Bracey-Blackridge area DNA mystery project

I’m working on solving some DNA mysteries that happened between 1864-1875. I’m looking for people who have taken an DNA test with family tree roots in the Bracey-Blackridge area. All ethnicities. Family surnames will include, but are not limited to: Bennett, Boyd, Gray, Harper, Jones, Mabry, Mayo, Marks, Newman, Pearson, Thomas, Walker, Wright. There are many unknowns, as well as many cousin marriages. I’m helping a descendant of Missouri Jones and George Harper who has taken a DNA test on I want to ask each person if they match 1) myself, and/or 2) the descendant of Missouri and George Harper. Missouri’s mother was Jane Bennett Thomas, who was divorced but continued using her married name of Jones. George’s mother was Susan Harper. It appears both Missouri and George were born out of wedlock.

It is important for me to also know who is not related, but has taken a test. For example, I am a Jones descendant, through Alginon Gray. But I do not match Missouri Jones. This chart shows how I would not match Missouri genetically. I do not have any pink. :

There are many Jones and Thomas cousin marriages. So I will need help knowing people’s family lines before 1900. I will try the same approach I did to solve a DNA mystery on Fannie Gray’s husband’s side of the family, from 1918. There were several cousin and step-siblings in that project, as I know will be the case with this project. We will be comparing how people match George & Missouri’s descendants and how they match me. We have several unknown lines:

  1. Missouri’s father: paternal line (aqua on chart above)
  2. Missouri’s father: maternal line (brown on chart above)
  3. African American & Jane’s baby: male paternal line (orange on chart)
  4. African American & Jane’s baby: male maternal line (green on chart)
  5. George Harper’s mother: maternal line
  6. George Harper’s father: paternal line
  7. George Harper’s father: maternal line

First I will chart if people had a test, and if they match me or my grandparents. Also, if or how they match Missouri’s family. Then I will make a color-coded chart to show how closely people are related to Missouri’s family, based on centimorgan (cM) closeness.

The shapes were the paper trail. The colors were the DNA trail. If you are willing to message with me, my email address is:

Previous post about this family and project.

Three Doctors From Mecklenburg

While looking through various Mecklenburg Court records on, I saw something of interest in the Circuit Court records: Doctor certificates from 1892 and 1893. There were only three records: Doctor Edward T. Hamilton, Doctor Edward R. Tarry, and Doctor Garland H. Carter. I looked to see what I could find about each man.

Edward T. Hamilton

The first man, Edward T. Hamilton, was born in Alabama, but found living in Boydton by the age of fourteen. He did not marry. While a practicing doctor, he lived with his sister, Annie Toone, in Boydton. His mother’s name was Lucy Tarry, and his middle name is Tarry. So, I wonder if he is related to the second doctor I found, doctor Edward R. Tarry. This is Edward Tarry Hamilton’s medical certificate at the Mecklenburg, Virginia Courthouse:

I found all three doctors in a digitized record collection on FamilySearch called ‘United States Deceased Physician File’. This link shows images and tells about the collection.

Here is a direct link to search the collection.

This is the index transcription of this same collection that shows up on

Doctor Edward R. Tarry

Doctor Edward R. Tarry has an 1893 doctor’s certificate in Mecklenburg, but I haven’t found any other evidence that he practiced there. His obituary says that he moved to Omaha Nebraska in 1902 and that he was from Tarry’s Mill, Virginia. I found this 1911 map which shows that location. (Bottom center, on the state line)

Doctor Tarry’s obituary also said that he married Miss Alpha Fields in July 1917, and that he had a daughter named Virginia. He was listed in the 1910 Omaha City directory as a doctor, renting No. 222 – Bee building.

This findagrave link shows his obituary and an advertisement for his practice which includes his picture.

marriage record on
Dr. Tarry’s family, the year after his death.
Edward Tarry’s medical certificate in Mecklenburg,VA courthouse

Doctor Garland H. Carter

Doctor Garland H. Carter had a medical practice in Boydton in the same time period that Doctor Edward Hamilton also lived and practiced there. The 1920 Federal Census listed Doctor Garland Carter’s occupation as a town and country medical doctor. I think he lived near the intersection of Washington and Jones Streets, according to the census address notations. Doctor Carter lived to be ninety years old, dying from a cerebral vascular accident.

Do you know any stories about these doctors, or any other doctors in Mecklenburg County before 1960? If so please comment below.

Patterns of Moving: Before Mecklenburg

Whenever I feel stuck researching my family history, I try to think about patterns. What is the normal pattern for this family? If they did something that breaks the normal pattern, why? What is the normal pattern for that time and place? One pattern I have noticed is that people moved in groups. They joined military units or were in the local militia together as neighbors. Moves often happened for economic reasons. People moved with close family and friends to a new place, the people they knew they could depend on for a new start.

I know about several early Mecklenburg families, but cannot personally document any of my ancestors born before 1800, or know where they lived before Mecklenburg- except for one line, and that is my Newman line. James B. Jones (Great Creek area) married Martha Newman. They raised 15 children! Martha’s death record said she was born in Orange, VA. At first, I thought that was a mistake because Martha’s father, Abner Newman was in a Mecklenburg unit during the War of 1812 and married in Brunswick County, Virginia in 1792. I kept searching for a some kind of connection to Orange County Virginia.  I discovered that when Martha’s father died she went to live with her grandfather in Orange. She, her mother, and siblings who had not yet married all moved to Orange.

Martha’s grandfather William Newman was born in Essex County, Virginia. He lived where the Occupacia Creek crosses Route 17, very close to the Rappahannock River. William Thomas lived between the Newmans and the Rappahannock River. The more I read the court books, the more I start to wonder about if several of my Mecklenburg ancestors lived in Essex first. William Newman’s next door neighbors were Walkers, Thomases, Joneses, Brookes, Moseleys, Kidds,  and Grays. (Even though I know my Grays immigrated from County Armagh, Ireland in 1838). I see all those family names as neighbors to the Newmans  for 100 years in Essex County.  Because farms were failing in Essex county during the 1750’s and 1760’s, some people started to move to Caroline County and Orange County.  William Newman worked for many years for John Baylor and his wife Frances Walker who had farms in both Caroline and Orange counties. Mrs. Baylor had a brother who settled in Brunswick County, Virginia. Three Walker brothers (whose father was born in Essex), married three of Martha’s sisters. (William Newman’s grandchildren.) I know that these are common British surnames, but I can’t help wondering when I see these families as next door neighbors in Essex for 100 years, and then see these same names as close neighbors in Eastern Mecklenburg. That’s a pattern I don’t plan to ignore or think of as just a coincidence. It is true that a lot of people migrated from Isle of Wight and Surry counties to Mecklenburg, but now I am studying the early Essex (Old Rappahannock County) migration route to Mecklenburg.

This map shows the path that my Newman family traveled from 17th century  Essex county, to 1810 in Mecklenburg. When I find more connections to colonial families or where families  were before they came to Mecklenburg, I will share them here.  On the map below, I have marked landmarks closest to where William Newman, then where his granddaughter Martha Newman lived. The route displayed is the current highway/ travel route.

William B. Jones deposition about Revolutionary War in Mecklenburg, VA

This is the second deposition of my ancestor William B. Jones for John Carroll. I love this deposition for several reasons: He talks about growing up in the same “neighborhood” as John Carroll, going to the same school as John Carroll, and that his brother John Jones was serving with John Carroll. William vividly remembers his brother John Jones and John Carroll were soldiers in the Revolutionary War because of an event that happened while he was helping bring horses to them at their headquarters at Taylor’s Ferry on the Roanoke river. A gang of men tried to steal their horses. William said he would never forget that when the men surrounded them on the Allen’s Creek bridge over the Roanoke, his horse got spooked. The men had taken up planks in the middle of the bridge, but his horse leaped over the large gap, causing both William and his horse to escape from the gang. I don’t know the year of the event. But William would have only been a young boy, possible a young teenager. Based on the age given in this deposition and the 1850 Census, William would have been nine years old in 1776.

I’m curious what school William Jones and John Carroll went to. I wonder if they boarded at a school in a private home, or if they visited an actual school each day. I also wonder what area William considered his neighborhood. As an adult he lived just north of Nellie Jones Rd, a rural farming area in present day Bracey, VA.

Taylors Ferry info from Reg Cook: Taylors Ferry is due south of and presently accessed from Boydton, across Jefferson St. extended, at the old Randolph Macon College. Historical Marker is on new Rt. 58, just North. Believe Ferry date was ca. 1746, There was a Tri County “Powder Magazine” at “Banks Old Store”

Taylor’s Ferry historical marker.

Note: This William B. Jones was son of William Jones, and father of Zachariah and James B. Jones, of the Great Creek area.

(Above) Horse story, part of the images and my typed transcription for download (PDF) here:

See William’s first deposition, a year earlier

Mecklenburg, VA: War of 1812 Militia

Researching records from the War of 1812, I have found three militia units with men from Mecklenburg County, all in the 1st Virginia militia, under Colonel Byrne. Militia men typically served for three months during the war of 1812. I’ll be posting information about various men from Mecklenburg who served in these three militia units soon.

The captains of the three units were:

  1. Captain William H. Cousins: 28 August to 30 Nov 1814.
  2. Captain William Grigg: 29 August to 4 December 1814.
  3. Captain John J. Moore: 31 August to 30 Nov 1814.

The more that I study the men in these three units, the more I see neighbors, friends, and their families who married each other. My ancestors who served in the war did not file for pensions. So, I learned more about my ancestors by reading the pension records of other men in the unit. War of 1812 Pension records gave proof of marriage, with deposed witnesses stating they attended the wedding or other information they knew about the veteran. All three of the Mecklenburg militia groups guarded the Virginia waterways, particularly: the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the waterways in Norfolk.

Captain John J. Moore led one of the militia groups from Mecklenburg, Virginia. Averett King’s pension record says the men in this group signed up in Lombardy Grove. The payroll heading says “Pay Roll of a company of Virginia Militia, commanded by Capt. John J. Moore, of the First Regiment, in the Service of the United States, from the 31st August to the 30th November 1814, both days inclusive, under the command of James Byrne, Colonel Commandant.”

Not all of the men in the unit show up on all the payroll lists. For example, my ancestor Newman Dortch served in Captain Moore’s company. Newman shows up on a payroll list, but another man who served in the company, Averett King, does not. Yet several other men on the payroll list at the Library of Virginia, witness that Averett was in their company. I have found more men on Fold3, and in land bounty records than on some of the original payroll lists from these Mecklenburg units. This information will gradually be added to the military section of this site, under genealogical resources.

Newman Dortch does not have a pension record, but he does have a military record at the National Archives. The pages below the map are his entire file. He was at Powell’s Creek, which is in Prince William County, Virginia, where Powell’s Creek and Potomac meet.

This record, in summary, is Newman Dortch granting his Captain power of attorney to collect pay for him. It states that Newman was a Quarter Master, that they were at Powell’s Creek and that he was living in Mecklenburg. Presley Hinton signed this record for the county. His title was covered up but could be a Justice of the Peace or a clerk.

For more information about Virginia and the War of 1812: