Monday, March 25, 2013

Will DNA Lead Us to William Taylor's Parents?

The image below may not look like a road map but it is. It's part of the DNA route to William Taylor's parents. William was my 3rd great-grandfather. He came to Kentucky from somewhere in Virginia sometime before 1825. 
Chromosome 4 match for two of William's descendants with four other Taylors.
Many Taylor researchers believe that William was the son of William Taylor and Jean Guffey. The older William was a Revolutionary War soldier from Rockbridge County, Virginia who settled in Rockcastle County, Kentucky about 1810. It appears the connection to my William was made because they both lived in Rockcastle County and they were both named William. At least, I haven’t found anyone with a more solid reason for making them father and son.

The problem is there are a few other facts that muddy the waters.

1830 census records in Rockcastle and Garrard Counties give us five different William Taylors. That is down to one in each county by 1840. 
  • Two of the Garrard County Williams in 1830 and the one in 1840 match my William's household composition for the respective year. 
  • None of the Rockcastle County Williams in either year match.
William married Martha Ramsey in Garrard County in 1825 and it appears (based on those census records) they lived there for many years before moving to Rockcastle County sometime between 1840 and 1850.
  • Did he live in Rockcastle County (with his assumed father) before that marriage or did he live in Garrard County and just happen to move to neighboring Rockcastle County later?
  • If William moved to Rockcastle County for the first time after 1840, it’s entirely possible that older William was deceased by then and they didn’t even live there at the same time.
James Taylor and his wife, Sarah Hicks/Hix, lived in Garrard County. In 1870, a five-year-old named William Hix lived with William’s daughter, Elizabeth Taylor Ramsey, in Rockcastle County.
  • What does that mean? Maybe nothing but it warrants exploring.
Frankly, I’ve put off working on this for years because it’s easier to ignore the difficult problems and work on something, well, easier. But now we have DNA results.

DNA results are available for four of my William's descendants. Two are Y-DNA; two are autosomal. 

The Y-DNA results give us one exact 37-marker match and two others that are distance one at 37. That exact 37-marker match is especially interesting because several of members of his Taylor line have also done autosomal tests. Four of his 2nd cousins match my mother and me (see image above). That means five people in that Taylor line match four people in our William's line. We are related to these people. Somehow.

Based on information provided by this Taylor family, they descend from a Revolutionary War soldier named James Taylor from King and Queen County and Patrick County, Virginia who eventually settled in Franklin County, Tennessee. There is no obvious connection between James and old William of Rockbridge County, Virginia and Rockcastle County, Kentucky. 

I believe we are finally on the road to finding William’s parents. It’s going to be a very long trip but now we have a map.


  1. What wonderful clues, Linda! So close to going further down that long road! Thanks for sharing this. What a bonus that those 2nd cousins
    in the family have done the DNA tests as well.

  2. Hopefully these clues will boost your research. Congratulations on getting this far.

  3. I love it when DNA is part of the path. And I certainly agree that all these hints warrant exploring.

  4. Thanks, ladies. It's exciting but I need to buckle down and get started on the research.