During its fifth year, our project has gained nine new participants, for a current total of 40, maintaining an average of eight per year.
The tests of three new participants have placed them in our project’s majority (28/40), who have closely matching DNA profiles as descendants of William Acree of Hanover Co. VA, whom I’ve been calling the “Virginia Acrees” for convenience.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that there are few 18th-19th-century Acrees (of various spellings) who can’t be traced ether to the Virginia Acrees or to the “Maryland Acrees” (the latter descending from William Acree of MD/NC/KY). This observation isn’t based merely on the prevalence of Virginia Acrees who happen to have joined our project, which could be misleading, but on the ever-more-definitive data base of historical Acrees that I’ve accumulated. Aside from assisting our project routinely, this data base has permitted occasional help to members of our Acree Family History Group on Facebook (now numbering over 450), who have joined the group for social networking.
Among the new Virginia Acrees is Acree033, who was discovered to be a first-half-cousin of Akrie017 - both genetically and genealogically. Neither had previously known of the other’s existence.
We gained a non-Acree surnamed participant (Brown037), whose DNA profile clearly matches that of the Virginia Acrees, with its distinctive microallele (also known as a microvariant). We haven’t yet been able to connect his lineage to William of Hanover Co., but the connection was probably the result of an unrecorded adoption in the eighteenth century – as occurred later in the ancestry of our project’s two Williamson participants.
We gained another off-surname participant (Hardage034), whose DNA profile matches that of the Maryland Acrees. He’s the son of an adoptee whose biological father is unknown. In an extended search for relatives, Hardage034 has tested his autosomal (all-chromosome) DNA with the 23andMe firm. As a dividend, he’s learned that he belongs patrilineally to a pre-historic haplogroup (R1b1b2a1a2f*), which is considered to be Celtic in origin. That’s helpful to our project because all Maryland Acrees may now consider that they, too, belong to it. The subject of deep ancestry is discussed in the Earlier Acrees page of our project website. It mentions the earlier-discovered haplogroup of the Virginia Acrees (R1b1b2a1a1d1*), which is considered to be Anglo-Saxon in origin.
We’ve succeeded in resolving some outstanding issues regarding the lineages of a few of our participants, as detailed on the Linages page of our project website.
Until this year, the origin of a significant geographic group of Acrees was unknown – those with early-19th-century roots in West Virginia. The test of Acree039 has finally solved that mystery by revealing an unsurprising match with the Virginia Acrees, thereby providing evidence that most Acrees currently living in West Virginia, like the majority of us, descend from William of Hanover Co.
Another indefinite situation was resolved by the test of a second descendant of Jasper Newton Acree, a celebrated Civil War veteran who was born a couple years after his ostensible Acree father died. The test results of our second Jasper descendant (Acree038) neatly match those of our first (Acree013), a distant cousin, thereby confirming that Jasper’s father was not a biological Acree. Instead, Jasper was probably fathered by a man with the surname Lawson, based upon the observation that the shared genetic profile or our two participants matches that of several Lawsons whose forefathers lived in the vicinity of Jasper’s youth. Further research is being conducted by Acree038 in the hope of narrowing the field of possibilities.
Another unresolved case may be moving toward improved resolution. Last year, I mentioned the tragic death of Acree005, whose great-grandfather was born a few years after his ostensible Acree father died during the Civil War. His DNA profile matched that of a man named Reader. We’ve been fortunate recently to establish contact with that man, who probably descends from the same great-great-grandfather.
There’s been one major disappointment. Acree029, a descendant of an early-18th-century Acree whose father spelled his name Acra and lived among a group of Acras centered in Gloucester Co. VA, has displayed unique test results, implying that the “Virginia Acras,” as I’ve called them (who evidently include Acrees as well as Acras), descend from a third significant early progenitor who was unrelated to William of Virginia or William of Maryland. Attempting to verify that speculation, we’ve recently been fortunate to test two Acra participants (Acra036 and Acra040) for comparison. Unfortunately, they don’t match each other orAcree029. Not even close. So, this dilemma will remain unresolved until additional Acras are tested.
The only other project participant whose early Acree lineage remains frustratingly elusive is Acree021, whose run-away grandfather was definitely a Virginia Acree, according to his test results.
On a personal note, I’m being called upon more frequently these days to provide Power-Point presentations to west Texas genealogical societies on the subject of DNA testing for genealogical research. As a consequence, I’ve been asked to help several non-Acrees personally to extend their ancestral trees with the benefit of testing. This year, I’ve been privileged to assist an adoptee whose previously-unknown biological father has turned out to be a close relative of his mother. Extra-project activity such as this has broadened my perspectives but is consuming an increasing amount of time.