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18 May 2020

Quarantine Quests: Quaker Connections

This Quarantine Quests story comes from CGS member Sandy Fryer, who used DNA and records from the Society of Friends to home in on an elusive ancestor.

Those of us whose ancestors had distinctive surnames have it much easier than those who struggle with a Smith, Murphy, Lee, or Jones. Sandy Fryer has to contend with a third-great-grandfather named Elverton Jones. Thank heavens he has an unusual first name. The only thing Sandy knows about this elusive ancestor’s birth is that he was born in Virginia about 1800.
Sandy created this table to help her keep track of yDNA connections
Traditional research methods have not enabled her to expand beyond these basic facts, so Sandy decided to submit a yDNA sample from her brother in hopes of finding new leads and paths to follow. Sandy joined the Jones DNA project and used FamilyTree DNA to identify other Joneses within a genetic distance of 3. These individuals have a 78% chance of having a common ancestor within six generations. Since Sandy lacks sufficient information to identify Elverton’s parents her strategy is to look at other Jones families in hopes of finding a common ancestor.

She started by looking at R.A. Jones, but fairly quickly proved that his family tree was only accurate to his third-great-grandfather.  Next, she focused on R.L. Jones, who had identified his Jones line back to a Richard Jones born about 1704.  Notably, this family line were Quakers and it was fairly easy to verify R. L. Jones’s work. Needless to say, doing this work is a painstaking effort requiring good record keeping–an ideal diversion while confined to one’s home during the pandemic.

A third lead is C.D. Jones, for whom Sandy has been able to document multiple generations. More importantly, she again confirmed a Quaker connection and documentation that Nathan Jones, C.D.’s fifth great grandfather served during the American Revolution–for which he was expelled from the Quakers.
One of the records Sandy found for Nathan Jones in a Roster of
Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia
This Quaker theme seems like a strong lead. The Quakers kept good records so Sandy’s next research steps will focus on Quaker connections. She asks, “If any of our members have experience researching Quakers, particularly in Virginia, please get in touch with me to share what you know.” Sandy can be reached at [email protected].

The member-posted family trees on Ancestry.com have aided Sandy in her search. Knowing that one cannot rely upon these trees as being accurate, Sandy has instead used the trees to find documentation that supports their claims and sometimes offers clues to other places where she can look for further documentation. Ancestry has pretty good Quaker records, which is also helping her make progress.
One of the Quaker sources Sandy found mentions Nathan Jones and
two of his brothers
Sandy created a table to help her keep track of the names and facts she is finding for each Jones candidate. Her table enables her to easily compare each individual by generation and associations. Sandy also created a family tree using her Legacy genealogy program for her yDNA connections. She uses this tree, which is separate from her primary tree, to keep each piece of information she finds along with her sources. She also uses Legacy to create reports that help her analyze her data.

Since using Ancestry Family Trees has helped Sandy make progress on her conundrum she admits to feeling a little guilty for not having shared her research on Ancestry. Now, she is reconsidering that decision and may share some portion of her tree publicly. 

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