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The Lost Colony Research Group

Genealogy ~ DNA ~ Archaeology




March 20, 2010

Welcome to spring!! Such a glorious time of year. Those first bird songs, the sound of dripping water from melting snow, and the first hints of green are such wonderful and luscious signs that Mother Earth is awakening after the long and fierce winter. Hopefully soon we will all be out turning the soil, planting tomatoes and otherwise communing with the Earth in the nurturing sunshine. In 3 or 4 months, we'll be complaining about being too hot, but right now, I can't imagine the sun feeling anything but wonderful!


With the arrival of spring comes a research trip to North Carolina. I'll be joining Anne Poole in Raleigh for a number of research adventures over a couple of weeks across eastern North Carolina, and I'll be blogging the trip so that all of you can go along....virtually of course. Among other things, we'll be visiting Jennifer Sheppard, one of our administrators. I love driving south this time of year, because you can literally see spring arrive hour by hour, the further south you travel....and eventually .... something has to be blooming. 





Genealogy on TV
Genetics is the big topic in the genealogy world recently, and television shows. Recently Henry Gates hosted a series, "Faces of America" that featured a number of celebrities discovering their ancestry though traditional research, nontraditional "in person" trips, and DNA, of course. I must admit, I was quite envious to see the places that these folks got to travel to visit where their ancestors lived, and quite impressed the investment that PBS obviously made to obtain their genealogy. In one case, they literally rescued Yo Yo Ma's family genealogy from within the walls of a house and took it to be restored...and that genealogy dated back to the 1300s I believe. Now, that's the Holy Grail of genealogy for anyone!!!


As that series drew to a close, a new Friday evening Prime Time series, "Who Do You Think You Are" opened. It too focused on celebrities.  I guess the producers feel we are more likely to watch them....but their genealogy is just as pedestrian as ours. No more or no less interesting. Of course, as genealogists, we like to watch everyone find their roots, and the cases they selected for the shows are of course the ones of interest to a majority of people. The first week featured the Salem Witch Trials, last week was Emit Smith discovering his slave roots and this Friday brings us a Jewish family during the holocaust. 


In the midst of all of this genealogy notoriety, one of our own members was also featured in a series on BYU TV. Gloria Squires is in the second program of the series, "The Generations Project". This series focuses on people who want to connect with their ancestors for a particular reason. Gloria had only heard negative things about her grandfather, and being the eternally positive person she is, just knew there had to be more to the story. So she volunteered to be featured on the show, and was accepted. A year later, we watched Gloria discover her past, and that of her grandfather, and his father, and his grandfather. You can tune in and watch the segment titled "Gloria" at this link. 


My favorite moment in Gloria's show is when she sang Amazing Grace in the small country church where her great-great grandfather preached. Congratulations Gloria on being selected and on such a wonderful show, and thank you for sharing it with all of us. I felt like I got to go along on your great adventure. 


DNA and  the new Lost Colony Family  Project

The face of genetics and genealogy is changing forever. With the introduction of Family Finder at Family Tree DNA, we will be adding another tool in our arsenal of products to find those elusive Lost Colonists.


Unfortunately, in the past, in order to join the DNA projects, you had to have relevant Yline or mtDNA to the project.   In other words, your paternal (surname if you're a male) or maternal (your mother, her mother, on up the tree) line had to have a Lost Colony surname, or surname of interest. If your Lost Colony connection fell on any other branch of your tree, you couldn't participate in that part of the project. But now, everything has changed. We will still use Yline and mtDNA, but we're adding a new project for Family Finder......called of course......Lost Colony Family!!!


Family Finder tests your autosomal DNA, that DNA that you carry that is not Yline or mtDNA, but is the DNA inherited from all of your ancestors. It compares over 500,000 (yes, half a million) locations with everyone else who has tested at Family Tree DNA, and notifies you of matches. Now these matches will be "guesstimated" based on how much of your DNA matches. So it will "suggest" that the two of you are third cousins, for example. It of course will be up to you to dig around in your pedigree chart to figure out exactly how you are related.   You might actually be 2nd of 4th cousins, but you ARE related if you have matching DNA segments, it's only a matter of figuring out through whom, which common ancestor.  


In the past, we've had to turn away good Lost Colony candidates, but no longer. Everyone will be welcome in the Lost Colony Family project. People who are in the mtDNA and the Yline project will want to join the new Lost Colony Family project too. Of course, we will maintain the LC Yline and mtDNA projects as well for those who carry those surnames and are from Eastern NC. 


The Family Finder test will be available at release for $249. Competing products at other companies are priced from double that amount to $1000. I don't know how long the introductory price will last, so if you are interested, I would suggest ordering during the introductory period.  


I've been working closely with Family Tree DNA and I'm very excited about this new product and the possibilities it provides for us. One feature that will be available shortly, but not at first release, is a percentage of ethnicity. Currently existing products elsewhere have been disappointing in this department, but I think you'll all be pleasantly surprised by what is coming down the pike. 


Listen to Bennett Greenspan talk about Family Finder and watch Bruce Walsh's 3 videos about how Family Finder works. 

 Want to see a demo? Go to  and log in. Then click on the various Family Finder options on the left hand toolbar.


For those of us who have tested already at 23andMe, that is not a bad thing. You will eventually be able to upload your 23andMe results to Family Tree DNA and they will be able to use those results to match against their data base. You won't have quite as many locations to match, but it will certainly be worthwhile. It won't be free, but the charge is minimal at $40 (the planned price, but it could change), which is fully refundable towards a Family Finder test should you choose to purchase one. 


And yes, before you even ask......I've already ordered mine so I'll have a chance to work with the results so I can be prepared when my projects and my clients have results delivered. This is a paradigm shift in genetic genealogy, equal in magnitude to when Yline DNA testing was introduced. This new DNA technology and project management tools combined will provide us with an exceptionally powerful tool that has the potential to change the way we do genealogy forever. It puts another very powerful tool in our arsenal.


Directed, Focused Testing
You don't have to sit around and wait for someone to match you, unless you're adopted and looking for family matches. Imagine the excitement of an adoptee to see a family match that says "half-sibling". It takes my breath away to imagine. But let's say we want to solve a different type of question. 


I'll use a case I've worked with for years. In the Smith family, the father, Bill, is dead, and after his death, the family discovered that he had a son from an earlier relationship. After several years, they actually find the son, who had never known who his father was. By this time, both mothers are deceased as well. So the players are by this point, the son from the previous relationship, called Dave, and his supposed half sister, we'll call Jean. There are no other siblings. 


At first glance this looks easy. If Dave takes a Yline DNA test and matches the Smith line, then we know he is a genetic Smith, and by deduction, Bill's son. However, Dave does not match the Smith ancestral DNA line. However, this does NOT mean he doesn't match Bill, because we don't know what Bill's DNA looked like. Nor his father, George's DNA for that matter, nor his father, John's DNA. We do have the ancestral Smith line upstream from John, but by now there are three generations in which an undocumented adoption could have occurred. 


We found the only living male to descend from George, Bill's father. That male is George's grandson, and guess what.....not only does he NOT match the ancestral Smith DNA, he doesn't match Dave either. So at this point, we not only don't have any answers, we have a new question. Looking on back up the family tree, we find one living male descendant of John, and that man matches the Smith ancestral DNA, so we know that John was genetically a Smith, but we don't know about his son George nor his grandson Bill. Either or both of them could have been an "undocumented adoption", especially since George's marriage was stormy, culminating in a divorce. However, because there were no more males to test, and siblingship testing between Jean and Dave had proven inconclusive, this problem languished, unanswerable for more than half a decade.


Enter Family Finder. (drum roll please


First, Dave and Jean tested, and they share no DNA, so are NOT half-siblings. Though disappointed, this does not answer the question of who is Bill's child, if either are. 


With a little bit of planning, cousins were located that descended from the people involved in such a way that a match would prove a relationship. 


First, a descendant of a female child of John and his wife tested. This person matched Jean, but not Dave. However, even if John was not the father of Bill, Jean could match this cousin through the female line, John's wife. Next, a cousin who was descended from John's wife's parents was tested, and continued to match Jean, proving that Jean is related to John's wife. Finally, a man who descended from a brother to John tested, and also matched Jean, but not Dave, proving unquestionably that Jean was genetically related to both John and his wife, and that Dave was not related to any of the individuals who tested. 


Even with all of the parents and grandparents dead, and no Y DNA candidates, we were able to prove quite unquestionably a relationship 3 to 4 generations back in time, by selecting cousins who were related on the side being tested, but not in any other way. In doing so, we now know that Bill and George's Y-line DNA, were we able to test it, would match that of John, whose descendant was tested and matched the Smith ancestral Y DNA.Did you get all that??? 


It would be much more interesting if it were woven into one of the genealogy shows on TV! Suffice it to say that this testing can be used in a myriad of ways. 


Native Clues in Non-Native  Wills 

We can't have a Lost Colony Newsletter without something historical, so I'm sharing something from Currituck County's abstracted wills.

Richard Sanderson, Aug 17, 1733, October 15, 1733, Son Richad, "ye island of Ocrecock", 3 negroes and one Indian slave, "the manor plantation", "all my lots in Ronoak town", "two thirds of ye Sea Flower Brigantine", one half of sloop Swallow.  Son in law Tully Williams, 5 negro slaves, 140 acres land in Perquimans bordering on son Richard and John Willoughby, one third of Sea Flower Brigantine and one half of sloop Swallow. Nephews Joseph and Richard Sanderson. Brother-in- law, Henry Woodhouse, one mustee fellow. Sister Susanna Erwin. Dau Elizabeth Pollock. Cousin Elizabeth Dickson. Nephew Hezekiah Woodhouse, land on "ye Sandy Bank by the name of Point Lookout". Dau Grace, wife of Tully Williams. Exec Richard Sanderson, son and Tully Williams, son-in-law. Wit Clement Hall, Thomas Snowlen, Thomas Trumbel. 


Why is this important? First, it documents that indeed, outer-banks families indeed did maintain Indian slaves. We know that the Hatteras Island Indians were still living free at this time, and at least as late as 1756, so what Indians were enslaved in 1733? The answer is that it could have been just about anyone, but many of the Tuscarora were sold as slaves after the Tuscarora War in 1711/1712. However, if this slave was from the area, and the Tuscarora certainly were from near this area, why did he not just run away? Perhaps this Indian was from elsewhere. A second vital piece of information is that Richard Sanderson did differentiate between Indian and "mixed race", because he mentioned a second as a "mustee fellow". At that time, a mustee was considered to be a mix between Indian and negro. This too is important, because it may imply that the Indian was "married" to a black, enslaved woman, with whom he had the child, the "mustee fellow". Of course, this is speculation, but that might also answer the question of why he simply didn't run away. His wife was there, and his child, and those bonds will often outlive and outlast any else. While he could have blended in, she could not, so they lived their life enslaved. 


For genealogists, to track this Indian and mustee fellow, the next step would be to follow Richard Sanderson's son, Richard and his brother-in-law Henry Woodhouse who inherited the "mustee fellow".


Catch us Online
Our Project on Facebook -

5112G3d98ba62G0G66#!/pages/Lost-Colony-of-Roanoke-DNA-Project/126053773239?v=wall  - 

thanks to Janet Crain for this

Not our project - but interesting just the same - 

Our Blog -  - If you don't subscribe to our's a great time to do that...just click on over and sign up so you don't miss anything!! 

Thanks to Janet Crain and Penny Ferguson for our wonderful blog


Our Website -  - Nelda adds to information to our website almost daily. Have you checked your surnames lately to see what is new? Please contribute something for your surnames, or a county of interest. Thanks to Nelda Percival for her untiring work on our Website.


GenealogyWise -  - Thanks to Andy Powell for setting this up.  


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The Lost Colony Research Group is in NO WAY affiliated with The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research.  The Lost Colony Y-DNA and MT-DNA projects at Family Tree DNA are NOT IN ANY WAY  affiliated with The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research, regardless of what their links imply.


"Please notify us of any claims to the contrary."


There is no fee to join our group and no donation of monies or objects are needed to participate in "The Lost Colony Research Group".


As with any DNA project, individuals pay for their own DNA testing, but the
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Copyright © 2008 Last modified: January 04, 2012



The art work on this website is my (Nelda L. Percival) original art work and has not been released to any person or organization other then for the use of Lost Colony Research Group and the store front owned by the same. My art work has never been part of the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research's property. My art used here and at the store front was drawn precisely for the projects run by Roberta Estes and ownership has not been otherwise released. This project also uses the artwork of Dr. Ana Oquendo Pabon, the copyright to which she has retained as well. Other art works are the copyrights of the originators and may not be copied without their permission.
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