10 January 2010

What have we been doing, besides growing our gardens, since Spring, 2009?

You could say we’ve been planting seeds and cultivating our William Davis DNA Project and it has been growing. We now have 13 matching members and have had 4 non-matches.

With a larger group, we’ve been inventing ways to manage it. Here’s what we’ve been doing:

1. We’ve been working on this site so it can represent us to other Davis cousins who might be searching for us and share our results with the larger genealogy community. As we come across resources particularly helpful for Davis research, we hope to share them with other Davis searchers.

2. We’ve created a companion PHP website, William Davis DNA Project Family Tree,  that is home to the entire Davis family tree. It is available to the public and eventually, when we get the forum function working, we hope that it will serve as a focal point where Davis researchers can collaborate and discuss their cases.

3. We’ve created a William Davis DNA Fund whose purpose is to cover the cost of the DNA test for those who are unable to do so.

4. We’ve been making visual charts of the Davis lines to use as tools for study and analysis.  (See them on the Proven Lines page.) As the group enlarges and our areas of matching become more complex, we need ways to think about the relationships and conclusions beyond just listing Dys numbers.

5. We’ve been collecting ancestor photos and have showcased them in an Ancestors Photos Gallery on this site. In response to my request for photos, one tester, #151841, son of Raymond Davis, sent all his photos to me.  I put them in a scrapbook for him as a present for his 87th birthday, this past Dec. 24.

6. Research on our testers’ and other possible Davis lines is ongoing. We track them back to their oldest ancestor in common and then we track them forward to their living descendants. This is no small job and gratitude must go out to Timothy White Davis, of Maryland, for his time searching, entering the data and contacting potential Davis cousins as well as his generous contributions to the new William Davis DNA Fund for testers. Also thanks to J.D.M. for her contributions using her expert Google search methods, finding facts no one else ever finds.

Latest Results

Where we last left off, in May 2009, we had just had the son of Raymond Davis, test and we were wondering how closely he was going to match us. Just before, the son of Harold Davis had turned up as an “out of the blue” match, placing on the B-1 section of the tree. Son of Harold’s daughter said that her oldest ancestor was a “Benjamin West” Davis, who died in Hume, NY in 1863 but they had never been able to find Benjamin West’s parents for sure.

Son of Raymond Davis (back row), his father, Raymond Archie Davis, nephew Little Frank Davis and grandfather, Archie Raymond Davis
abt 1939

We were also waiting for results from our other tester, the son of La Verne Davis, who was descended from the Benjamin5, son of Thomas William4 Davis and Polly West, “with three wives and the 22 children, all sons…” (a bit of an exaggeration, we hope). We expected that he would match our out-of-the-blue match, son of Harold Davis, since they both had the middle name “West” in their lines.  It would make nice sense if Benjamin’s  middle name “West” came from Polly Davis’ maiden name.

Son of La Verne Davis, standing, and brothers

Well, surprise! It was son of Raymond Davis who matched exactly son of Harold Davis, not son of La Verne Davis.  Son of La Verne Davis was 3 steps away from their exact match.

(See the charts on the Proven Lines page, chart B-1, to follow these lines visually and check the Davis Surname Project for the full DNA sequence of our members.)

Does this imply that son of Harold Davis’ ancestor,  “Benjamin West,” might be a Benjamin who is closer to son of Raymond’s line and not the one on son of La Verne’s line? Because both son of La Verne’s and son of Harold’s  ancestors have a Benjamin and a West, it is so easy to assume they’re on the same line. The search goes on to place Benjamin West Davis on the tree.

Wedding of Harold Allen Davis and Izola McEntarfer
June 23, 1920, Union City, PA

Current testers

And we currently have another new tester, the son of Russell Davis, who stems from Russell DeForest9, George A.8, Jesse7, Jesse L.6, David Rogers Jr5, and David Rogers, Sr4, which would be on our B-1 group.  Rev. Davis Rogers4 Davis, was one of the four sons of John Jr.3 Davis  who were born in RI and who moved to NY. (Two other sons moved to CT.) More on Russell DeForest9’s line soon.

Waiting, waiting on his results.

George Davis, Florence Ives, children Glen, Gladys, Erma, Dorothy
South Branch, MI abt 1911

In the last few months, we also have had 4 other testers, long-shot Davises, all who ended up not matching. (See the “New Lines to Prove and Non-matching Lines” chart on the Proven Lines page.)

We thought their James was our James, their William our William, their Henry our Henry, their Thomas, our Thomas. But alas, all four were non-matches. Three were different haplogroups entirely, (they were the prevalent R1b1b group) and one was Ia but not our I2a. We did learn a lot about the other lines, though, and helped their research move forward. And of course, even though we’re not cousins, we’re still friends.

We’ve also had at least 5 decliners or nonresponders.  Decliners are living Davis men who we have tracked down and determined to be on our tree but for some reason, which we always respect, they decline to test. They, too, are still our friends as we stay in contact and continue to share our research with them.

Tombstone of Julia Apse, wife of Jesse Davis, died Feb. 13, 1875? age 63?
Bonnell Cemetery, Waterford, Erie, Pennsylvania