ACREE SURNAME DNA PROJECT

Progress Report for 2016

GROWTH

Our project gained a record thirteen participants in 2016, raising our total to 75 men who have joined us during this past decade.

Several participants, at their own expense, have taken advanced Y-DNA tests that have contributed significantly to our tenth-year achievements. We’ve received anonymous donations totaling $800 that is enabling additional strategic testing in behalf of the project.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  1. We’ve now identified fifty men (plus six others outside our project) who possess the “Virginia Acree” haplotype (genetic signature), which includes a rare, distinguishing microallele (fractional value of 13.2 at marker DYS385b). Men surnamed Wells, Myers, and (a second) Brown joined our project when they were found to share this distinctive haplotype, which is associated with William Acree (c1710-c1767) of Hanover Co., Virginia, from whom the majority of our participants descend. Last year, we identified a single “SNP” (an enduring, cumulative mutation within the Y-chromosome) for which a participant can be tested inexpensively ($20) to prove his descent from William – a feat that’s exceptional among DNA surname projects and was explained procedurally in last year’s report.
  2. Continuing to test primarily for SNP mutations, we’ve had another remarkable success, anticipated last year, in identifying two SNPs that can be tested inexpensively ($40) to prove descent from William Akers (1726-1765) of Maryland – the father of the well-known DAR patriot William Acree (1752-1833) of MD/NC/KY, our second proven Acree progenitor, from whom a minority of our participants descend. In the process, men surnamed Gibson, Phillips, and Cox joined our project when they were found to have an undetermined but genetically-close relationship with the “Maryland Acrees.”
  3. Accomplishing a long-sought goal, we finally established the distinctive ancestral Y-DNA haplotype of Jacob Acra (c1710-c1772) of Middlesex Co., the forefather of many Acrees living in the U.S., as well as the forefather of most Acras living here. We’re thus able to test new participants for descent from this third proven progenitor, though we’ve not yet attempted to identify testable SNPs pertaining to him, which means that proof of descent still costs $150.

CONTINUING CHALLENGES

  1. We still don’t know for certain who the Acree immigrants to America were, when they arrived, and where they came from. As best we can determine, William Acree of Virginia arrived in that colony about 1730 from northwestern England and was born into a family who had earlier roots in the English-Scottish border area. We believe that William Akers of Maryland was either an immigrant himself or a descendant of immigrants from the same geographic area, as was Jacob Acra. We do know, however, that our two matching Akers-surnamed participants living in the U.S. descend from a prominent immigrant to New Jersey. Surprisingly, SNP testing has proven that these separate Acree families have no common ancestors in the British Isles. Their kinship occurred thousands of years ago on the European continent. All of them apparently took their surnames coincidentally in the UK, during the obligatory adoption of surnames in the 13th or 14th centuries, likely in some association with the prominent Dacre barons who lived in northern Cumbria at that time. More widespread SNP testing and continued genealogical research will hopefully provide improved discernment of when and where these very-distantly-related Acree families originated.
  2. Though we now have two African-American participants in our project, both matching the genetic profile of the Virginia Acrees, we’re still a long way from being able to estimate percentages of how many of the numerous African-American Acrees acquired their surname biologically from their slaveholders - after the Civil War or earlier as freed men, and how many acquired it following that war from association with southern Acree plantations.
  3. We still don’t know how the sizable groups of West Virginia Acrees and Florida Acrees descended from William Acree of Virginia, whose ancestral haplotype they match. It appears genealogically that both of these family groups descend, through missing links, from William through his son William (c1735-1796), who raised his family in North Carolina before moving eventually, with most of his extended family, to Georgia. In this connection, given our earlier successes, we attempted this year to identify a SNP that would prove patrilineal descent from William of Georgia, as we identified last year a SNP that proves descent from his brother John - benefitting John’s branch of the family. Unfortunately, this optimistic attempt, requiring advanced testing of several project participants, failed, owing to the resulting discovery that William of Georgia didn’t acquire an identifying SNP mutation at birth, as John did.

Our project website is always up to date. Summary discussion of both deep ancestry and modern SNP mutations appears in the “Earlier Acrees” webpage.

If you are an Acree seeking confirmation or extension of your paternal line, please consider participation in the:

Link to Acree Surname DNA Project

Click on the above link to connect or return to the explanatory project page.
Please direct questions to the E-MAILaddress there.