ACREE SURNAME DNA PROJECT

DNA symbol animation


OBJECTIVES:

  • To determine the extent to which males with the surname Acree (variously spelled) relate to one another worldwide - genetically and genealogically.

  • To explore the possibility that many Acrees living in the U.S. share a common immigrant ancestor who came to colonial America from the British Isles.

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.

PARTICIPATION:

We currently have 88 tested participants. Others are awaiting basic or advanced test results.

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 men with the surnames Acres, Acker(s), Aker(s), Dacre, Daker and Hacker, which have had historical associations with ours.

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:

dna passage animation

Females may participate by convincing an Acree-surnamed male relative (grandfather, father, brother, uncle, cousin or husband) 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.

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:

participant residences Acrees in census

ACREE ANCESTRY:

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:

Link to Acree Study

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, two-thirds of whom spelled their name Acree and 16 percent of whom were African-Americans. No comparable tabulation was made in 2010.

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. Our findings support the unproven consensus that William of Virginia had five sons with surviving male lines:

  • Joshua Acree (c1735-1777), who was raised in Hanover Co., Virginia, and remained there
  • William Acree (c1735-1796), who first settled in Warren Co., North Carolina, in the early 1750s and moved thirty years later to Wilkes Co., Georgia
  • Isaac Acree (c1735-c1820), who settled permanently in Warren Co., North Carolina, in the early 1750s
  • "Cashie" John Acree, Sr. (c1735-1814), who settled permanently in Bertie Co., North Carolina, in the late 1750s
  • Abraham Acree (c1735-c1788), who settled permanently in Caroline Co., Virginia, across the Pamunkey River from Hanover Co.

Our project has found that a substantial minority of Acrees living in the U.S. descend from a different William Acree (1752-1833), the patriot ancestor of many DAR members. He moved as a youth with his widowed mother from Frederick Co., Maryland, to Guilford Co., North Carolina, served there in the Revolutionary War, and later migrated with his extended family to Wayne Co., Kentucky.

We have discovered further that an undetermined number of Acrees, as well as Acras, born in the U.S. descend from Jacob Acra (c1710-1772) of Middlesex Co., Virginia, that many men having the surname Akers descend from William Akers (c1650-1715) of Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, and that many men having the surname Acord descend from Cornelius Acord (also known as Cronamus Acre - c1760-1839) of Frederick Co., Maryland - another Revolutionary War soldier, who coincidentally lived as a boy in the same county as the above William Acree but belonged to an entirely different family.

Click the following link to see discussion of what is known about early Acrees, their immigration to America, and their deep ancestry:

Link to Earlier Acrees page

Click the following link to see discussion of our surname's evolution:

Link to Surname Origin page

Click the following link to see discussion of Acree descendants:

Link to Later Acrees page

Click the following link to see discussion of available documents regarding the Acree family:

Link to Documents page

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENTS:

Our project was initiated in August 2006, when it was the subject of a promotional press release, which can be seen by clicking the following link:

Link to Press Release page

Since then, our project has attracted the participation of the most active Acree-family researchers, finding that four of the above Acree brothers - Joshua, William, John and Abraham share the same "haplotype" (genetic profile). While documentation is unavailable and Y-DNA testing cannot distinguish brothers from close relatives, circumstantial evidence has made it clear that they were indeed all sons of William Acree of Virginia. The chronological evolution of the project may be seen by clicking the following link:

Link to Acree Project History

This same haplotype, which includes a rare, distinguishing fractional marker value ("microallele"), has also been found in project participants surnamed Brown, Collier, Peel, and Wells, and in non-participants surnamed Barnhart, Hall and Willoughby, who do not match others of their surnames genetically. These men have patrilineal lines that probably converged with those of the "Virginia Acrees" several hundred years ago in the British Isles.

Here is a depiction of how successive Acree fathers passed this nearly identical haplotype along - from four sons of William Acree of Virginia, through several generations, down to the majority of our project participants (in blue), who include two African-Americans:

First descent chart

Our project has also succeeded in discovering the distinctive ancestral haplotype of William Acree of Frederick Co., Maryland (1752-1833), the haplotype of William Akers of Hunterdon Co., New Jersey (c1650-1715), the haplotype of Jacob Acra (c1710-1772) of Middlesex Co., Virginia, and the haplotype of Cornelius Acord (also known as Cronamus Acre) of Frederick Co., Maryland (c1760-1839), based on test results of their descendants. Within our project, we call these descendants the "Maryland Acrees", the New Jersey Akers", the "Virginia Acras" and the "Maryland Acords" respectively. It is impressive that they and the "Virginia Acrees" are genetically unrelated to each other in historic times. The shared ancestors from whom they descend used only given (first) names and lived as pre-historic farmers thousands of years ago in central Europe.

Here is a depiction of how our participants (in blue) descend from these other four progenitors:

Second descent chart

William Acree of Maryland has been deduced, on the basis of combined DNA testing and genealogical evidence, to be a son of William Akers (1726-1765), who, in turn, was a son of William E. Akridge (1702-1770). His haplotype has also been found in project participants surnamed Cox, Phillips, and Gibson, who do not match others of their surnames genetically. These men have patrilineal lines that probably converged with those of the Maryland Acrees several hundred years ago in the British Isles.

In general, our project's genetic testing has led to the conclusion that the surnames Acree, Akers, Akridge, Acra, Acord, and other variants were acquired historically by distantly related men in varied circumstances.

Click the following link to see the researched lineages of our project's tested participants:

Link to Acree Project Lineages page

Future participants whose test results match an established haplotype will be assured that they descend from the corresponding progenitor. Intervening lineages must be determined through genealogical research.

A CAUTIONARY NOTE:

Unanticipated test results may be unwelcome. DNA testing often provides gratifying physical evidence to validate lineages that have been achieved through documentary research, but it may, in other instances, contradict established lines of descent - indicating that an informal adoption or undisclosed illegitimacy of birth might have occurred 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.

DNA TESTING:

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.

Link to Project at FTDNA

Just as a comparison of one person to another is aided by focusing on multiple characteristics, a comparison of genetic profiles is aided by testing multiple genetic markers. Unless advised otherwise by the project administrator, based upon his family history, a participant should order at least a 37-marker Y-STR test.

PARTICIPATION PROCEDURE:

  1. FIRST, contact the project administrator, Charles Acree, at the e-mail address below, who will answer any questions you may have. Please use "Acree Surname DNA Project" in the subject line to assist the mail filter. If you do not have e-mail access, please ask a friend to e-mail the administrator a phone number where you can be reached.

    PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS:
    (Type without spaces.)

    e-mail address

  2. When you decide to proceed, please provide the administrator:

    • Your full name, address and phone number, which will be kept private.

    • Your patrilineal (usually Acree) lineage - identifying all of the known couples in it, with their approximate years and places of birth. Further detail is helpful but unessential. Your own name and the names of ancestors born after 1900 will be kept private.

  3. The administrator will usually tell you how to order a test from FTDNA, with the benefit of our discount, and how to join our project there. He may suggest a less expensive option at the YSEQ testing firm.

  4. You should receive your test kit within a week. Take the test as directed and return your saliva specimen to the testing firm.

  5. Alternatively, Acree males may now test privately to determine if they descend from the Virginia Acrees or the Maryland Acrees, without first joining the Project or contacting its administrator.

RECEIPT AND POSTING OF TEST RESULTS:

Your test results should be available within a few weeks. Our project requires two separate listings, which can be seen at these links:

Link to FTDNA Test Results Link to Project Test Results

The first listing above, controlled by FTDNA, displays test results for nearly half 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 numbers and earliest-known paternal ancestors, 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 FTDNA equivalence, as noted), and include distinguishing 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.

ASSISTANCE TO ACREE FAMILY HISTORIANS:

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 data base.

ACREE FAMILY HISTORY, GENEALOGY & DNA PROJECT at Facebook:

Our project maintains a discussion group on Facebook, which is open to all Acree descendants and currently has over 700 members. It can be visited by clicking here

PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR'S FAMILY HISTORY WEBSITE:

Link to Family Tree website

Administrator's professional profile on Linkedin.com

Copyright © 2006-current year by Charles Acree. All rights reserved.