons, Benjamin and Roark Markle, also of Shrewsbury; and two grandchildren soon to be born to Abigail, whom he was looking forward to meeting. He is also survived by his ex-partner, Nancy Wilcox, mother of his two children; by his brother, William Markle, and his wife, Viki, of High Falls, NY; and by his sister, Janet Markle, and her partner Bryce, of Petaluma, Calif.After graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1961 with a degree in physics, Gil went to France as a Fulbright Scholar to receive the first of two doctoral degrees, a Doctorat d’ Universite from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He later received his second PhD in the philosophy of science from Yale University in 1968.To earn extra money in Paris, Gil took American students on tours through France. This experience convinced him that leading American high school students on educational tours of Europe might be a good business model.Soon after his return to the US in 1965, Gil founded ALSG, which grew to become one of the leaders in the American educational travel industry. From the late ’60s through the late ’80s, ALSG’s headquarters were at Worcester Airport, where over 50 people worked day and night to ensure the company’s success. In the early ’90s, Gil founded Passports, ALSG’s successor company in the same industry. Passports continues to be a highly successful and innovative sponsor of educational trips overseas.As a professor of philosophy at Clark University from 1966 through the mid-70s, Gil became famous for the size of his classes. This was a testament to his popularity and teaching skills, and, as was written at the time, to his “exciting and compelling approach to teaching academic subjects utilizing a mixed media compilation of tape recorders, slide projectors, live actors and a miniature computer.” Gil was clearly ahead of his time. Several of his students, who later became well-established in the field of film and video production, remarked recently that they owe their careers to Gil Markle.

Perhaps the accomplishment of which Gil was the most proud, and for which he is best known, was his creation of the world-renowned Long View Farm recording studio. Gil purchased the 150-acre horse farm in North Brookfield as a residence in 1973. The recording studio began as a hobby, Gil remarked, “but then the hobby got out of hand.” Surveying his newly-created, state-of-the-art recording facility, located on one the most beautiful pieces of real estate in central Massachusetts, Gil decided to make it available professionally. The rest is history.

Starting in 1974, many of the top recording artists in the world came to call Long View their home, including The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens, Arlo Guthrie, Aerosmith, Stuff, The J. Geils Band, Don McClean, Pat Metheny, Graham Nash and John Belushi. More at studiowner.com.

Gil loved the beaches of Tobago and Cape Cod; his many dogs and cats; black & white movies, and most especially, reading. At 74, Gil continued to be involved in his student travel business, and enjoyed re-mastering recordings for his many musician friends. Upon learning of Gil’s passing, many of his friends have remarked that they had rarely known a more kind and generous man.

A few years ago, reflecting on why a hugely popular teacher would leave a tenured position at Clark University, Gil confessed to having become bored with teaching. “My career took a decided left turn after I bought Long View Farm,” he reflected. “I rejected the warm, comfortable career offered by a tenured faculty position and hit the sidewalks again. Besides,” he added, “ALSG was exploding into a multi-million-dollar company, and I was tearing apart a 100-year-old farmhouse called Long View. I felt I didn’t stand to better my record by continuing, so I stepped off at the top of the curve.”
Just as he did on March, 20, 2015.

There are no calling hours. Burial will be private, at the convenience of the family. A celebration of Gil’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Castle Restaurant in Leicester, Mass.

Obituary, Bergen Record, NJ (http://www.northjersey.com/obituaries/top-obituaries/gil-markle-who-grew-up-in-tenafly-and-made-mark-in-rock-and-roll-dies-at-74-1.1303983)

Gil Markle, who grew up in Tenafly and made mark in rock and roll, dies at 74

April 7, 2015    Last updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 6:48 AM

But Mr. Markle, who died March 20 at age 74, would make a mark in the recording industry. While teaching philosophy at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., in the early ’70s, he bought a 150-acre horse farm in nearby North Brookfield and turned its red-painted, century-old barn into a recording studio.

“It started as a hobby,” said his brother, William, adding that Gil had become intrigued after recording a James Taylor concert on the Clark campus. “But he soon realized he could rent out the studio.”

That he did. Mr. Markle — already financially successful from an educational travel company, American Leadership Study Groups, that he founded — made his secluded Long View Farm available to some of the biggest names in rock: Cat Stevens, Arlo Guthrie, the J. Geils Band, Aerosmith, Don McLean and, most famously, the Rolling Stones.

The Stones considered Long View Farm a home away from home after they stayed there for six weeks in 1981 to rehearse for a 40-city American tour promoting their No. 1 album “Tattoo You.”

“Before the Stones would come to North Brookfield, we had to build them a full concert stage, one that would allow Mick Jagger to jump and leap about,” Mr. Markle told At Rensselaer, his alma mater’s magazine. “We had only three weeks to build it, including installing all the wiring for the sound equipment and lights. It wasn’t easy, but we did it.”

The Boston Globe reported Mr. Markle hired guards to keep a lid on the groupies who gathered around the farm’s picket fence at all hours. The Stones were appreciative of his efforts and touched by the hospitality. As a thank you, they previewed their tour with a secret show at a club in Worcester; they billed themselves as the Cockroaches and invited Mr. Markle and his staff.

Gilbert S. Markle’s family history may have foreshadowed his niche in the recording industry. His father, Gilbert J. Markle, was an NBC Radio engineer; his mother, Connie Gates, was a radio singer who performed with Benny Goodman’s band.

Yet Mr. Markle initially chose a scholarly path. He obtained a pair of doctoral degrees — in history and the philosophy of physics from the Sorbonne, and in philosophy from Yale — and was a professor at Clark for six years.

Then he bought a horse farm and befriended the Stones. He owned Long View Farm until the early ’90s.

Mr. Markle died of cancer at home in Spencer, Mass., said his brother, of High Falls, N.Y. He also is survived by his longtime partner, Kathy Mueller; two children, Abigail Stayart of Chicago and David Markle of Shrewsbury, Mass.; a sister, Janet Markle of Petaluma, Calif., and two grandchildren. A celebration of life is planned for May 16 at Castle Restaurant in Leicester, Mass.

More on LongView Farm and Gil’s transition from academia to recording industry in this interview by Wanda F. Fischer, “Gil Markle ’61: A Live-Wire Ph.D.”, The Rensselaer Alumni Bulletin, April 1982, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dale Francis Davis
6 March 1929 – 17 January 2015

It is with sadness that we learn that we have lost one of our senior William Davis DNA Project members.
Dale Francis Davis, of the Benjamin Davis and Anna Lowing line, has passed away on Jan 17, 2015. He was 85 years old.

From all the William Davis DNA Project members, we send deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife, his children and their families. There are many to miss him: besides his wife and children, he had 24 grand children, 10 great grand children and 1 great, great grand child.

For more about Dale Francis Davis’ past, see the story of his Davis ancestry posted on the William Davis DNA Project website on Nov 26, 2013.

Obituary Dale Francis Davis
(Courtesy Davis & Schaefer Family Tree)

Dale Francis Davis was the ninth child of ten born to Orrin T. and Josephine (Sherman) Davis.  He was born March 6, 1929, in Ellendale, ND, and lived there until he was 13 years old.  He then moved to his sister’s farm (Bill & Pearl Harrison) in the Forbes, ND area to work.

In 1951, Dale entered the US Army and served two years in South Korea during the Korean War, where he was a motor sergeant on the front lines.
On July 3, 1956, Dale married Janet Schaefer and they bought his sister Cora (Fudge) Foist’s farm southwest of Ellendale, where they lived and had four children.  After selling the farm, they bought the Circle Bar in Ellendale in June of 1975 and renamed it “Dale’s Corner Corral”.  During this time in the bar business he was instrumental in bringing the PRCA Rodeos to town, which were enjoyed by many.

He married Margaret “Cook” Mikkonen on September 26, 1987.  After 22  years of working in the bar, Dale and Cook sold the bar in 1997.  Over the next several years Dale held jobs as grounds keeper at the Ellendale Country Club and taking care of the Ellendale City Parks and Ellendale Cemetery before finally retiring in 2009.  Following retirement, Dale continued to work at home planting flower gardens around the house; he was never one to sit still for more than a few minutes.  On May 1, 2014, he entered Prince of Peace Care Center, where he remained until his death.
Dale loved to work in the garden, watch rodeos and play cards.  He especially enjoyed visiting with family and friends.

Dale was preceded in death by his parents, six brothers:  Charles Davis, Warren “Shorty” Davis, Eugene Davis, Alfred Davis, Vernon Davis and Donald Davis; three sisters:  Cora (Fudge) Wahl, Pearl Harrison and Elsie Juencke; one niece, Janice Shuck; and one nephew, Thomas Davis.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret “Cook” Davis of Ellendale, ND; his children:  John Davis of Ellendale, Sherry (Mike) Bice of Aberdeen, Brenda (Shannon) Morris of Deadwood, SD, Kristy (Duane) Hegge Aberdeen, Tina (Blaine) Anliker of Chigiak, AK, Sonya (Jason) Beyer of Blaine, MN, Patrick (Carrie) Mikkonen of Mt Vernon, SD, Rheiff (Kim) Mikkonen of Rapid City, SD and Heather (Matt) Sylvester of Cambridge, MN; 24 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Obit card 1(To enlarge, click twice)

Obit card 2

Photo captions (top L, counterclockwise):

Dale, on leave from the army, with his mother, Josephine Sherman

Dale, on one of his many horses

Dale, growing a beard for the Ellendale Centennial, 1982

Dale, in nursing home for broken leg, about 2013

Dale and wife, Cook, at her son’s wedding, about 2000

Dale, at daughter Kristy’s wedding. L to R: son John, dau Sherry, Dale, dau Kristy, Cook (Dale’s wife), dau Brenda.

More Photos

MoonAndDaleFrancisDavisDale Francis Davis, on R (Courtesy Davis & Schaefer Family Tree)

DaleFrancisDavisKorea1951Dale Francis Davis, Korea, 1951
(Courtesy Davis & Schaefer Family Tree)

Racine, Wisconsin, 1860, 12 miles from Caledonia, home of Job Greene Davis -Courtesy Wisconsin Historical Society

Hello Davis descendants, cousins, family, researchers and interested followers,

We have received two new Y-test matches for our William Davis DNA Project since the last post. One a 67-marker test and the other a 12-marker test- they both match the standard signature of our William Davis DNA results, that of I-L160, known in old vernacular as I2a1b. This brings us to 26 Y-testing members who all match each other. Each of these 2 testers has a sister who is managing the test, so that means we have four new cousins!

Ancestors of the new matches

Both our new matches are descendants of a common ancestor, Job Greene Davis, who was born in 1799 in NY.

Job and his wife, Susan Money had 8 children and our two new matches are descendants of two of their sons: Samuel Parker Davis, born 1841 New York and Jerome Ahira Davis, born 1843 New York.

Around 1855, Job Greene and Susan Davis traveled 719 miles from Otselic, Chenango County, NY to Caledonia, Waupaca County, Wisconsin, a village 20 miles south of Milwaukee on the west coast of Lake Michigan, showing up enumerated on the 1860 census with their three youngest children. The Davis and Allied Families (Descendants of Seventh Day Baptist, William Davis) web site says that they made the trip in a covered wagon.

schooner1Might they have traveled in something like this?

In 1860, Samuel Parker Davis would have been 19 and, at the time of the 1860 Caledonia, Waupaca, Wisconsin census, his younger brother Jerome Ahira was 16, Eugene 14 and the youngest, Mary Ann “Amy,” was 12.  The four older siblings, 3 daughters and Nathan, were married by 1860. One older daughter, Julia, married in 1854 and stayed behind in Otselic, NY, but the rest all relocated to Wisconsin with their families.

Nathan Rogers Davis, older brother of Samuel Parker and Jerome Ahira, was listed on the same 1860 census in a separate household next door to the Job Green Davis family, also next to the Babcocks (Nathan’s wife’s parents), next to the Moneys (his mother’s family) and other extended family. Apparently they came as a group, probably all looking for the fertile farm land that Wisconsin was promoting to encourage new settlers.

Between 1860 and 1875, older brother Nathan died in 1863, leaving a widow and three children, younger brother Jerome Ahira served in the Civil War and returned to marry Eunice Dickinson and have 3 children (and later remarried Charlotte Butler and had four more children) and parents Job Green and Susan died in 1869 and 1873.

According to the Davis and Allied Families web site, Job and Susan died of black small pox and, for fear of contamination during the epidemic, their house was burned to the ground and they were buried away from the local cemetery. Their grave stones were found covered with dirt in a cornfield (“…literally dug up”) by Glenna Maria Davis Johnson and her family.

          S-Job Davis4     S-Susan Davis
Gravestones of Job Greene Davis, died 1869 and Susan Money Davis, died 1873
-Courtesy Davis and Allied Families

From Samuel Parker Davis to Samuel Peter Davis to Stuart Edward Davis

But where is our other Y-tester’s ancestor, Samuel Parker Davis, in 1860? Not to be found until he shows up on the 1870 census with his wife Eliza Garrow, and the first two of their three children, 137 miles north, in Mukwa, Waupaca County. This was the New London area of Wisconsin, named so by the first settlers who came from New London, CT.


By 1880, Samuel Parker Davis has relocated back south to Dayton, just West of Milwaukee, and is listed as a farmer, with 3 children, one of which is our tester’s ancestor, Samuel Peter Davis, 2 years old.

Four years later, Samuel Parker Davis, who had been a farmer, died early, at age 43. His son, Samuel Peter, was only six years old. Samuel Peter Davis later married Inez Schachte and they moved to Superior, Douglas County, Wisconsin, 389 miles north of Dayton where he made his living as a plumber.

SamuelPeterDavis1878WI-1962WISamuel Peter Davis, Marjorie and Inez Hildegarde 001crop
Samuel Peter Davis, Inez Hildegarde Schachte, and daughter Marjorie
Courtesy Mary Lee Davis La Blanc

Samuel Peter Davis and Inez had two daughters and a son, Stuart Edward Davis.

Stuart Davis with sisters Dorothy and MargeCROPStuart Davis with sisters, Dorothy and Marge
Courtesy Mary Lee Davis La Blanc

Perhaps because Stuart grew up in the Great Lakes coastal town of Superior, as an adult he chose to work on the Great Lakes for the Interlake Steamship Company. He worked on the lakes from March through much of December and, according to his daughter, loved his job. Stuart Edward and his wife Margaret McDonald, also had 3 children, one of whom was our tester.

StuartEdwardDavisCropped1911-1981Stuart Edward Davis, 1911-1981
-Courtesy Mary Lee Davis La Blanc

-Courtesy of the Interlake Steamship Company

From Jerome Ahira Davis to Orson Jerome Davis to Walter Orson Davis to Glenn George Davis

JeromeDavis AfterCivilWar
Jerome Ahira Davis, after the Civil Wall, New London, Wisconsin
-Courtesy Davis and Allied Families

The oldest son of Jerome Ahira Davis, Orson Jerome Davis,  married Stella Kent and had 6 children. They lived in Caledonia and then Mukwa, Wisconsin. Orson’s occupation is listed in 1930 as a farmer on a general farm at home. Orson Jerome Davis and Samuel Peter Davis were first cousins. Did the 307 miles between Superior and Mukwa affect how much they stayed in contact?

Orson Davis StellaKentFamily
Orson Jerome Davis, Stella (Kent) Davis and children: Chester, George, Jennie, Walter, Hazel and Doris about 1906. -Courtesy Davis and Allied Families

Walter Orson Davis, Orson Jerome’s first son, was born in 1891 in New London, Wisconsin and he died there in 1954. On the 1930 census, Walter was listed as a dairy farm laborer and in 1942 he was self-employed. In 1940, he and his family are living in Royalton, Wisconsin, only 12 miles from Mukwa, where Walter’s father, Orson Jerome, had moved in 1895.

WalterDAVIS&FannieHENRYWedding1917Walter Orson Davis and Frances (Henry) Davis,
wedding photo, 1917
-Courtesy Davis and Allied Families

Walter Orson married Frances (Henry) Davis and they had 6 children, one of which was our tester’s father, Glenn George Davis, born in 1929.

Glenn Davis familyGlenn and Nancy (Eckstrom) Davis family, Sugar Bush, WI, abt 1959 with tester and tester’s sister
-Courtesy Davis and Allied Families

If this line is sounding familiar, it’s because we had a tester early on in our project history who also descended from Walter and Frances (Henry) Davis. This early tester was the son of Ward Rexford Davis. Ward was the older brother of Glenn George Davis, so our current 67-marker tester is a first cousin to our earlier tester. The father of our current tester and the father of our earlier tester stand next to their sister in this family photo.

Walter Davis family, abt 1942. Front: Walter Davis, Lois, Fannie (Henry) Davis. Back: Kenneth, Ward, Verna, Glenn, Donald

-Courtesy Davis and Allied Families

Comparison of Results

Both our new testers’ results match the results of all our previous members of the William Davis DNA Project, indicating that they are both descendants of the original William Davis. See how the markers match up in our William Davis K87577 subgroup on the Davis Surname Project website.

Unfortunately for our analysis attempts, one of our new matches, the descendant of Samuel Parker Davis, is a 12-marker-only tester so we won’t be able to make any astute comparisons between them. Actually, the 12-marker tester also tested two additional markers as part of the advanced testing process, so it was more accurately a 14-marker test.

One interesting aspect of the results was that the 67-marker tester, the descendant of Jerome Ahira Davis, showed double values for his DYS #385, an unusual occurrence, which our Davis Surname Project Administrator says, is not unknown and “happens sometimes.” What are double values? Simply that the tester shows 4 results instead of 2 results on the marker DYS #385 (“10-11-12-12” instead of “11-12”). Its significance is that this tester is, according to the testing company, probably “genetically unique,” unless another male on his line has the same mutation.

Both new testers show the exact same values on the 14 markers that they both tested, except for the double marker values. This was fairly expected since the testers are “third cousins, once removed.”
That means, three generations ago, their ancestors were siblings. (The “once removed” means one line is separated by four generations.)

If third cousins test almost the same, you’d expect the tests of the two first cousins to be exact duplicates, wouldn’t you? But our 67-marker tester is 2 steps of genetic distance off from his first cousin, the earlier tester. The double marker values at DYS 385 counted as one step off and they also had another marker with one step genetic distance.

So our 67-marker tester matches closer to Hank Raymond Davis, kit #151841 (and Hank’s two identical matches), with only 1 step off (that step being his double markers). Our tester is closer to Hank, at least a fifth cousin, than to his own first cousin. Will there ever be a rational pattern to these results?

See the chart below of simplified results that lists only markers that show differences among our testers, omitting duplicate tests. See proven lines chart to see the ancestor lines for each tester.

[Chart being updated]
“Simplified” comparison chart listing
just markers that differ among the testers
(click 2x to enlarge, back button to return)

So, welcome new William Davis descendants, brothers and sisters!

For more Davis photos, check the Ancestor Photos page.

 Autosomal Tests

If it seems like it’s been a while since the last post, that’s because I’ve been busy studying how to apply autosomal testing to our project. Autosomal tests, or “A-T” tests, are the latest kind of DNA tests. The Y-tests track the father’s line, from son to father to grandfather and on up the paternal line; the Mitachondrial tests track the mother’s line, from daughter (or son) to their mother, to grandmother and on up the maternal line. But the AT test tracks all the lines, and a woman can take the test! Finally! The females can start finding their own matches.

-Creative Commons License, Angela Cone

I’ve been learning how adoptees use autosomal testing to find their birth parents and have been applying their methodology for solving genealogical blocks. The method is: find the ancestors of the people who match your DNA, then, when you hit an ancestor in common for two or more of your matches, you track their lines down (towards the present), and sideways (siblings), until you find a person, in about the correct year and place, who fits the description of who you’re searching for.

The DNA doesn’t lie. If two people match your DNA on the same chromosome, and they match each other, then you know you three have an ancestor in common, somewhere. When you exchange family trees, you’re looking for who that might be. This isn’t breaking down brick walls, it’s leapfrogging over them!

What’s exciting is how many different people carry bits of the same DNA that you carry. If one match doesn’t lead to the family you’re looking for, there are many other matches to that same segment who might have the answer.

I urge any of you Davis or non-Davis surname Y-testers who have questions about how your line fits into the larger Davis family tree to take the AT test. It costs $99 at FTDNA and there is often a sale of half price during the next two holidays, so keep an eye out for it.

Even if you don’t have questions about your line, it is a lot of fun to meet people whose DNA matches yours. It’s like a genealogical social media network. You’d be surprised how far-flung our Davis cousins are. Because the Davis family migrated to several places, the Davis DNA is turning up in descendants in all those places.

We already have a few people in our project who have taken the AT test and are comparing results. Much fun! If you’ve taken the AT test, please let me know your kit number and testing company so we can compare results.

The more cousins who take the test who are known Davis matches on the Y-test or AT test, the easier it is to sort the results of the ones who need placement. If all the members tested, we might even be able to eventually anticipate the DNA of William Davis, our patriarch. (See Ancestor Reconstruction.)


Old-mail-serviceI’m still waiting for a couple of stragglers who haven’t sent me their address before I can send out something in the mail (you know, that thing that isn’t on the computer) to you all. If you’re one of those who hasn’t sent me your current address (you know who you are!), please send your physical mailing address to: jrmarkle at g mail dot com. Thank you.

Until the next post or the next cousin,

best wishes,

Jan Davis Markle, Director
William Davis DNA Project

Additions, corrections or comments gratefully received in comment section.

“William Davis Pvt NJ Militia Rev War Mar 21 1758 Jan 6 1845”
Courtesy findagrave.com.
Known as “Greenbrier Billy.”

Hello Davis descendants, researchers and interested followers,

We’ve got two new matches at the 67-marker level to consider and just got notice that we have another new match at the 37- marker level who we will look at in the next post, when we get all the details.

For now, we have two new matches to think about and they are both in the same neighborhood on the Brisley side of the Davis family tree. The “Brisley side” means that both testers descend from William1 Davis and his first wife, Elizabeth Brisley, via their first son, John2.

William had 4 more sons via second wife, Elizabeth Pavior, who are on the “Pavior side” of the family tree, but we have tested descendants of only 1 of those 4 sons, James2.

The ancestor in common for both new matches is Thomas “William”3 Davis, son of John2, who was born in 1719 in Rhode Island and migrated to Shrewsbury, New Jersey. He migrated again with his adult children and other Seventh Baptist families in 1789, only to die in White Day Creek, Monongalia County, Virginia, in 1791, having not yet reached Salem, (West) Virginia.

Two of Thomas William3’s 3 sons: William “Greenbrier Billy”4 and Rev. Nathan4, head up the separate lines of our two new matches.

About our first match- the green line on the chart

At the last post, we had just received news of a new match, at the 67-marker level. He is kit #219 (kit numbers are shortened to the first three numbers) and is a descendant of William “Greenbrier Billy”4 Davis.

This match’s grandfather was Deuron Clifford8 Davis and Deuron’s father was Sylvanis7 Davis, both coal miners from Coal township, Harrison County, WV.

Sylvanis Davis Civil War 001Sylvanis Davis, 1846 WV- 1929 Clarksburg, WV
Courtesy Sharon Sprouse Bramhall

If we follow Deuron’s line up, we find Sylvanis7 was the son of Absalom6 Davis who was, in 1850, a farmer living in Doddridge County, West Virginia. His wife, Polina S.W.5, was also a Davis, a descendant of William “Bottom Billy”3 Davis. They had 14 children and adopted a fifteenth.

absalomdavisBirthsAbsalom Davis Bible, Births, Courtesy Sharon Sprouse Bramhall

Absalom’s father was Rev. Peter5 Davis, a Seventh Day Baptist minister in New Salem, Harrison Co., WV and Rev. Peter’s father was William “Greenbrier Billy”4.

(See Ancestor Photos page for images of birth, death and marriage pages from Absalom’s and Sylvanis’ Bibles.)

Rev2PeterDavis1783-1873“Rev. Peter Davis, Died Mch. 4 1873, Aged 89 Ys, 5Ms 16Ds”
Courtesy findagrave.com

Susie Nicholson says: “Peter Davis was about six years old when his parents [Greenbrier Billy4 Davis and Elizabeth Johnston] joined in the 1789 migration with the Seventh Day Baptist group from Shrewsbury, New Jersey to Western Virginia… He outlived both wives [Sarah Davis and Sarah Fitz-Randolph] and was cared for by his daughter, Jemima, wife of Rev. Jacob Davis.” -excerpted from Davis, The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia, by Susie Davis Nicholson, 1979, pg 32.

About our second match- the aqua line on the chart

DavisStephenC.Tombstone“Stephen C. Davis,
Born Sept. 30, 1781, Died Aug 16, 1869, Aged 87 Ys 10 Mos. 16 Ds”
Son of Rev. Nathan Sr. Davis
Courtesy findagrave.com

Our second new match, also matching on the 67-marker test, is kit #320. He is a descendant of Rev. Nathan4 Davis, Greenbrier Billy4’s older brother. Our second match’s grandfather was Howard Lee9 Davis, born in Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia.

HowardLeeDavis1910-1971Howard Lee Davis, abt 1918

Track this line back, all in West Virginia (“Virginia,” before 1863), and you find Howard’s father was Mingo H. 8. Mingo’s wife was Jean7, also a Davis, grand-daughter of William “Buckeye Billy”5 Davis, who was the grandson of William “Bottom Billy”3 Davis.

It’s easy to wonder where the name “Mingo” came from since it is such an unusual name, especially in 1871 when Mingo H. was born. With no stories handed down in the Davis family about its origin, a bit of research finds that there is a county in West Virginia named “Mingo” but it was formed in 1895. Mingo H. Davis was already 24 years old in 1895.


The other mention of the name Mingo is that of an unincorporated area in West Virginia called “Mingo,” or “Mingo Flats,” which was named after the historic Iroquoian Mingo people who migrated west to Ohio around 1750. Mingo Flats had apparently been the site of one of their villages. The migrants were called “Mingos,” a corruption of “mingwe,” originally meaning “chief” or “greatest,” later meaning “colonial,” referring to their Iroquoian outpost in WV.

Descendants of the settlers of Mingo Flats had stories handed down from their ancestors about the ancient Mingo village and, in 1920, wanted to honor its existence by erecting a statue.

MingoIndianStatue,Mingo,WVBeing that Mingo Flats was not very far from Clarksburg, Harrison County, might it be that those same stories, much more vibrant in 1871, were the inspiration for the name “Mingo H.?”

Going further up the line, we find Mingo’s father was Mark7. During the Civil War, Mark Davis was in the Confederate Cavalry while his brothers served in the West Virginia Militia and Union Army.  And after the war, they went back to being neighbors. Mark’s father was David D.6. On the 1850 Doddridge County, Virginia census, David D. Davis’ occupation is listed as “Toll Gate No. 10.”

David D. and Absalom, ancestors of these two lines, were 2nd cousins, born within 5 years of each other and both lived in Doddridge County, VA in 1850. They probably knew each other well.

David’s wife was Anna5 Davis, also a descendant of William “Bottom Billy”3 Davis, leading us to Stephen C.5 .

Stephen C.5 is the ancestor in common for lines #2 and #3. He was the son of Rev. Nathan4, Greenbrier Billy4’s older brother.

That’s a lot of Davis ancestry in one line!

Follow the lines on a chart

On the chart below, the new tests are lines 2 (aqua) and 5 (green), highlighted with red shadow.

Testers on this chart have been placed in sequence of oldest to youngest, left to right. At each generation, the oldest son and his descendants are listed first, on the far left of tree, and the youngest son and his descendants are listed last, on the far right of tree. This places testers descending from the same ancestor in common next to each other.

Who do you think will match?

1. We would expect new tester #320, line 2, to match closely to previous tester #275, line 3 (aqua lines) because they descend from brothers at gen 6 (Brothers are David D.6 and Nathan G.6.)

2. We would also expect new tester #278, line 5, to match closely to previous tester #219, line 6 (green lines) because they descend from brothers at gen5 (Brothers are Rev. Peter5 and George Johnston5).

Lineage chart of 2 new matches  (shadowed red)

[Chart being updated]

(Click 2x to enlarge, back button to return)

 Comparison of results
and some questions to ask

Now that we have the lines, let’s compare the DYS values, possibly answering some questions:

1. How close will the lines match?

2. Are there any markers or combination of markers that distinguish any lines from each other?

3. Do the markers display the relationships that we already know?

That is, if you didn’t know who the new matches descended from, could you predict their probable lines from their DYS results?

DYS Marker Comparison

As we gain more testers, our test comparisons get more complex, so this bit of analysis may take some patience.  (Not the usual webpage sound bites here).

A chart is the best way to compare markers but it’s hard to see patterns in a large chart with 67 markers. So, to simplify the results, the following is a smaller chart of our group’s 12 changing markers only.

  • The marker results that all testers had in common were omitted, duplicate tests were omitted, less than 67-marker tests were omitted and non-Davis tests with many mismatches were omitted.
  • The testers were sorted by line and color-coded by ancestor in common (matching colors of the lineage chart). Marker results were colored by type: anomaly results (only one or two testers show that marker result) were colored yellow, unusual results colored green, variations in marker values colored shades of blue and identical marker values colored pink.
  • The order of DYS columns was changed to line up same-value markers together. Fast-changing DYS names are in red text.

[Chart being updated]
(Click 2x to enlarge, back button to return)

  • Rev. Nathan4’s  four lines, are the first four rows. (The first two rows, colored blue and light blue, are lines 1 and 4, both previous testers.)
  • The 3rd and 4th rows, colored aqua and light aqua, are line 2 (with new tester #320) and line 3.
  • The 5th and 6th rows, colored green and light green, are Wm Greenbrier Billy4’s two lines, line 5 (with new tester #278) and line 6.
  • The other rows, purples, pinks and golds, are other previous testers‘ lines.

Move back and forth between the lineage chart of new lines and this DYS marker chart to get a feel for how the markers reflect the lines that they represent.

Analysis of Results


So what do we find?

1. How close do the new lines match?

New tester, kit #320 on line 2 (aqua), does match kit #275, on line 3, but with 2  steps off, a bit more genetic distance than expected.

In 6 generations, there were 2 mutations.

New tester, kit #278 on line 5 (green), does match kit #219, on line 6, with 1 step off, as expected.

In  6 generations, there was 1 mutation.

2.  Can the lines be distinguished by their DYS results?

  • Yes. On new line 2, (kit #320, aqua), DYS 481=22 appears to be an anomaly. No other tester shows this result. This temporarily does distinguish line 2, kit #320 (until it shows up later in another line). All other testers show DYS 481=23.
  • And no. On new line 5, (kit #278, green), shows a combination of  three values: DYS 391=11, CDY=34-34 and 576=21.
    But that same combination, 11, 34-34 and 21, shows up in an exact match from another previous tester, kit #151, on the Archie E. Davis line, (first dark purple row on the DYS comparison chart), proving that the 3 DYS combo does not distinguish line #5 (kit #278) from the other lines.

3. Do the markers predict known relationships?

No. If you didn’t know where to place kit #278, you might look for an ancestor of that previous tester, kit #151, on the Archie E. line, because #151 is an exact match to kit #278.

This exact match implies that #151 would be closer to #278 on the paper tree than #219 would be, since #219 is one step off.

But we know that, on the paper tree, kit#219’s line is closer to kit #278’s line and we see kit#151, Archie E.’s line, would be a very wrong direction to research because kit #151’s line descends from David Rogers Jr.4, an entirely different line of the tree than the William Greenbrier Billy4 line from which kit #278 actually descends. (See kits # 278, 219 and 151 on the Proven Lines, Brisley Branch chart below.)

So the exact match would give researchers a bum steer.

All Davis descendants on the Davis family tree are related, so we could phrase this odd observation as:

Fifth cousins, kit#278 (line 5) and kit #219 (line 6), who are close to each other on the paper tree, match one step off;

but sixth cousins, kit #278 (line 5) and kit #151 (Archie E.7 line), who are farther away from each other on the paper tree, match exactly.


4. As to placing kit#320 (line 2, the aqua line, on the lineage chart), if you looked at just the first two changing markers, DYS 391=11, CDY=35-35 (the “almost anomaly”),  you might look (correctly) to kit #275, on line 3 (light aqua line) because kit #275 also has the same first two markers. If so, you’d have kit #320 placed pretty close to where he belonged.

But, because kit #275’s 3rd and 4th changing markers are each one step off from kit#320, you might continue to look elsewhere.

You might have chanced to see that previous tester, kit #152, on the William6, b 1810, NY line, also matches with 391=11, CDY=35-35 ,with an additional third marker match at 576=21 (See Proven Lines, Brisley Branch, chart).

Those first 3 matching markers might have sent you off searching for ancestors on kit #152’s line. That choice would take you off in a very wrong direction because kit#152, descends from Thomas William4, along an entirely different line than kit#320’s actual line from Rev. Nathan4.

So, do the markers display the relationships we already know?

With this particular grouping of results for kit #320, the answer is: not really. The results partially point to a correct line but point more so to an incorrect line.

What’s a genetic genealogist to do?

ladybugCROPPEDObservations and conclusions

1. The 2 new lines show only 4 changing markers while there are 12 possible changing markers amongst all testers to date. With such a small pool of changing markers, we might need many more tests before we can make predictive sense of the marker values.

2. In general, an anomaly should be a good designator of a unique line. But when an anomaly starts showing up in more than 1 (or 2?) tests, it ceases to be an anomaly and becomes just another marker variation.

3. Is it a significant observation that, besides #278, we have two other kits, #141 and #204, both with unknown links to the William Davis tree, who are also exact matches to #151, the Archie E. line?

Kit #141’s oldest ancestor is Benjamin West Davis, born 1786 Chautauqua County, New York and kit #204’s oldest ancestor is William Burnett, born 1771 Sussex County, New Jersey. Kit #151, Archie E.’s line, originates in Rhode Island, then moves to Lincklaen, NY and then to Wisconsin. They don’t seem to have places of origin in common.

Might kit #151, the Archie E. line, possibly be our patriarch, William Davis’, original DNA signature and that’s why we have four exact matches to it?

4. Observations as to matching: a close relative on paper may show more genetic distance than a further relative on paper.

5. An exact or close match, by itself, does not necessarily designate the line from which an unknown tester descends.

For those who don’t know where to place themselves on the Davis family tree, these last two observations can be daunting.

As a result, it makes sense to get as much information as possible from many tests before spending inordinate time researching lines that might be leading in the wrong direction. There are a lot of ancestors, along a lot of lines, in the 10 generations leading back to William1.

Flanders_Family_Tree(Click 2x to enlarge, back button to return)

Directions for future testing?

We may have to begin to look to the 111-marker tests to see if they show any further ability to distinguish results.

We may have to compare results in more than one way: perhaps comparing fast-changing markers and slow-changing markers separately and then combining the comparisons.

Tests on more lines might tell us if discord between the results and the paper family tree is the norm or the exception. Are all the Davis genes highly active or just some lines?

And we may have to just continue mapping the Davis family tree, trying to test one descendant of each major line. We may yet find a pattern emerges if we continue to study marker changes on lines whose relationships we already know.

More cousins

Whether or not we know where we fit on the tree, each test introduces us to yet another Davis cousin, another descendant of our original immigrant ancestor. We may feel like just virtual friends, but DNA doesn’t lie. We are all connected as family, even if it is a very large family.

We currently have 25 members in the WDD Project (26 with latest match) who live all across the U.S. and we have many interested potential Davis cousins planning to test.  One day in the future, we might take on the task of figuring out just how many Davis descendants William Davis has produced altogether in this clan. Of course, we might need a statistician to help.

Thanks to all of you who have queried this website and who have been so gracious to share your family information. And thanks to the contributions of Tim Davis who finds and helps fund testers for the FTdna Davis Surname Project.

If you have any questions, additional perspectives or corrections, please add them in the comment section or email me. And if you have any other Davis family information, please let me know and I will add yours to our growing collection.

Don’t forget to check the Ancestor Photos page for more Davis historical photos related to these two lines.

Until the next post, or next cousin, whichever comes first.

Best wishes,

-Jan Davis Markle, Director
William Davis DNA Project (williamdavisdna.org)
jrmarkle at g mail dot com

Proven lines, Brisley Branch, April 2014
(Click 2x to enlarge, back button to return)

 Proven lines, Pavior branch, April 2014
(Click 2x to enlarge, back button to return)

Davis pic 1951
Latest DAVIS match!
Seen here abt 1951 with his mother,
Josephine (Sherman) Davis

To all members of the Davis Family and interested DAVIS researchers: we have three new Davis matches! Let’s call that four, since we have a last minute update.

It appears that we have yet another new match, a fourth one, whose 12-marker test has just come in and who descends from the Greenbriar Billy/ Rev. Peter Davis line. More on him in a later post after the rest of his markers are posted.

Our latest 67-marker match is the son of Orin Thomas Davis, b 1875 Carlston, Minnesota. He is the grandson of Stanton Henry Davis, born 1844, New York. And he is the great-grandson of the famous, (in our tree), Benjamin Davis, the one with 19 children, with his third wife, Anna Lowing.

Stanton Henry Davis was the youngest of all 19 sons and daughters of Benjamin Davis5, who had three wives, Lydia Burdick, Sally Burdick and Anna Lowing. Stanton was 10 years old when his father died in 1854 in Watson, Lewis, New York. Eleven years later, Stanton is found on the 1865 Carlston, Freeborn County, Minnesota census at age 21, and then, a year later, he married Emaline Julia Bowen.

Stanton Henry Davis and Emaline had 7 children, including one set of twins. Our current tester’s father, Orin Thomas Davis, was one of those twins and Orson Truman Davis was the other. They were born fourth and fifth.

But what was it in 1865 that attracted young Stanton Henry Davis from Watson, New York , some 1,173 miles away, along the Great Lakes, through Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Wisconsin to Carlston, Minnesota?

Did it have to do with the civil war? Was it because Carlston Township was called “Stanton” township until 1858 in honor of an earlier settler named Elias Stanton? Did it have to do with the fertile soil that beckoned all farmers with a promise of bountiful crops?

It also might possibly have been love. One interesting fact is that Stanton Henry Davis’ wife, Emaline Julia Bowen, had a sister, Sarah Arvilla Bowen. Sarah married Stanton Henry’s nephew, Orville Elverton Davis, in Carlston, Minnesota, 6 months after Stanton married Emaline. Maybe it was something about those Bowen girls!

Orville and Stanton were more like contemporaries, rather than uncle and nephew, since Orville was only 5 years younger than Stanton. Orville was Benjamin Jr’s son. That is, Benjamin5, with the 19 children, had a son, Benjamin, Jr.6, and Benjamin Jr.’s son was Orville.

Opera Block, Ellendale, North Dakota, abt 1910

And what was it about Ellendale, North Dakota, that attracted Stanton’s son, Orin Thomas Davis, to move further west in 1914 or so? Ellendale was 225 miles due west of Orin’s home in Little Falls, Minnesota. Was it because Orin’s father, Stanton Henry Davis, had just died in 1914 in Minnesota?

Being that the town was named after Mary “Ellen Dale” Merrill, (the wife of S.S. Merrill, superintendent of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad), perhaps it was also the railroad stop in Ellendale, the first town to have a railroad in the entire region in 1882, that enticed this branch of the Davis family west.

Perhaps it was the rich, black soil and the Red River Valley “boom” that began in the 1880’s and established Fargo, North Dakota, an area 160 miles NE of Ellendale, straddling the Minnesota-North Dakota border along the north-flowing Red River, as a center for farmers.

Whatever reason brought them there,  Orin Thomas Davis and his wife, Josephine Sherman, had  8 of their 10 children born in Ellendale, North Dakota, and Orin lived there until his death in 1951.

Orin Thomas Davis, 1875-1951
Ellendale City Cemetery
Ellendale, Dickey, North Dakota

Update: photo of 10 of Orin and Josephine Davis’ 10 adult children, abt 1982.

10 Davis'sAll 10 of adult children of Orin T. and Josephine Davis, about 1982

Davis Pic 7
9 of 10 adult children of Orin T. and Josephine Davis, about 1986.

Our current tester, son of Orin Thomas Davis, left home at age 13 to live with his older sister in Forbes, ND. He went into the army in 1950 and served in the Korean War. When he returned, he married and bought his other sister’s farm and turned it into a dairy farm. In 1975, he sold the farm and bought the Circle Bar. He renamed it “Dale’s Corner Corral” and it became very successful. He was responsible for bringing the PRCA Rodeo to Ellendale until the city stopped sponsoring it. He sold the bar in 1997 and finally retired a few years ago. See more about his line at the William Davis DNA Project members’ tree. See more photos at the Ancestor Photos page.

CourtesyHock_venomAsh tray from Dale’s Corner Corral
Courtesy Hock_venom, Flickr.com

Other Matches- only 12 markers

Our other two new matches are only 12-marker matches so, without further markers, they won’t give us much genealogical information except to verify their lines.

1. The first 12-marker match, Living Davis, is the son of Stuart Edward Davis, 1911 WI-1981. His line is Stuart Edward9> Samuel Peter8>Samuel Parker7>Job Greene6>Joshua5 Davis.

Congratulations all you descendants of Stuart Edward Davis! You’re in the Davis clan!

This new tester’s ancestor, Samuel Parker Davis7, was the brother of Jerome Ahira7. Their ancestor in common, 4 generations back, was Job Greene Davis, born 1799 NY,  so we’d expect that #xxx088’s later markers, DYS 13-67, to closely match that of previous tester #xxx037, son of Ward Rexford10 Davis, who descended from Jerome Ahira7 Davis. We’ll have to wait and see.

2. The second 12-marker match is a brother of an already tested Davis member, #xx577,  who is tentatively placed on the line next to #xxx841, Hank Davis’ ancestor, Archie Eugene7 Davis. That line is : Charles7 (brother of Archie Eugene7)>Richard Robert6>David Rogers Jr5 Davis.

No real further information there except to verify, as expected, that the test results of the brothers, #xx577 and # xxx049, descendants of Gilbert Charles Davis, are exact duplicates.

Analysis of results

The Orin Thomas7/Stanton Henry6 Davis line stems from Benjamin5 Davis, b 1772 CT. Because Olin Cecil9 Davis also descended from Benjamin 5, that makes Benjamin5 an ancestor-in-common to both their lines.

Olin’s ancestor, William6, b 1810 NY, was the third son of Benjamin5 Davis (and first wife, Lydia Burdick). Stanton Henry6 Davis, b 1844, NY., was the twelfth and last son of Benjamin5 Davis (and third wife, Anna Lowing).

Even though they had 34 years between them and had different mothers, Olin’s ancestor, William6, was actually the older half brother of Orin Thomas’ ancestor, Stanton Henry6 Davis.  Being that both these testers, Olin Cecil Davis and Orin Thomas Davis’ son, had an ancestor in common in four generations on one side and three generations on the other side, you would think that their test results would be quite close to each other, wouldn’t you?

WRONG! Just to show how variable the DNA can be, Olin Cecil’s test, which should be genetically close to Orin Thomas Davis’ line, is instead measured as being five steps away in genetic distance. Yet another Davis member, #xxx037, who descended from a more distant relationship, is shown as being only three steps away, supposedly “closer” genetically.  This other line is descended from Benjamin’s uncle, Rev. David Rogers Davis, Sr. and they do not have an ancestor in common for eight generations! You would expect 8 generations would be further away genetically and show more change in markers than four generations, but not so in this case.

Take a look at the updated Proven Lines Chart on the William Davis DNA Project site to see a diagram of Olin’s and Orin’s lines, older proven lines and the relationships between them.

Lucky we usually know where to place these testers on the family tree without having to deduce it from the marker results.

Possibly, with more tests, a larger explanatory pattern, that we can’t discern at the moment, will emerge.

Analysis chart

This Analysis chart is an attempt to simplify the understanding of our testers’ differences. It tracks only the changing markers. The rest of the 67 markers are not listed because, at this point in comparison, they are the same for each tester on this chart. Duplicate testers or non-Davis surnames have been omitted. (Benjamin West DAVIS and Peter H. BURNETT lines are duplicates to #xxx841.)

Testers on this chart have been reordered in the sequence of when they occur on the family tree: oldest son and his descendants (far left of tree) are listed first; youngest son and his descendants (far right of tree), last. This allows testers descending from the same ancestor in common to be placed next to each other.

See on the Proven Lines chart how the lines descended from the first son are on the left of the chart and move to the right with the later sons.

Testers with common ancestors are shaded the same color. We would expect them to have identical or closely matching results.  Theory says that the less generations between a tester and an ancestor in common, the less time for marker mutations. So testers three generations from a common ancestor  probably, statistically, would have less marker changes than testers seven generations away.

Does that premise hold for our Davis testers so far? Look at the testers shaded the same colors and see the number of generations to their common ancestor. Count the number of markers that are different between them. Do those with smaller number of generations to an ancestor in common have less marker differences than those with a larger number of generations? Do you see any pattern in their results? Share your observations with a comment on this page if you’re inspired. (click on chart for larger view).


Summary of 2013 William Davis DNA Project Membership

We currently have 23 members of the William Davis DNA Project with matching tests (soon 24 members). This represents 18 distinct lines, two of which have different surnames and four of which are not positively placed on the William Davis family tree yet. Fourteen of these lines are descended from William Davis and his first wife, Elizabeth Brisley. Three of these lines are descended from William and his second wife, Elizabeth Pavior.

Thank you all for your cooperation with testing and sharing information about your lines. Hopefully we will begin to see clearer patterns with a larger number of testers.

To all you William Davis DNA Project members: if you have moved since you became a member, please contact me with your physical mailing address and look for some non-virtual (snail) mail to reach you soon.  Send any change of address to: jrmarkle at g mail dot com. Don’t miss out! 🙂

Best wishes to all you Davis cousins,

Jan Davis Markle, Director
William Davis DNA Project

More History: Anna Lowing, 1802-1889

Daughter of William Lowing and Anna Haight, step-daughter of William Vaughn, married first to Eusebius Sweet and married second to Benjamin Davis.


“Written on back of photo: ‘Grandma Davis, Grandma Maxson’s Mother.’ That would be Anna Lowing-Vaughn Sweet Davis 3rd wife of Benjamin Davis and her second marriage. Child of William Lowing & Anna Haight. Step-daughter of William Vaughn & Anna Haight.”
                                       –Courtesy of “My Family Story” by Weid427 and “Covel Family Tree” by jlrmvocel72 on Ancestry.com

Anna Lowing was the youngest of 9 children of William Lowing and Anna Haight.  “Grandma Maxson” would be her daughter,  Susan Belle Davis who married S. S. Maxson.

According to the story “Lowing Genealogy,” William Lowing was by born James William McLaughlin in Kingston, Jamaica in 1758 but went by the names of”MacLaughn,” “Laugh,” and”Lowing.”

James’ father, a shipping captain, died when James  was 15 years old and James found himself apprenticed to a harsh captain. In running away, James, now going by William, found himself fighting indentureship of “orphans,” hence the creative invention of alternative names. After marrying, William and his wife, Anna Haight, and children lived in Vermont until they moved to Peru, New York where William died early at the age of 45. Anna Lowing, the youngest, was only 6 months old. Anna Lowing moved to Minnesota with her son, Stanton Henry Davis, and died there in 1889.

In Memory of Olin C. Davis
28 March 1926 – 29 May 2013

by Jan Davis Markle

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of our eldest member, Olin Cecil Davis, who died May 29 at age 87. Olin was a member of the William Davis DNA Project since 2009, when he was 83.

A double DAVIS

Olin must have been very much a DAVIS because he was a Davis descendant from two lines: his father’s DAVIS line AND his mother’s line.

Olin’s father,  La Verne William DAVIS, was a descendant of Benjamin5 DAVIS (born 1776 CT),  the one with the “22 sons” [only 12, really]. Benjamin5 DAVIS was the son of William Thomas4 DAVIS (born 1752 RI).

Olin’s maternal grandmother was also a DAVIS. Olin’s mother was Ruth Scholtz and Ruth’s mother, Effie DAVIS, was the daughter of Thomas Clayton7 DAVIS, the genealogist who collected much of the history of the DAVIS families. Thomas Clayton DAVIS descended from Annanias5 DAVIS, born 1784 NJ, son of Rev. Nathan4 DAVIS.

When explaining the two DAVIS lines and adding that he was also a double descendant of Roger WILLIAMS, Olin said, “I think that I’m my own grandpaw!”

See Olin’s two DAVIS  lines, on the Proven Lines chart.



Over the years, you learn  a lot from Olin’s emails but after reading his book, “Flashbacks,” you feel like you really knew him. It is a testimony to the value of writing a diary or autobiography to pass down to your descendants, to let them know who you really were.

Some excerpts from emails with Olin between 2009 and 2013

” I have published a book, FLASHBACKS, which contains many pictures and my stories about my growing up years during the Great Depression and World War II in the 30s, 40, and 50s.  It is now in the second printing.  I am still accumulating more true life stories which may or not be published in another volume of flashback memories.”

“FLASHBACKS… is a collection of my personal true life-story memoirs, with anecdotes about family and country living in the days of the Great Depression and World War II.  I was pleased the other day when I received a letter from someone I have never met.  She said in part,  ‘We enjoyed reading your Flashbacks book so much.  The stories were so meaningful and memorable. We laughed and we cried.’   Those were humbling words to an author!”

“I am 83 years old [in 2009] and live alone.  I grew up on a dairy farm here in NYS. Most of my working life was involved in sales of farm equipment both at the retail and the wholesale level.  In retirement I enjoy gardening with several large flower gardens decorating my five acre lawn which surrounds the old country home.  I also enjoy reading and writing. ”

Olin said of his Benjamin Davis ancestor:

“Our family has always told that this Benjamin had two wives and twenty-one sons, no daughters.”

Olin was referring to Benjamin5 Davis, born 1776, in Farmington, Connecticut, son of Thomas  and Polly West. Benjamin DAVIS died in Watson, Lewis, New York and actually had 12 sons. Including his daughters, his total number of children was 19. Perhaps there were 3 other children who died as infants and the number 22 was accurate.

Says Olin: “I have never ventured up to Watson where family info says that  GGgrandfather Benjamin is buried. He DID have a first and a second wife to mother all those sons!!” [And a third wife, actually.]

“I know that in that time frame there was a Seventh Day Baptist Church (now defunct) in the hamlet.  That location in New York State is still covered with snow at this time of the year.  I’ll try to get my daughter to take me there in summer.  It would be nice to clear up that mystery for all concerned.”

“My Great Grandfather on my mother’s side, Thomas Clayton Davis, was an old man I remember seeing as he sat at an old Underwood typewriter working on his genealogy.  Of course, I suppose that is what he was doing.  I can’t remember him anywhere except at the clattering old machine.  Wouldn’t he have enjoyed computers?”

“Ancestors of Olin C. Davis” posted on the
William Davis DNA Project Ancestor Photos Page

image009Olin and Marilyn (Osborn) Davis, July 1958

image001Olin’s parents: La Verne and Ruth (Sholtz) Davis, 1958

Olin'sFamilyThe La Verne and Ruth Davis family in 1948
Back: Duane, Ruth, LaVerne, Olin
Front: Willis, Kenneth, Roger


Olin’s father: LaVerne William Davis, 1903-1977

LaVerne’s father: Henry Eugene Davis, 1856- 1920

image011Olin and his pony, Silky, abt 1938

Olin standing, and (L to R) Kenneth, Roger, Duane

Ruth (Sholtz) Davis and son, Olin, abt 1929

Grandmother Effie, mother Ruth, baby Olin
and great-grandfather, Thomas Clayton Davis, abt 1926

Olin’s great grandfather, Thomas Clayton Davis, great grandmother Eliza Babcock, with Olin’s grandmother, Effie Davis (back row, second from left), and siblings, Ruby, Pearl, Iva, Lola, Bert, abt 1890

Obituary from Legacy.com

Published in The Oneida Daily Dispatch,  June 2, 2013

Olin C. Davis(1926 – 2013)

ONEIDA >> Olin C. Davis, 87, Randel Road, died Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013, in the Oneida Healthcare Center, from injuries sustained when a tree fell on him at his home. Born in Verona on March 28, 1926, he was the son of LaVerne and Ruth Sholtz Davis. A lifelong resident of the Town of Verona, he was a graduate of the Verona High School, Class of 1943, and was the salutatorian. He married Marilyn Osborn on July 27, 1958 in the Verona Seventh Day Baptist Church. Mrs. Davis died on Oct. 23, 1997.
Prior to his retirement in 2000, he was employed with Cummings and Bricker. He owned and operated his own farm and Davis Equipment Center. Mr. Davis was a graduate of Reisch American School of Auctioneering in 1947 and was an independent auctioneer.
Olin was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church, where he served as the church clerk for over 20 years, Sabbath School teacher for over 60 years, served as church treasurer and served on the National Board of Christian Education. He was a member of the Oneida Area Civic Chorale for over 40 years and served on the board for 29 years.
Mr. Davis authored two books, collections of True Lifestories and Flashbacks and Recollections and was a member of the Canastota Writers Group. He also enjoyed gardening.
Surviving are two daughters, Lois S. Davis of Rome and Joan C. Davis of Ashburn, Va.; one son and daughter-in-law, Dwight W. and Monica Davis of Durhamville; three grandchildren, Dylan Davis, Quinn Davis and Riley Davis; special sister-in-law, Della Fern Davis of Verona, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by five brothers, Donald Davis, Willis Davis, Kenneth Davis, Rev. Duane Davis and Roger Davis.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m., Monday at the Verona Seventh Day Baptist Church, with the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Chroniger, officiating. Interment will be made in New Union Cemetery. Friends may call at the Campbell-Dean Funeral Home, Inc., 260 Main St., Oneida, 1-5 p.m., Sunday.
Contributions, in his memory, may be made to the Verona Seventh Day Baptist Church Memorial Fund, 6754 Blackmans Corners Road, Verona, N.Y. 13478. To leave a message of condolence, please visit www.campbell-dean.com
Pedigree of Olin Cecil Davis
(See extended pedigree, with Roger Williams lines,  at William Davis DNA Project Members’ Tree)

LynchFurnitureCompany1905CanandaiguaNYLynch Furniture Company, Canandaigua, New York, abt 1905
-Courtesy lynchfurnitureny. com
Canandaigua, NY is hometown to one of our matches below.

Since the last post, the K87577 Davis Surname Project subgroup has had 5 new matches, and 6 non-matches, bringing our total Davis matches to 20 since the first I2a1b DAVIS test result was posted in fall of 2007 (thanks to my brother, “K87577,” who agreed to participate).


We have five new matches to learn about, compare and analyze. The analysis will come in a later post. Thanks to all those who have researched, funded and participated in these tests. The matches are:

1. son of Hayward F.9 DAVIS 1926-2000, Salem, WV (Nathan Gifford6 DAVIS line)

2. son of Sammie Charles9 DAVIS, 1932-1981, WV, ARK, TX (George Johnston5 DAVIS line)

3. son of Gerald R.9 DAVIS, 1920-2004, Troupsburg, NY (Isaiah Satterly4, b 1814, DAVIS line)

4. son of Harry Edward10 BURNETT, 1930-2007, Sussex County, NJ to Brookfield, OH (William Harrington BURNETT line)

5. son of Charles Edward MURRAY, 1924-2001, Canandaigua, NY (Joseph Edward MURRAY line)

See the updated Proven Lines Page for all 20 matches and recent non-matches.

Three of our new matches were Davis men who were expected to be matches.


HaywardFerrillDavisSr.Hayward Ferrill DAVIS, 1926-2000, son of Gifford Nathan8 DAVIS, abt 1945
-courtesy DAVISDANIELS Family Tree

Our first expected match, is the son of Hayward Ferrill9 DAVIS, and grandson of Gifford Nathan 8 DAVIS, 1873-1929, WV (Nathan Gifford6 line). “Gifford” is a name that runs in the WV Davis lines and it refers to the wife of Rev. Nathan4 DAVIS , Anna GIFFORD, who was born in Shrewsbury, NJ. Rev. Nathan and Ann Davis were married in 1761 in New Jersey, raised their children in N.J. and migrated with some of their adult children to Salem, WV by 1795.

The current match’s line descends from Rev. Nathan4 DAVIS to his grandson, Nathan Gifford6 DAVIS, b.1814 WV, and then to his grandson, Gifford Nathan8 DAVIS, b. 1873 WV.  Gifford Nathan8 DAVIS’ grandson is our current tester. That’s 3 grandfathers back, as in, “my grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather.”

Gifford Nathan DAVIS had an unusual life. He was born in Doddridge County, WV and later lived in Ten Mile, Harrison County, WV.  His first wife died when she was 20 years old. He had 2 children with his second wife in 1904 and 1905. In 1925, at the age of 52, he married a third wife who was 33 years old and had 2 more children in 1926 and 1928. He died in 1929, at age 56, and his third child of that marriage was born shortly after he died.

GiffordDavisDeathCert1929June22Death certificate Gifford Nathan DAVIS, 1873-1929. Note the names of the attending physician and the undertaking company (see lower right corner; click twice to enlarge).                                  -courtesy DAVISDANIELS Family Tree

Rev. Nathan4 DAVIS is the ancestor in common for this match and for two of our previous matches. The current match descends from Rev. Nathan’s son, Stephen C.5 . The other two matches descend from Rev. Nathan’s son, William Gifford5  “Jersey Billy,” and from Rev. Nathan’s son, Annanias5.


Historical Marker, Doddridge County, West Virginia

The second expected match proves the line of the son of Sammie Charles9 DAVIS, born in 1932, Lockesburg, Arkansas, who was the son of Franklin Harvey8 DAVIS. Franklin Harvey was from Union, Doddridge County, WV, and descends from George Johnston5 DAVIS and William “Greenbrier Billy”4 DAVIS.

This line of the DAVIS family migrated over the years from NJ to Doddridge County, WV, to Arkansas, to Texas and to New Mexico. Our tester says that his grandmother Rosie was a Pentecostal Holiness preacher and was 26 years younger than his grandfather, Harvey DAVIS when they had their 2 daughters and their son. Before Rosie, Harvey had 4 sons and 3 daughters with his first wife, Ellen.

Third Match

woodhullMain Street, Woodhull, N Y   -courtesy Steuben Co., NY GenWeb site

The third expected match proves the line of Gerald Robert9 DAVIS, 1920-2004 Woodhull, NY, descendant of Isaiah Satterly6 DAVIS, born 1814.

Isaiah Satterly DAVIS was one of the four sons of Rev. David Rogers Jr.5. DAVIS. We had already tested a descendant of another of those four sons, Jesse L.6 DAVIS, resulting in the matching Russell DeForest9 line.

Isaiah Satterly’s son, Richard, was born in Troupsburg, Steuben County, NY, as were Richard’s six sons and his grandson, Gerald Robert DAVIS. Gerald Robert DAVIS died in Woodhull, NY, 13 miles from Troupsburg.

Troupsburg, NY is on the border of NY and PA, and was named after Colonel Robert Troup, Esq, a land agent for the Pulteney Estate, a large tract of land stretching from Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario, south to the Pennsylvania border.


Two of our matches carried surnames other than Davis. These non-Davis matches were complete surprises and makes one wonder just how pervasive the Davis clan is.

First non-DAVIS match

webster_houseMainStCanandaiguaOntarioCOHistMuseumMain St., Canandaigua, New York
-Ontario County Historical Museum

The first non-Davis match carries the surname MURRAY. The line of his father Charles Edward MURRAY, 1924-2004, leads back to Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York (28 miles south of Rochester, NY) and before that, his Scottish family, Patrick MURRAY, a shoemaker, and his wife and son, immigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1880 and then down to Rochester, NY in 1886. Our Murray tester and his sister are studying their complex Murray family tree to see where their clan might overlap the known Davis family tree, in recent times or in distant Scottish days.

Second non-DAVIS match

Peter H. BURNETT (son of William Harrington BURNET) and wife, Bethsheba AXTELL  -Photo courtesy of Burnett Baum Family Tree

 The second non-Davis surname is BURNETT. Harry Edward BURNETT, 1930-2007, the father of our BURNETT tester and his two researcher sisters, came from Brookfield, Trumbull County, Ohio and before that his ancestors came from Sussex County, New Jersey.

William BURNET, the oldest male ancestor on their line, was born in 1771 in NJ and was believed to be a HARRINGTON  who was adopted by the family of Grace BURNET, William’s mother.

The William Davis clan had left Rhode Island and lived in Shrewsbury, NJ from 1745 to 1787, so the Davises and the Burnets were in the same vicinity around the time William Harrington Burnet was born. It is not inconceivable that he might have been a DAVIS from those earliest years but such a theory is only proven by testing more men in each generation on his line.

William Burnet migrated with his wife and children and 2 uncles from NJ to Ohio in 1801. They were the quintessential settlers, clearing the land with hand tools and building a log cabin from the cleared trees. William had two wives and 11 children. One of William’s sons, born shortly after their arrival in Ohio, was the first male child born in Hubbard township.

The History of Trumbull & Mahoning Counties, Ohio said that William was 91 when he died in 1863 and there were “now living in 1882, as his descendants–4 sons, 2 daughters, 56 grandchildren and 79 great-grandchildren and sixty-two great-great-grandchildren, a total of three hundred and three persons.” That was 1882. How many descendants might there be now?

It is interesting that the Burnett tester is an exact match to two other previous Davis matches: first a match to the Benjamin West DAVIS line, who came from Caneandea, Allegany, New York, and second a match to the Henry Raymond DAVIS line who migrated from Lincklaen, NY to Breed, Wisconsin and later, Washington State. The significance of these three lines matching exactly is yet to be determined as their records do not overlap in any discernible way.



1. Leon Horace DAVIS 1920-1969 (Nathaniel and Benjamin DAVIS line, Warwick, Orange Co., NY, ):R1b1a2.
This result disproves the connection, claimed by some online, between William DAVIS b 1663 and Nathaniel DAVIS or his brother, Benjamin DAVIS, b 1757, of Warwick, Orange County, NY.

Those claiming to be descended from William b 1663 via Benjamin Davis of Orange County, NY will have to consider that William Davis most probably isn’t an ancestor of Benjamin since descendants of William show I2a1b haplogroup and Benjamin’s brother, Nathaniel, shows a different haplogroup, R1b1a2. This infers that William and Nathaniel (and brother Benjamin) descend from different ancestors.  Definitive proof of this theory would require more testing of other generations of Nathaniel and Benjamin Davis’ line.

2. Billy Joseph DAVIS, 1933-2006 (William DAVIS line, NC):R1a1a

More non-matches (special thanks to Tim Davis for research and funding):

3. James Arlo DAVIS 1923-1994 (Seth DAVIS 1796-1864, s/o David DAVIS and Betsey Hammond of Long Island, NY of the Foulke DAVIS line): R1b1a2
This result disproves the claim that Seth DAVIS was a descendant of William DAVIS, b 1663, and instead connects Seth to Foulke DAVIS of Long Island, NY.

4. Elgan Allen DAVIS  (John O. DAVIS line, Wales) : haplogroup G

5. Earl DAVIS, 1912-2007 (Charles E. DAVIS line, Monmouth, NJ ):haplogroup I

6. Alburn Wesley DAVIS (Ebenezer DAVIS b 1741 line): R1b1a2

See the Proven Lines page for the complete lines of matches and non-matches.

The Odds of Testing


Check back or subscribe to feed (top of page, on left)  for news on the latest tests from our unique cluster of Davis family members. I say unique because on the DAVIS Surname project, the other haplogroups (like R1b1a2) outnumber us (I2a) 15:1. So I2a DAVIS men are a less common haplogroup amongst the sea of R1b1a2 DAVIS men.

This is unfortunate because if you test a random DAVIS man, without some written records indicating a relation, the odds might be 15 to one he is not a match to you.

But this is fortunate because, if you do find a man who carries the DAVIS name and who tests I2a at 12 markers, you can be confidant that they are in the DAVIS clan. So far, that is. With many more tests, that may not prove to remain so, but for now it has.  With other surnames, a match at 12 markers often no longer matches when the 25-67 markers are tested.

If you or members of your family carry the DAVIS name and you wonder if you are a descendant of  William DAVIS b 1663, Wales, write a comment, or email me, with your line from father or grandfather to your oldest known ancestor, preferably with their birth and death dates and places, and I’ll see if I can find out more about your family and how you might be connected.

-Jan Davis Markle
jrmarkle at gmail dot com

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