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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”
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”

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

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 (
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)


We have a new Davis member of the William Davis DNA Project. He is Kit #201748 on the FTDNA Davis Surname Project. He descends from Annanias Davis, born 1784, the son of Rev. Nathan Davis, Sr.

His line is Rev. William1,  John2, Rev/Capt Thomas William3, Rev. Nathan4, Annanias5, Nathan6, Marion C.7, Edward H.8, Edward H. Jr.9, living Davis10.

Annanias came from Salem, WV to Ohio and then to Sullivan County, Indiana and Annanias’ son, Nathan, continued northwest from Indiana to Welton, Clinton County, Iowa.


Our new match closely matches (1 step off at 67 markers) three of our other William Davis DNA Project members.

Our new member first matches the tester who descends from Annanias’ brother, William Gifford “Jersey Billy” Davis, both sons of Rev. Nathan Davis, Sr.

William Gifford “Jersey Billy” Davis  was the oldest,  born in NJ in 1762 and was 22 years older than Annanias Davis (and Annanias’ twin brother, John) who were the youngest, born in NJ in 1784. (See their lines on the far left of the  “Proven Lines” chart.)

This first match shows the same marker results at DYS 391, both of them=10, which sets them off from the rest of the group, who all have DYS 391=11. Although they match at DYS 391, their match is not exact because they differ 1 step at DYS 576, considered a “fast” changing STR (short tandem repeat) marker, more likely  to change within a genealogical time frame. Our new member shows DYS 576 =21 and our older member shows 576=22. Even with only one marker one step off, their common ancestor is still 7 generations ago.

Our new member’s other close match is the member descended from Rev. David Rogers4 Davis, Sr., first cousin to Rev. Nathan 4 Davis, Sr. The one step off at 67 markers for this match is at DYS 391, our new member with 10, and our old member with 11. These two matching lines are 8 generations away from an ancestor in common.

The third match is an identical match to another test, but we don’t have any genealogical conclusions from the match because it is as yet unplaced on the Davis family tree.

One thing we can observe from these two matches is that two Davis men can match 1 step off and still not have an ancestor in common for 7 generations.  When predicting ancestry in common, this is a fact we can rely on, rather than guessing with statistical probability.

UPDATE: Our new member also matches one of our current members with a genetic distance of four steps off.   Their Davis ancestors in common are Rev. John2 Davis, b. 1692, and Elizabeth Maxson, 7 generations ago.

Four steps off is not usually close enough to comment on but this same current member’s mother’s line descends from the same ancestors in common as our newest member, just 5 generations ago: Annanias Davis, b 1784, and Rebecca Clayton.

Our current member’s line on his mother’s side is: Rev. Wm1, Rev. John2, Thomas3, Nathan4, Annanias5, William Clayton6, Thomas Clayton7, Effie Irene8 Davis, Ruth Marie Sholtz9 [who married LaVerne W.8 Davis], Living10 Davis, Kit #152496. Ruth Marie Sholtz9 and La Verne W. 8 Davis were 6th cousins, once removed.

LaVerne8 Davis’ line, Kit # 152496’s father’s line, is: Rev. Wm1, Rev. John2, John3, Thomas4, Benjamin5, William6, Henry Eugene7, LaVerne8, Living9Davis.  This is the line that is 4 steps distant from our newest member.

Unfortunately the Y DNA test only tests the male line so we cannot see how close our current and newest members are via Annanias5.

See all these lines on the proven lines chart.


Our new Davis member comes with stories from his Davis ancestry which he  is happy to share with us. Here is an excerpt from the Sabbath Recorder about Annanias Davis and his wife Rebecca Clayton.

The Sabbath Recorder; Feb. 19, 1852

Western Correspondence

(Letter to the editor, dated Jan. 18, 1852)

In this place, Sullivan, the county seat of Sullivan County, I have incidentally met with a number of Sabbath-keepers, adhering to the law of the Lord; and testifying to all around of the obligation of all men to remember the Sabbath of Jehovah. the head of this interesting group is Annanias Davis, a son of Nathan Davis, Once of Salem, Virginia, whose family was part of the colony that removed from Squan River, in New Jersey, to western Virginia, Sixty-one years ago (1791), at which time the subject of these remarks was nine (born abt. 1782) years of age. The family name of his wife , who is in like manner zealous for the sabbath observance, was Clayton, and she belonged to a family who were formerly connected with the same Christian Fraternity. Annanias Davis removed from Vireto, Warren Co., Ohio forty-three years ago(1809), and thirteen years ago (1839) to this place, at that time, a dense and almost unbroken forest. It being the center of the county, by vote of the inhabitants, the county seat was removed here five years ago( 1847), which has given increased value to their lands, and importance to their location. During the whole thirteen years of their residency here, they have not heard a Sabbath Keeper preach nor even seen a single person of their own faith nor read a Sabbath publication, the Bible alone excepted; and yet they have steadily kept to the “Ancient and Honorable Way”. The posterity of this worthy couple now number Sixty-five souls; their own children are five sons and four daughters, with their families, most of them observers of the Sabbath. From the I gave them, they have concluded to send for the Sabbath Recorder. Having no public gifts among them, for nine years they lived without any church privileges; but for four years past, most of them have united with the Christian Church in this place, with the express agreement, that they may keep Jehovah’s holy day, and be subject to neither censure nor discipline for pursuing their worldly business on the first day of the week, so that they do not habitually neglect public worship in the church to which they belong. Their learning is chiefly the “one-book” learning; and that they have “right smart.” Although they have no public gifts, their honest and Christian behavior has gained for them a good report of all men where they are known. They have often been assailed by the opponents of the seventh-day Sabbath, but have so successfully used the armor of righteousness as to put to silence their opposers; and a considerable portion of the community around them have learned to say, “If there is any day of rest binding by Scripture now, it is the seventh day.”  S. D.  


The following is a story about Annanias’ son, Nathan Davis and his wife, Nancy Doty, and also about Nathan’s son, Marion C. Davis and Marion’s son, Ed Davis, written by our new member’s living aunt:

“At the time of the civil war, Nathan and Nancy Davis came to Iowa from the Terre Haute area of Indiana, traveling with their family in a covered wagon. They homesteaded a farm near the small town of Welton, in Clinton county.

Marion Clinton married Libby Mathers and they had two sons, your grandfather, Edward Harrison and William. Edward was about 2 years older than Will. Marion and Libby separated when the boys were quite young and Ed went to live with Marion’s parents while Will was raised by Libby’s parents. They did not know each other until Ed as a young man traveled by horseback from the Welton area in eastern Iowa to Rinard which is in Northwest Iowa. Must have been quite an adventure.

In later years, Marion made his home with Ed and Emma in Lyons (which is now part of Clinton). He developed cataracts and lost his sight. In 1926 Emma passed away and, after a time, Ed and Grace were married.

In the early 1920’s, Ed was driving a team of horses on the frozen Mississippi river when the ice broke and he found himself under the horses who were kicking their legs trying to swim. Somehow he managed to get hold of the harness and pull himself up to the surface where he could grab on to the edge of the ice and pull himself out of the hole. This happened in a very isolated area so he had to walk quite a long way to a cabin where the man that lived there gave him lots of hot coffee and dry clothes, then proceeded to take him into town.

At first, they told Ed that he might lose both hands but there was a young doctor who thought that just by removing the infected tissue he could save the hands. He lost part of one of his little fingers to the middle joint and three fingers to the first joint. He was always grateful that he could still work and earn a living, although in later years he had very painful arthritis which they thought was attributed to the accident.

Ed worked for the city of Clinton and had two mules. He would plow gardens and do odd jobs with them. Edwin says the name of the mules were Jack and Speck. Ed was very attached to them.”


We are happy to add this new Davis descendant to our William Davis DNA group. See all his ancestors and their relationships, and find some connections to your own Davis line, on the new William Davis DNA Project family tree. If you are a member of the William Davis DNA Project, you can edit your own facts online. Looking forward to more Davis connections!

– Jan R. (Davis) Markle

Hello and welcome to the William Davis DNA Project.

We are a group of descendants of one man, our immigrant ancestor,  William Davis, who was born in 1663 in Wales. We all carry identical or very close patterns of DNA. We know this because we have each had a DNA test done and our tests match. We’re cousins!

We are collaborating with each other to research and prove lines of relationships from William Davis to his living descendants using DNA testing.

Our mission is to use DNA testing to prove as many as possible documented Y-lines descending from William Davis to the present, finding identical patterns or identifying small differences.

Because William Davis and his sons were ministers in the Seventh Day Baptist Church, many parts of his family descendancy have been documented carefully. Several people have researched lines of this family tree in detail and have published them online,  so we have a good scaffolding upon which to work.

How do we prove a line? First, we choose a line of descendancy and follow its paper records to recent times. Then we identify a living descendant and contact him. We then test the DNA of the living descendant to see how it matches others on different branches of  the tree.

We are a unique brand of Davis. Our haplogroup is I2a.  A majority of Davis participants on the Davis Surname Project are of one haplogroup, R1b1b2, which is a common haplogroup in Europe.

But our William Davis line is coming up consistently as I2a, which is less common among Davises.  On the Davis Surname Project , our subgroup, the William Davis DNA Project, is the dark red group, the 9th highlighted group down.

Is your last name Davis? Did your ancestors come from PA, RI, NJ, WV, NY or WI? These were some of the states that the William Davis family migrated through over the years as they made their way across the US.

Here is a link to a family tree, Descendents of Seventh Day Baptist, William Davis, on Rootsweb ( that tells a bit of the history of William Davis. Here is another version of the family tree, They Came to Milton,  which also documents the William Davis family.

To join the William Davis DNA Project, you must be a male with the last name Davis and are willing to take a cheek swab DNA test, preferably to 67 markers from Family Tree DNA testing company. Or, if you are a female, you need to have the cooperation of a living brother or father (or male first cousin) with the last name Davis who would take the test. Other surnames are fine if you have reason to believe that your paternal line name should be Davis.

The part of the DNA that is tested for similarity between men is the Y-chromosome and only a male carries it. The Y-chromosome follows the family surname, so if a male’s last name is “Davis,” then, unless he was adopted, he should match other male Davis Y-carriers on his line.

If you believe that you are descended from William Davis born 1663 in Wales we would love to have you join our project.  We are working together to clarify our genealogical histories. We share our findings and inspire each other to discover more than we might have done alone. And of course, we discover truths with DNA that we could never prove any other way.

If you contact us, we will give you a chart showing how you are related to others on the tree and will help you with your research if possible.  But most importantly, what we have to offer is an interesting and spirited group of Davises who are ALL YOUR COUSINS!

This is a project that is exciting and rewarding. I hope you will contact me with your Davis history  so we can see where we relate. And even if you aren’t sure of your Davis ancestry, contact me anyhow and perhaps we can discover a connection.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Jan Davis Markle
William Davis DNA Project

jrmarkle at gmail dot com

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