It’s hard to undo errors in history when, as the living, we’re out there unknowingly perpetuating untruths. Most people don’t have the understanding needed to sort the facts or are simply happy just to be able to tell a story. Others, having gone long down the wrong path, are unwilling to make changes, even knowing that change is right and needed. We’re all a little guilty of this. Like Forest Gump, we run our race and when tired, are ready to just end it where we stand. It seems the larger the family circle gets, the harder it is to keep the story intact.
For my ancestor Benjamin Thomas, it has been very easy for generations to believe that he was the son of Stephen Thomas whose family settled in Anson County after removing from Maryland. Blatantly wrong, this belief ignores deeds in which Stephen’s Benjamin sold land in Richmond County NC prior to moving to Tennessee and on to Mississippi. It also ignores differences in naming traditions and hints of other possible beginnings. My Benjamin came to Anson County as the son of Stephen was moving west. And truth be known, we do not know the ancestry of my Benjamin Thomas of Anson County NC. We do however know well of his male descendants and also of others who share our DNA.
The following two tables show the earliest known ancestor along with DNA markers attached to their corresponding haplogroup. By definition, a haplogroup is:
“a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor having the same single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation in all haplotypes”
…whew, that’s a lot of definition!! In other words, these folk can be traced back through time, location and migration collectively through their shared DNA.
DNA from descendants of Stephen Thomas indicates that he belongs to the I-M223 Haplogroup with early roots in northwest Europe. From results (family pedigree 187) found on the THOMAS FAMILY PROJECT at FamilytreeDNA, numerous members of the family spanning well beyond the immediate descendants of Stephen share the same markers. The results validate family histories as well as much of their supporting written documentation.
Edmund Thomas 1549 Kent England
Benjamin Thomas who first appeared in the late 1770’s Anson County is also represented by numerous descendants who share a common DNA. From results (family pedigree 100) found on the THOMAS FAMILY PROJECT at FamilytreeDNA, our Benjamin belongs to Haplogroup R-M269. With roots in sub-Saharan Africa, this group spread north and west through Spain and UK.
Benjamin Thomas 1778 Anson County NC
From the very different DNA, it’s clear and undeniable that Benjamin Thomas of Anson County is not a member of the Stephen Thomas family. Equally exciting are the results and implications from participants whose DNA match mine and who are not believed to be descendants of Benjamin Thomas of Anson NC. More on their stories later.
Keep on running!