These aims are being met. Through a combination of DNA testing and genealogical research, our project is finding that most Acrees living in the U.S. descend from an early-18th-century immigrant with origins in the English/Scottish border area.
We currently have 67 tested participants.
All men with the surnames Acree, Acra, Ackre, Ackrey, Acre, Acrea, Acrey, Akre, Akrey, and Akrie, which we're finding to be related, are encouraged to participate. We also welcome the participation of selective men with the surnames Acres, Acker(s), Aker(s), Dacre, Daker and Hacker - names that are believed to have an early historical association with ours in the British Isles.
This project compares the unique Y-Chromosome (Y-DNA) profile segments that fathers pass intact to their sons, which remain basically stable from generation to generation, with only minor, infrequent mutational changes:
Females may participate by convincing an Acree-surnamed male relative (grandfather, father, brother, uncle or cousin) to provide requisite Y-DNA for testing as a representative of her line. Our several female participants, as interested family historians, have arranged and often financed tests of their surrogates.
Our project works in tandem with the Acree One-Name Study at the Guild of One-Name Studies, which can be seen by clicking the following link:
The Acree surname is uncommon in the U.S. and is rare elsewhere. According to the census, there were about 7,400 individuals with the surnames Acree, Acre, Acrey, Akre, Acra, Akrey, Acrea and Akrie resident in the U.S. in the year 2000, nearly two-thirds of whom spelled their name Acree. The more numerous individuals having Acker/Aker/Eaker surnames appear to have primarily Germanic/Scandinavian origins, but those surnames also arose independently in the British Isles and are believed to have been related historically to the evolution of the Acree surname. For discussion of our surname's evolution click the following link:
Most of the Acrees born in the U.S. who have successfully traced their lineages descend from residents of colonial Virginia and Maryland who usually spelled their surname Acre but often appeared in documents using phonetically similar names, in an era when spelling consistency was unimportant.
Our project is finding that the majority of the Acrees living in the U.S. descend from William Acre(e) (c1710-c1767) who lived in Hanover Co., Virginia. His origin is unknown, but he most likely emigrated to America from the English/Scottish border area about 1730. For discussion of what is known about earlier Acrees, their immigration to America, and their deep ancestry, click the following link:
Our project supports the generally-accepted consensus that William of Virginia had five sons with surviving male lines:
Our project has also found that a substantial minority of Acrees living in the U.S. descend from a different William Acree (1752-1833), who moved as a youth with his widowed mother from Frederick Co., Maryland, to Guilford Co., North Carolina, and migrated about 1804, with his extended family, to Wayne Co., Kentucky. Genetically unrelated (in post-classical times) to William Acree of Virginia, he has been deduced, on the basis of DNA testing and circumstantial/geographical evidence, to be the son of William Akers (1726-1765), who belonged to an Akers family of British origin that settled as Quakers in Hopewell, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, in the late 17th century and moved within a splinter congregation to Frederick Co. about 1735. Soon after his father's death, young William's mother apparently took him to Guilford Co. in the company of Quaker relatives. This William Acree "of Maryland" had three sons who are known to have surviving male lines: John, William Jr. and Ephraim. They were all born in North Carolina but raised their children in Kentucky.
Our project has discovered further that there are many Acrees, as well as Acras, born in the U.S. who descend from Jacob Acra (c1710-1772) of Middlesex Co., Virginia.
Click the following links to see discussion of Acree descendants:
Our project was initiated in August 2006 when its administrator found that his Y-DNA values matched those of a distant cousin who also descended from "Cashie" John Acree, Sr. (above), thereby establishing a significant ancestral "haplotype" (genetic profile). This finding, considered newsworthy, was the subject of a promotional press release, which can be seen by clicking the following link:
Since then, our project has attracted the participation of the most active Acree-family researchers, finding that descendants of William, Abraham, and Joshua, John's reputed brothers, share his haplotype. While documentary confirmation is unavailable and Y-DNA testing cannot distinguish brothers from close cousins, circumstantial evidence has made it clear that they were indeed brothers, as sons of the William Acree of Virginia. The chronological evolution of the project may be seen by clicking the following link:
A map displaying the locations of our participants' residences in the U.S. correlates well with a census map comparing total Acree households by state in the year 2000:
This same haplotype, which includes a rare, distinguishing fractional marker value ("microallele"), has been found in two men surnamed Williamson - an uncle and his nephew, who joined our project upon discovery that their patrilineal line includes a 19th-century Acree adoptee. It has been found also in individuals surnamed Collier, Barnhart, Peel, Brown, Hall and Willoughby - all of whom lack close Y-DNA matches within their respective surname groupings and must have patrilineal lines that converged one way or another with those of our "Virginia Acrees" several hundred years ago, probably in northwest England. A Brown, Peel, and Collier have joined our project.
Here is a depiction of how successive Acree fathers passed this nearly identical haplotype along - from four presumed sons of William Acree of Virginia, through several generations, down to the majority of our project participants (in blue), who are mostly distant cousins:
Our project has also succeeded in discovering the distinctive ancestral haplotype of William Acree of Maryland (1752-1833), based upon matching test results of three distant cousins who descend from him, and the distinctive ancestral haplotype of William Akers of New Jersey (c1650-1715), based upon matching test results of two distant cousins who descend from him.
As mentioned above, our project has determined that the father of William Acree of Maryland was William Akers (not Acree, 1726-1765). One would suppose that these two early progenitors named William Akers, both of whom are understood to have been associated with a Quaker congregation in colonial New Jersey, belonged to the same Akers family. However, this circumstance appears to have been coincidental. No genealogical connection can be found between these two progenitors, and comparative DNA tests of their descendants indicate that their ancestral relatonship occurred long ago, well before the advent of surnames.
The haplotype of another project participant named Akers, who resides in England, approximates both of these two haplotypes but is sufficiently different from them to indicate, unfortunately, that his ancestral relationship with the other Akers participants is even more distant.
Here is a depiction of how three of our participants (in blue) descend from William Akers of Maryland, combined with a depiction of how two participants (also in blue) descend from William Akers of New Jersey:
Click the following link to see the researched lineages of all the project's tested participants:
Future participants whose test results match one of these established haplotypes will be assured that they descend from the corresponding progenitor. Intervening lineages must be determined through genealogical research. Future participants whose test results differ from these haplotypes will provide alternative genetic profiles which may eventually be associated with additional progenitors.
Unanticipated test results may be unwelcome. DNA testing often provides physical evidence to validate lineages that have been achieved through documentary research. It is possible, however, that DNA evidence may cast serious doubt on well-documented lines of descent that were considered firmly established, by indicating that an informal adoption or perhaps an undisclosed illegitimacy of birth occurred in one or more generations within a lineage. These so-called "non-paternity events" were (and remain) far more common than we generally appreciate. Their frequency rate in our culture is estimated to be about two percent in each generation.
The test is simple, painless and private. Participants will receive a kit in the mail to return a saliva sample.
In the past, our project has used Ancestry.com as its testing firm. It is now using primarily the Family Tree DNA firm (FTDNA). Participants must pay for their tests but will benefit from the project discount there.
Just as a comparison of one person to another is aided by focusing on numerous characteristics, a comparison of genetic profiles is aided by testing a greater number of "STR" markers. When testing through these markers, participants should normally order at least the 37-marker Y-DNA paternal test.
Your test results should be available within a few weeks. Our project requires two separate listings, which can be seen at these links:
The first listing above, controlled by FTDNA, displays test results for about a third of our participants, who have either tested at FTDNA itself or, at minimal cost, transferred their results there from tests taken earlier at Ancestry.com. The results are a series of values associated with the STR markers (12 to 111) for which a participant has tested, which can be compared with the corresponding values of other participants. For the sake of privacy, FTDNA customers are identified by their kit number, surname, and earliest-known paternal ancestor, rather than by name.
The second listing above, controlled by the project administrator, displays test results for all of our participants, the majority of whom tested earlier at Ancestry.com or exclusively there. In addition to transcribed results from both Ancestry.com and FTDNA, this listing includes results obtained from DNA Heritage, Genetree, SMGF, the University of Leicester, BritainsDNA, and YSEQ. The results here are also a series of STR-marker values, but they are shown in numeric (not FTDNA-panel) order, adhere to the latest nomenclature convention in four instances (requiring minor subtractions for equivalence, as noted), and include microalleles (fractional values). This list also includes haplogroup/subclade affiliations (SNP test results) that have become essential to our project's comparisons but are displayed inadequately by FTDNA. However, this list, too, is incomplete. While it includes all of Ancestry.com's markers and FTDNA's 37-panel markers, it excludes most of the markers in FTDNA's 67 and 111-marker panels, which are shown on the FTDNA list. For the sake of privacy, participants who appear on this listing and elsewhere within our project's independent webpages (here) are provided alphanumeric identifiers - their surnames with ascending numbers.
Apart from project participation, Acree family historians are invited to direct inqueries regarding their indefinite or undetermined lineages to the project administrator, who maintains an extensive off-line data base.