We've got a good-sized DNA project going. With the present technology, the tests use the Y-Chromosome father-to-son matches, meaning that the ones being tested are all males with the Taylor surname. The genetic traits change very slowly over time, making it easy to tell which Taylor men are related and, in some cases, how closely.
A sample from every unbroken male branch of William Warren Taylor & Elizabeth Taylor's descendants has been taken. From these samples we find there is no question as to what William's DNA Y-Chromosome markers were. The next objective was to test descendants of Joseph Taylor Jr. who married Sarah Best. Richard Gordon Taylor was a subject for this test. He is a descendant of William Taylor's brother Allen Taylor. His DNA exactly matches the pattern for the descendants of William, without a single mutation. Not only are William Warren T. & Allen T. brothers, but this indicates that Joseph Jr.'s Y-Chromosome DNA exactly matches with no mutations. One more test for a descendant of Joseph is still in the pipeline. This one will be for a descendant of Joseph Best Taylor, another brother of William Warren T. & Allen T. This will complete the male sampling for that generation. The logical next step is to look at descendants of Joseph Jr.'s father Joseph Sr., who married Nancy _____.
From there we will want to test descendants of Richard Taylor (planter) & Thomas Taylor (shipbuilder) who purchased land from Joseph Sr. Were they brothers, kinsmen, or just namesakes? We have already tested a presumed descendant of Richard. His name is Clayton Taylor, and he descends from Lemuel Taylor and Gillian Jones. He is definitely one of our Taylors! There are only two mutations difference between him and our Taylor pattern. (Some of William's descendants have one mutation, including Ron Taylor, himself, so two mutations is a very small difference.) In fact, Relative Genetics, the testing company, thinks a descendancy from Richard might be too far away. Further testing of possible descendants of Richard is needed to see whether Clayton might really descend from Joseph Sr. instead. Genetic testing is a step-by-step-by-step process!
Ron has also submitted tests of Taylors we think we are NOT related to, as a means of clearing up persistent family "legends," and in hopes of stumbling on a previously unsuspected branch. We are not only interested in filling out our line, but also in sorting out all of the early Taylors into families. Some of the indicators are:
- We are NOT related to Zachary Taylor. (Given the high death rate of colonial times, informal adoptions were not rare, so a single test is not proof, but taken with other genealogical documentation, you can safely bet on this one.)
- We are not related to the Moses Taylor family who was involved with our Taylor family in Warren County, Kentucky.
- We have found one or two instances of Taylors not related to us, who are related to each other.
- We have discovered that we have a "match" with an individual who was in Hamburg, Germany (a serviceman?) but this individual was participating in a study where the individual names are not furnished.
DNA testing is not cheap. We appreciate those who have donated funds to help with this study. As we branch out into Taylors with whom we have no known link, we will be performing a research service of interest to a much broader group. At this point we will look into obtaining a grant from some foundation interested in historical research. Relative Genetics has asked if we would like to feature our project in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. That would be a prestigious step and would generate even more attention than we have already received.
If you have questions. A number of articles on Genealogy through DNA are available on the Internet. Search for them with Google.