Thursday, November 25, 2010

Navy Hero, Captain Edwin Taylor Pollock

Today's Wikipedia features a front page story of Captain Edwin Taylor Pollock, USN, who became the 1st Governor of the U. S. Virgin Islands and the 8th Governor of American Samoa.  Pollock's mother was Olive Orlinda Taylor.  Her father was Edmond Taylor, born 27 August 1789 in Buckland, Massachusetts.  Edmond's father was Enos Taylor (also born in Massachusetts), 1751-1836.

Are any of you related to this Taylor descendant?

Pollock c. 1923


Friday, September 3, 2010

Searching Taylor Family Trees in the Taylor Surname Project

Will Abstracts, Belmont County, Ohio, Vols. A, B, and C (1810-1827)

Participants in the Surname Project have the opportunity to submit family trees.  In fact, they are strongly encouraged to do so, as well as to send in updated information if they discover changes.  However with almost 400 participants, it was hard to find information across the membership.  Now, with the single link below, you can search for given names, locations, migration patterns... 

I've just spent a pleasant hour searching around looking for a collatoral Taylor line.  Like many of you, I descend from two Taylor lines, and the "other" one I don't have a direct male descendant to test.  So I was looking to see if that line is already in the database.  It appears not to be, but more searching or a different approach may help me find the right line. 

In the meantime I have a couple of Taylor groups that were in the right locations at the right time in US history to be possible contenders.

Best wishes for your successful ancestoral search!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Beginning Steps to using Family Finder or Autosomal DNA Tests

We are getting queries and getting results with the new Family Finder test available from Family Tree DNA.  There are many benefits to using Family Finder.  One is to confirm how collatoral branches of families link together.  This will become quite useful to the Taylor project over time.  Even today we have "matches" where we can confirm that two or more individuals with different pedigrees have "related" DNA, but we do not know from the y-DNA or the paper trail exactly where the lines converge into a common ancestor.

With Family Finder we should be able to see where two (or more) lines converge if it is within the last seven generations.  This is because Family Finder works best with relationships at the 5th cousin or closer range. 

One of the steps in using Family Finder, other than submitting a sample, is to provide a list of surnames in your family line.  I have done this for my direct line and will include it below as an example.  Since the test goes out to fifth cousins, ideally you will go out to your seventh generation in lineage.  I have a couple of gaps, but most of my other 5 times great-grandparents are included.  Some of the surnames are duplicated, so that reduces the number and for some I give alternate spellings.

  • Augustus

  • Barteaux/Berteaux

  • Beall/Bell

  • Born

  • Bright/Brecht

  • Cassell

  • Crockwell

  • Dickerson

  • Foster

  • Gaston

  • Glover

  • Harbaugh

  • Hinton

  • Hockersmith

  • Hutt

  • Jackson

  • Johnson

  • LeCain

  • Leonard

  • Lingenfelter

  • Lockwood

  • Madden

  • McDonald

  • Mead(e)

  • Moore

  • Perry

  • Pope

  • Pulliam

  • Rice

  • Ritchie

  • Robinson

  • Ryerson

  • Scott

  • Simon

  • Smith

  • Spence

  • Springer

  • Starratt

  • Stone

  • Taylor

  • Vail

  • Wheat

  • Whitman

 Assembling that list of surnames will be vital to matching records--documented paper records--when you get a Family Finder match.  It's time to start your own list!
Lalia Wilson for the Taylor Surname Project

Friday, August 20, 2010

Taylor Project is Increasing and Getting Better

Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural History)

I've been less communicative in this blog lately, but Taylor work is proceeding.  The project as a whole is now over 380 members.  We've established goals and metrics to make sure we are progressing.  And we have been having busy "conversations" behind the scenes with the five active and two "retired" administrators.

In addition to the metrics, we've been struggling with making the project useful for all Taylors.  A major roadblock is that 85% of our members are of Western European haplotypes, yet we have a dearth of UK Taylors for comparison.  Taylor is one of the most common surnames among English speakers, which is exactly why so many Taylors become keenly interested in genetic genealogy.  There is no other way, sometimes, to distinguish us!

Consider these map suggestions from Alasdair MacDonald : "I had a wee look at several sites to get a handle of the distribution of the Taylor surname in the UK and in particular Scotland. You may already be familiar with them; they are helpful for initial general analysis:

"By clinking on the maps it shows the most prolific counties for the Taylor surname – the north east of Scotland is a stronghold:

"Similar information here:"

We thank Mr. MacDonald, a Scottish advocate of genetic genealogy, for this information.  If you look at the maps you will notice a strong convergence of Taylors in one region of Scotland.  Is any project member planning a trip there?  Take along information about Family Tree DNA, and plan to proselytize along the way!

Lalia for the Taylor Surname Project

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jeff Taylor's Genetic and Paper Genealogical Discoveries


Jeff Taylor is a member of the Taylor project.  He is part of family group 15.  Here is his story:

"Prior to submitting my DNA I was at a dead end. The only information regarding my most distant Taylor ancestor was found in the publication 'History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, ed. by William Henry Perrin, O. L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1882. p. 693.'  [The picture below is a modern photo of the Nicholas County jail and jailer's residence, built from 1820-23.  This is one of the historical sites of Nicholas County.]

"...His father, Jacob Taylor, came to Kentucky from Ohio, and died in Harrison County in 1818, aged about thirty-five;..."

"Based on this information the only clue I had was that my 3g-grandfather Jacob Taylor was born about 1783, had moved to Kentucky from Ohio, and died in 1818 in Harrison County, Kentucky, "about" 35 years of age.

"My 67 marker test resulted in one match with a genetic distance of -3. I contacted Mark Edwards and he kindly provided me with the name of Clara Sesler Genther who had authored a book entitled, "Ancestors and descendants of Taylor and Hager families of Madison and Union Counties, Ohio ..." Upon contacting Mrs. Genther I learned she still had a few copies available and ordered a copy from her. Interestingly, on page 42 there was a single notation for Jacob Taylor which stated "6. Jacob - came to Ohio but returned to Kentucky?" Based on the ages of his brothers Jacob would have been born about 1780.

"Based on DNA and the paper trail it appears that DNA has helped me make a connection to my Taylor family based on two sentences about Jacob Taylor which were published 100 years apart; and, thanks to Mrs. Genther's research, helped me trace my Taylor ancestry to Christopher Taylor who died in 1644 near Skipton, Yorkshire, England."

[Wikipedia states: The small town of Skipton in North Yorkshire, England has been around as far back as 1085, is listed in the Domesday Book, and has roles in history during the English Civil War and as the site of a prisoner-of-war camp during both World War I and World War II.  During the English Civil War, a Royalist garrison was situated at Skipton Castle, under the command of Sir John Mallory. It was the last remaining Royalist stronghold in North England until its honourable surrender on 20 December 1645 after a three-year siege.  Lalia's note: Christopher Taylor died a year before the end of the English Civil War.]

Jeff Taylor

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some new information about predicting appearance from DNA


As fans of genetic genealogy, we are always interested in new applications.  Here are a couple of articles about predicting appearance from a DNA sample:

Both of these articles feature a recent study that identified characteristics of a man who lived over 4,000 years ago.  His blood type was A+, he had indicators for male-pattern baldness, dark skin, and was likely stout or square of build.

It may be that within years there will be genealogical applications for this.  Could the future bring a DNA test that allows us to "see" some of our ancestors?

Lalia Wilson for the Taylor DNA Project

Monday, May 10, 2010

Taylors and Humankind

Greetings Taylors and Fans,

I've got a bunch of forthcoming articles about general Taylor topics. I'll give some hints here, and then send you to a very interesting site at BBC with information about human origins.

So, we now have over 350 members, and our project is growing every day. We have most information focused on the y-DNA project, but Taylors are also participating in mtDNA and autosomal DNA studies. (The Family Finder test is an autosomal DNA test.) Expect to hear more about all of these in future blogs.

First to come along, though, will be some information from project member Jeff Taylor who found cousins and his immigrant ancestor through our project. I'll have that information on the blog soon!

In the meantime, ever wondered about "Cave Man?" Are we related to the Neanderthals? Well, according to a recent article in the well-regarded and peer-reviewed journal Science, we are. See more at:

Lalia Wilson
for the Taylor DNA project

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Model Letter to Promote the Taylor Project

Hi Fellow Taylors!

Whenever I run into a new Taylor in my life, I tell them about the Taylor project. It's hard to explain in a simple soundbite, and sometimes I'm less than successful. So I met yet another Taylor Tuesday evening, and got his e-mail and sent him this letter. It is adapted from the letter we are now sending to anyone who contacts the project, without yet being a member. I recommend you take it and modify it to your needs. I'm wondering, myself, if it would be too OCD to carry copies in my purse to hand out...

See letter below.




Here is information about the Taylor DNA project, hosted by FTDNA (Family Tree DNA). It allows you and the rest of us find our ancestral lines. Our Taylor Family Genes project posts the DNA results and family trees for members of the project. The public is welcome to view our public page,, and to explore the FTDNA websites--which together have a wealth of information about genetic genealogy and about the Taylor project.

To become a member, you'll need to go to FTDNA,, and click on the "Products" tab at the top of the page and scroll down to the list of tests, then order a kit. There are many products available so we recommend our new members purchase the 37 DNA marker test (or the 67) because when you do get a match, it is easier to zoom in on the generation in which a common ancestor lived. These kits are for men. For Taylor women with no male Taylor to be tested, you have the option of following your maternal line, through testing mtDNA, or testing autosomal DNA, through the new Family Finder test. These two tests are also available to males.

Once your kit is turned in for processing there's about a 1 month waiting period for your results to come back. You can join the Taylor surname project at that time and we will request that you send your family tree to be posted on the site. Once your markers are in, FTDNA will post them and send you a certificate with all the data.

We hope this has given you the information to get you started. We look forward to you joining the 350 Taylors already participating in the project, who currently are sorted into about 35 family groups (i.e. related markers) and a number of "singles" awaiting family matches.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Source for Genetic Matching Information


I've come across another site that has information on genetic matching statistics. While this is not exactly how I would have presented it, it is easily understood and may be more accessible to you than what was presented here in earlier blogs.

To use these tables you will need to know the number of markers you have tested and the number that are different, if any, from a likely relative.

Please let me know your interesting stories.

Lalia Wilson for the Taylor Surname Project

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Anniversary of the Alamo Defeat

Hello Taylors and Friends,

Today is the anniversary of the day that the Alamo fell. The Alamo, for those who haven't seen the movies, read the books or had Texas history, is a fortress in modern-day San Antonio. Four Taylors were known to have served as defenders. Three were the Taylor brothers James, George and Edward, all born in Tennessee to Anson and Elizabeth Maley Taylor. The fourth was a William Taylor, about whom I have no more information. I do not know when William was born, who his family were, or whether he died at the Alamo or not. The first three Taylors are known to have died at the Alamo. Some Alamo defenders were transferred out, or sent as messengers, and thus did not die at the Alamo.

Among the 50 US states, Texas has a unique and proud history. The Alamo is part of that history. The final defense of the Alamo, in which 115 defended the Alamo against a Mexican force of 1500, killing 400 or more of them before dying themselves, is an example of bravery even today.

See the quote below from Wikipedia:

"James Taylor (ca. 1814-March 6, 1836) was a defender of the Alamo and the brother of George Taylor and Edward Taylor.

Taylor and his brothers were born in Tennessee, to Anson and Elizabeth Maley Taylor. At the outbreak of the Texas Revolution, the three brothers were employed picking cotton in Liberty, Texas. They soon left that job to join the Army of the Republic of Texas, and served under the command of Col. William Travis at the Alamo. All three were killed when, on March 6th, 1836, the Mexican army breached the Alamo walls, overwhelming the defenders. There have been some who have suggested that the brothers were killed in the massacre following the Battle of Goliad, but instead they were killed at the Alamo. Taylor County, Texas is named for the Taylor brothers."

Lalia Wilson for the Taylor Surname Project

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Decorated Taylor from WWII


I was looking up some material about Mannheim, Germany, when I came across this interesting bit of Taylor news. One of the US Army's military facilities in Mannheim is named for a Taylor hero of WWII.

You can see more about this at Wikipedia.

The barracks was named after Pvt. 1st Class Cecil V. Taylor who posthumously received a Silver Star for courage in the face of the enemy. Taylor continued to fire his machinegun, though mortally wounded, fighting off an enemy counterattack in Beilstein, Germany, on 18 April 1945. Taylor was assigned to 399th Inf Reg, 100th Infantry Division.

Lalia Wilson for the Taylor DNA Project

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Newly Available Technique at FTDNA


Family Tree DNA has announced to current members that they can do autosomal testing of their DNA. This new test is called Family Finder by FTDNA. So here's a quick explanation of what that means. If you are a member of a surname project, such as the Taylor project, you have had y-DNA tested. This is the Y-Chromosome which is inherited from father to son throughout history. The minor changes that occur in that chromosome happen such that over generations family lines separate. Y-DNA is extremely useful to determine one's patrilineal lineage.

Similarly mt-DNA is testing the genetic material that comes only from one's mother. She got it from her mother and so on back in history. Mitochondrial DNA mutates more slowly than y-DNA, making it less useful in following one's ancestors in historical time, but more useful, perhaps, for deep ancestral investigation.

Autosomal DNA is the DNA in the 22 chromosomes that do not include the final 23rd chromosome that determines whether we are male or female. Thus the remaining 22 chromosomes have genetic pieces from all our ancestors, not limited to our father's direct paternal line or our mother's direct maternal line.

Family Tree DNA proposes to test your sample, should you request the test, and compare it with their database of samples. They assert that with this test you can locate genetic relatives in the database from as far removed as 5th cousins. This would include relatives unknown to you, who may have been lost to your version of your combined family history. While the new autosomal testing will be administered separately from the surname project to which you belong, it will provide useful information that may enhance your knowledge of your family tree. See the quote below from the FTDNA website:

"Surname projects can use Family Finder to better define branches in a family tree. By using Family Finder testing, close Y-chromosome and mt-DNA matches without traditional records may be assigned to a pedigree with greater confidence. Even more exciting, surname projects may now bring female cousins into the project as additional evidence."

Lalia Wilson for the Taylor Surname Project