Category Archives: DNA

DNA research related

More on DNA tracing

It’s been a while since I’ve updated anything, mostly because it’s been a while since we’ve had any new information to share.

Genetically, it’s no longer a question of us knowing the McCurdy family is connected.  Through autosomal DNA we have connections that fit tidily with at least 4 of the children of Elijah McCurdy and Ann Harris. We still cannot distinguish which daughter we (the descendants of John McCurdy Williamson) are descended from however. ‘Harriet’ could still be Sarahtee H.C. or Rebecca H. so the search continues.
We also have at least one match descended from Ann’s brother Thomas Harris, and, when I find it again, one to a sibling or uncle of Elijah McCurdy (I forget which just now).
That seems to confirm we’ve pinpointed the right family since we can match the families of both parents. 

This still does not tell us who the heck John Williamson was. We know, according to Ann Harris McCurdy’s will that both Sarahtee and Rebecca had the last name of Williamson at the time, we know that according to Aunt Violet’s Bible John M’s father was John Williamson, his mother was Harriet McCurdy. Those two folks seem to have vanished into the ether however.

As usual, I start writing, start looking for supporting material, and fall into the rabbit-hole.. these few paragraphs were started several hours ago, and I’ve been chasing threads ever since. 
The public tree is here:  and is as up to date as I can make it for now.


Harriett McCurdy found?

Over 15 years ago, back before the turn of the century even, I posited that our John McCurdy Williamson was the son of who we then identified as Sarahtee McCurdy, daughter of Elijah McCurdy and Ann Handy Harris. All we knew then was that Sarahtee, and her sister Rebecca, had both married Williamson men.

Over the years we could find no proof of this, but little things constantly led back to that theory. John’s middle name, McCurdy was an easy clue. John also using the names McCurdy, Harris and Elijah for his children, either first or middle names seemed a lead .

Later I discovered, after Y-DNA testing, that our line matched Williamson’s who were in Wilson County, TN and Williamson County, TN. Both are not far north of Lincoln County, where the McCurdy family had moved to before 1820. In Lincoln county on the 1830 census there is a John Williamson living right next door to Ann McCurdy (Ann has two entries on that census, the other being next door to her son Nathaniel, we’re not sure both are Ann Harris). Around that same time, Cheryl Pryor-VanHoose had scanned and sent me a page from an old family bible that listed the names of John McCurdy’s parents.. Simply, John Williamson and Harriet McCurdy.

So, I searched those southern Middle Tennessee counties looking for evidence of our man John McCurdy Williamson, and found something! John McCurdy Williamson enlisted in the US Army in 1847 for the Mexican War. He enlisted in Millersburg, Rutherford County, TN. Rutherford sits between Wilson and Williamson, and is 2 counties north of Lincoln, so right in the middle of my search area.

Still, this was not concrete proof, but put our guy in the area I expected to find him if we were correct. So now we have John M in Middle Tennessee, but I still must find his parents. Every John I can find in the area born before 1800 seems tied to other families, no McCurdy’s. Elijah and Ann’s daughters appear to be Rebecca and Sarahtee according to transcripts of Ann’s will. No Harriet listed anywhere.

Then along came Autosomal DNA, which fills in the middle blanks that Y-DNA and mtDNA don’t touch. With this testing you can find cousins, and ancestors anywhere in your tree, assuming the right dna segments are handed down along the generations.

Both Cheryl and I, on the Williamson line, have had this testing done and the results have connected both of us genetically to descendants of multiple children of Elijah McCurdy and Ann Handy Harris. We also have connections to the line of Thomas Harris, who was Ann’s brother, and to two McCurdy lines that intersect with Elijah McCurdy’s father and grandfather.

Those results seem to confirm that we are related to those lines, and the common connection is Elijah and Ann. To me this says it was one of their children who was John M’s mother, as we have long suspected.

I recently received an email from someone who had seen the Will of Ann Harris McCurdy in its handwritten format, whether this was a scan or the original I do not know, but she says it is possible that where previous transcriptionist had named one daughter Sarahtee H. C. Williamson, it is possible that the name is Harriett not Sarahtee.