Shrader update

I’ve been busy working with adoptee lines the last several months and have not been focusing on my own research.
So, yesterday I start poking back at my own dna matches and realize that none of the descendants of Adeline Fox I can find show ‘in-common’ matches to my Shrader known lines.
Did that make sense? I hope so…

Anyway, what that means for us is, the Shrader connections are ancestors of John McCurdy Williamson, not Sarah Fox.
We know the McCurdy line is pretty well documented by other researchers, it’s also a pretty safe guess, based on DNA evidence, that John M is descended then from Daniel Shrader and Patsey Rowsey given that I can trace matches on both of their trees lines. The problem being, I think those two families intertwined quite a bit so I could be wrong..
John M. was born in 1819 we think. Daniel Shrader was born in 1865, we know John M’s mother was a McCurdy, so if it was one of Daniels daughters who was his grandmother on the Williamson side she would have had to have his father by 1785-1800 I would think. Meaning grandma even if she was 15 when Dad was born needed to be born by 1780.. Daniel was only 15 and not married yet and Patsey would only have been 10…

So, I have successfully talked myself out of that train of thought… back to the drawing board.

John McCurdy Williamson’s Will

I’ve had a copy of the will for a while, but had never noticed the division of property until this morning.
(Odd grammar and misspellings are the writer’s, not mine)
“First i give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Sarah Williamson all my personal property also all of my real estate her natheral life and at her death the reamder thereof I give and devise to my said children as follows.
To my son John and Elija 6/7 six sevenths of all real estate
To my daughter Arminta 1/7 one seventh of all real estate and their heirs respectively to be devided as above stated out of the above real estate.”

Why were the other children left out? At first I thought it was the youngest children, but no, Alice was younger than Arminta.. so I don’t know. She was not single and living at home, she was married to Tom Dunn at the time. I guess he had a favorite daughter…

DNA & Shraders

I have not been able to pinpoint this one yet, but there are a lot of DNA matches for our little clan the connect to a Shrader line, specifically back to Daniel Shrader b. 1765 and his wife Patsey Rowsey b. 1770, both in Amherst , Virginia it seems.
I can find distant matches leading back to both sides of that marriage, so they are the common thread and those of us descended from John McCurdy Williamson and Sarah Fox are descended from Daniel and Patsey as well I think, I just don’t know if they are on the Williamson side or Fox side yet.
I think there may be a bit of an issue there because it is possible we are double related to the Fox family. The more I dig the more I think that is likely.
John M’s mother was most certainly one of the two daughters of Elijah McCurdy and Ann Harris. Elijah McCurdy’s mother was a Fox. but listed as from Pennsylvania, so maybe related to our Carolina Foxes, maybe not. We do know the McCurdy’s went from PA to South Carolina, so it’s plausible that so did the Fox’s.
Where do the Shraders come in? Well, I can put some of them in Warren County, TN, and surrounding areas, in the 1820’s and onward, which is where Elijah Fox was in 1820’s/1830’s.
I have traced lines for 3 of Daniel and Patsey’s children, I have 11 dna matches through their daughter Elizabeth, 9 more through their son Daniel and 1 who appears to be descended from (on paper) a George Shrader who may have been Daniel’s son by a woman other than Patsey, this one is unconfirmed and the match is only at 7cM which is far lower than I normally work with.
I have an additional 14 matches downline from Daniel’s sister Anna who married a Hager.
There are also a handful more matches descended from 2 of Patsey’s siblings as well. which confirms for me that Daniel and Patsey are the marriage that I was looking for there, since I can match both sides of that particular union.
Some of us have been looking for these answers for decades now.. so I am in the process of chasing every line descended from those two that I can trace, in hopes of finding what we need to identify Sarah Fox’s family (I think that’s where this ends up).

16 January 2020

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.


DNA for tracing the trees

Slowly, but surely, we’re able to fill in some blanks in the trees using DNA.
John McCurdy Williamson and Sarah Fox had 7 children, Sarah had 4 daughters with her first husband as well, only one of which lived to adulthood and had children of her own.

Of those 8 children we have DNA results from descendants of 6 so far.
That supports the following –
Annie Adeline Lee married Anderson Strader, we have several (I’ll fill in later) confirmed descendants who have taken DNA tests.

Florence Williamson married Jasper McIlvoy, and we have quite a few samples there as well. This includes, 1 person who did not know her mother, was raised by her father, but I was able to identify a family for, and place her on the tree, and 1 who we know is a cousin on that line but was adopted and we have not been able to figure out who her parents were, and after some searching we were able to locate her mother, and confirm her family line. DNA has been very helpful in these two cases.

James Harris Williamson – married Jeanette Dutcher, they had 7 children, currently we only have a dna kit from 1 line, James’ son Thomas’ line via his son Travis.

Amanda Williamson married Henry Hall – of their 8 children we have DNA samples from 2 lines.

Alice Williamson was married 3 times, children from 2 of them. We have 1 sample via her husband John Maddox, none yet from the Riseling daughters.

John Anderson Williamson – married twice, 1 daughter by his first wife, and 7 children by his second wife, Monie Straub. We have DNA tests from 5 people through 3 of the 7 children of Monie.
Through Clara Williamson and her husband John Strader, via their daughter Rita we have Lori Agee.
Through Violet Williamson and her husband Russ Pryor we have Cheryl Pryor VanHoose.
Through Louis Elijah Williamson “Lige” and wife Mary Pace, via their son James Anderson Louis Williamson and his first wife Pat Kinsella, there is myself and John Williamson. (Despite those that deny this last, there’s too much Pace blood for it to be otherwise, so those that deny the facts, too bad, you’re just wrong)                           
Through Louis Elijah Williamson “Lige” and wife Mary Pace, via their son James Anderson Louis Williamson and his second wife Kaye Mahon we have Michelle Williamson Keck.

Elijah Harris Williamson – the youngest of Sarah and John’s children, married 3 times as well. His granddaughter Debra, via his second wife Maggie and their son Randall, recently submitted her DNA sample to give us one from that line as well.

Between all of the above autosomal DNA tests matches, and the Y-DNA testing done by John and me, you’d think we’d have a clearer picture, but not so.. we still need a paper trail to make sure things are right. We know through all of the auDNA testing that we’re connected to the McCurdy’s of Abbeville, S.C., then Lincoln County, TN, but we cannot find John M’s parents yet, just names in an old Bible, no paper trail.
The Y-DNa tells us we’re related to a Williamson line in West Virginia and Kentucky, that of Alden Williamson and to another in South Carolina, while also to a third out of Virginia, where the first two likely lead back to as well. Again, no paper trail, and no progress.

The auDNA though might be leading us to finding out who Elijah Fox (Sarah’s father) was, more and more matches on that side, and the pieces are coming together. We also have a connection through Sarah’s sister Adeline, two good matches through her daughter Ida, to Ralph Brown.

If you’re family, and you’re interested, get in touch with me. I’ll share what I have. Aunt Cheryl (Cheryl VanHoose) also has done a lot of research on these and other connections and can fill you in.

DNA connections..

I use multiple sites to share and find data.  for Autosomal DNA for Autosomal DNA for Autosomal, mtDNA and Y-DNA for Y-DNA interpretation also does Autosomal testing for Y-DNA and full genome sequencing


Then there are sites that are useful as tools, as well as some softwares that help with putting all this data into something that might make sense.


(This is a ‘work in progress’ post, and will be updated later)

DNA & Other things

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d update a little.

Dear old John M. & Sarah had 7 children together, and Sarah had 2 surviving children from her first marriage. That’s 9 children to follow.

We have Y-DNA samples from two of John Anderson Williamson’s male descendants and auDNA samples from 4 of his descendants.
We have an auDNA sample from Amanda’s line.

We have an auDNA sample from Alice’s line.


I have been in touch with cousins from the following lines, and hope to eventually convince some of them (you) to test autosomal DNA with Ancestry.
2 more folks on Amanda’s line

1 from Arminta’s line

3 from Florence’s line

Several now from James H.’s line. mostly through his son Tom, but 2 now through Eugenia who married James Wray.

So, if you’re reading this, and you know you’re a cousin.. please consider testing. I recommend testing first with You can download the raw data from them and upload it for free to and also upload to for $39 (or free if your patient enough)
If you need help with that, get in touch with me.

So, what has DNA done for my research? So far it seems to have confirmed the McCurdy connection (see earlier posts) but still has not led to a paper trail.
It has helped me with some other lines though.

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.