Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Passing of Di Ann Vick

Di Ann Vick, one of the leading researchers of Vick family history and long time member of the Board of Directors of the Joseph Vick Family of America died on December 13, 2009, at the age of 72. Di Ann was co-author of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants. Starting with the April 1993 issue of The Vick Family Newsletter she became its publisher. Then in July 1993 she became the co-editor of the newsletter. Finally, from January 1997 until May 2008, Di Ann was the editor of the newsletter. Di Ann was also the administrator of the Vick RootsWeb surname mail list since December 2002.

Her parents were Walter and Effie (Beckom) Vick. Di Ann was born on June 20, 1937, in Jefferson Co., TX, and she died in Philadelphia, PA. She was not married and has no descendants.

She will be missed greatly by those who are interested in Vick family history and the Joseph Vick Family of America.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Women Can Now Use Their DNA Test Results in Surname Projects

We have about 50 people who have been tested in our 23andMe VICK and Allied Families DNA Project, and 21 of them are women. Thirty-two of our project members are descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight Co., VA. Of the 32, 14 are women.

Some of these women are finding matches with other descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight Co., VA. The screenshot above shows a portion of Viola Potter’s 23andMe Relative Finder match list. Relative Finder predicted Viola Potter and Faye Paolino were 5th cousins with a range of 3rd to 8th cousin. Viola and Faye compared their pedigrees, and Vick is their only shared surname. They are 7th cousins one time removed, so the prediction is in the range.

We have just begun to collect results from project members, but Faye and Viola are not alone as other female project members are also reporting matches with other project members. Once we collect all the results, these women’s matches will be very helpful in our efforts to reconstruct our Vick family trees.

The Relative Finder Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) state that the odds of two people matching who are as distantly related as Viola and Faye are less than five percent. Fortunately, we have enough project members that we are finding matches even though the average project member is not closely related to the other project members. Of course, we are also benefiting from what we learn from matches with non-project members.

Getting all the data and analyzing it will be a lot of fun. Since new people are ordering 23andMe tests every day we will continue to get new results which help us learn even more about our Vick family history.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

We Are Starting to Weave Together Our 23andMe Vick and Allied Families DNA Project Results with Results from Our Vick Y-DNA Surname Project

We have about 50 men and women who have tested at 23andMe through our Vick and Allied Families DNA Project. 23andMe tests single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from all 23 pairs of our chromosomes and our mitochondrial DNA. Twelve of the men in our 23andMe project are also members of our Vick Y-DNA Surname Project. The members of our Y-DNA surname project have had Y-DNA short tandem repeat (STR) tests. These Y-STR tests are the “gold standard” for those who want to explore just their patrilineal line (i.e. their father’s, father’s…line). Eleven of the men who are in both projects match the Y-DNA signature of Joseph Vick of Isle of Wight Co., VA. Joseph was born about 1640-1650. The twelfth may be descended from a Vick female.

To understand one-way we might use the 23andMe data in reconstructing our Vick family tree, a few of us have begun to share screenshots of our Relative Finder match lists and our Family Inheritance screens. Ralph Lewis Vick is one of the men who had both types of testing. Ralph’s Y-STR results matched the Y-STR signature of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight Co., VA.

Jesse Mayfield is Ralph’s second cousin. Their most recent common ancestors are Benjamin Henry Vick and his wife Mary Ann Elizabeth Turner. Jesse has also been Y-STR tested. However, since Jesse is not a patrilineal descendant of his Vick ancestor he cannot use his Y-STR results to support his VICK ancestry. His Y-DNA came from his father who is not a Vick descendant. Both Ralph and Jesse have been tested by 23andMe. Using their SNP results, 23andMe’s Relative Finder correctly predicted that Ralph and Jesse were second cousins.

Because of their match at 23andMe we have strong support that Jesse’s pedigree is correct and that he is also a descendant of Joseph Vick. Before 23andMe’s Relative Finder, Jesse could only ask his closest male VICK cousin to take a Y-STR test and then argue that his cousin’s results should also be extended to him. Now because of Relative Finder Jesse can show that his second cousin is his second cousin and that Jesse’s own DNA supports his Vick ancestry.

I love the way results from the two projects help us in our efforts to reconstruct our Vick family tree. I cannot wait to apply this technique to other non-patrilineal Vick close cousins of other men who have or will test in both projects.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

23andMe's Relative Finder Helps Us Find Interesting Things About Our Shared Ancestry

In our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project at 23andMe our DNA helps us learn about more than just our Vick ancestry. 23andMe offers us the opportunity to use a suite of tools to explore our connections to all our cousins that Relative Finder identifies in the 23andMe database (and that list is growing).

One of the tools is Ancestry Painting. Ancestry Painting shows us what percent of our DNA can be traced to three geographic origins: Europe, Asia, and Africa. For Americans, Asian may mean Native American, since Native Americans came to North America from Asia.

By looking at our Ancestry Paintings we learned my mother and my wife each have an African segment. My wife’s segment is on chromosome 6 while my mother’s segment is across the centromere on chromosome 12. The first screenshot above shows my wife’s African segment and the second one shows my mother’s African segment. At first I thought these segments were artifacts that perhaps only indicated the segments had not been found commonly in European populations.

Then 23andMe’s Relative Finder said my mother and my wife matched the same man. As the third screenshot shows, he had seven African stretches in his Ancestry Painting (about one percent African). Finding this match made me think my wife and my mother had a more recent common ancestor who probably had an African American ancestor. Since both my wife’s and my mother’s roots in America are deep, I thought there might be some shared ancestry from a slave. Unfortunately, I have not been able to talk to the man both my mother and wife match to find out what he knows about his ancestry.

In the early 1990’s I went with my mother to visit her mother’s cousin. My mother mentioned to him that I was collecting family history information on my father’s side, and the man said we had a very interesting family history on my mother’s side also. He could not read or write (although he ran a successful business), but from his sharp memory he told me what he knew about our ancestry. What he said about one line in particular stuck in my mind. It was his patrilineal line the GRAYs. He explained that the Grays were really Grahams and that my mother’s great grandfather, James T. Gray, changed the family surname when he relocated from Union Co., KY, to Hancock Co., KY (I have found records which verify his statement). In tracing the line he told me he had been able to learn that my mother’s second great grandfather Isaac Jasper Graham had married an Elizabeth Collins. He said she was from the Cumberland Gap, and he recalled Newman Ridge being mentioned in connection with her. That was as far back as he had been able to go with the line.

Last week, my mother, my daughter, and I all matched the same lady. This lady has about 35 African segments (about seven percent African ancestry) and about 21 “Asian” (likely American Indian) segments which is about two percent “Asian” ancestry (see the fourth screenshot).

I called our new match and she told me that her Collins line had intermarried with the Goins family, and that her grandfather said the Goins line was African American. Looking on sites with information about Melungeon ancestry, I see Collins, Graham, and Goins are all surnames found in Melungeon histories. I also learned that Newman Ridge is in Hancock Co., TN (not to be confused with Hancock Co., KY).

I do not think anyone in our families (on either side) would have believed we could have an African segment and no one would believe we could have Melungeon ancestry. I doubt anyone in our family would know what Melungeon is.

From talking to the woman I learned there are two possibilities for who our Elizabeth was. One of the Elizabeth’s would have been too young to be ours, so that leaves the second one. Thanks to 23andMe’s Relative Finder, with more research I should be able to document the source of my mother's African segment. We will have learned something new about our ancestry from our DNA.

Next, I have to figure out how my wife’s family ties in. Finding people who share a common ancestor with both my mother and my wife is very interesting. Knowing the common ancestry appears to be Melungeon ancestry will really generate some conversation at the next family reunion.

The 4th cousin of our match is awaiting her 23andMe results. I hope she matches at least one person in my family and the man my wife and mother match. It would be good to get another link. I suspect as the database grows at 23andMe, and especially if they provide project management tools, we will be able to answer many family history questions (and discover many new things about our shared ancestry).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Vick Family History on CNN

On November 18, 2009, Bob Stubbs and I were interviewed by Deborah Feyerick of CNN for a segment on The Campbell Brown Show. The segment aired on December 2nd. While our interview dealt largely with how Bob and I used 23andMe’s Relative Finder to discover our common Young line, the interview does include a few comments I made on my Vick family history. You can see the whole segment by clicking here. The Spittoon has a link to just the interview here.

It was a real pleasure to meet Bob in person. Deborah Feyerick, Sheila Steffen (the producer) and Alfredo (the videographer) made it a very special family reunion. I we feel like our CNN friends are part of our family too. Finally, 23andMe continues to open many new windows into my family history, it is a great tool for genetic genealogy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ebenezer "Eben" Vick

In Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants John D. Beatty and Di Ann Vick wrote on page 380 that Ebenezer “Eben” Vick might be a descendant of either John4 (Benjamin3, Robert2, Joseph1) or Benjamin3’s son Josiah4. Eben was born on 31 Mar 1792, in North Carolina, and died on 27 Feb 1860, in Logan County, Kentucky.

The authors also said on page 381 “Some have even suggested that Eben was the illegitimate son of Presley Nelms and an unknown Vick woman. That seems extremely unlikely. Not only have no bastardy bonds been found in North Carolina to support this assertion, but, more importantly, if he were illegitimate, naming his children after the Nelms would flaunt his illegitimacy before both his wife and his middle-class associates…proof of Eben’s parentage will probably never be found.”

The one thing a Y-DNA test can do is show whether two men share a recent common patrilineal ancestor. A descendant of Eben’s son Presely William VICK had his Y-DNA tested at Family Tree DNA. The results showed that this descendant did not have Joseph1’s Y-DNA signature and that he did not share a common patrilineal ancestor with the proven Joseph1 descendants for thousands of years. Recently, a descendant of Eben’s son James Council also had his Y-DNA tested. His results also show that his line does not share a common patrilineal ancestor with the proven Joseph1 descendants for thousands of years. So it is highly likely that none of Eben’s descendants are patrilineal descendants of Joseph1.

Another descendant of Eben’s son Presley William has submitted a DNA sample for testing as part of the VICK and Allied Families DNA Project at 23andMe. His results might shed some light on whether an “unknown Vick woman” was Eben’s mother.

If you are a male VICK and you are interested in joining our VICK Y-DNA Surname Project (or know one who is interested in joining), Family Tree DNA has just announced its Holiday Sale. You can take advantage of FTDNA’s reduced prices for surname project participants by ordering at this link


FTDNA says “Our Holiday Season promotion will bring back the discount that we offered this summer for the Y-DNA37, since this has been requested by many of our project administrators.

Y-DNA37 – promotion price $119 (reg. price $149)
Y-DNA67 – promotional price $209 (reg. price $239)”

Hopefully, 23andMe will also announce a holiday sale for those who would like to be tested as part of our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project at 23andMe.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Success in Our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project

We have a second descendant of our immigrant ancestor Joseph VICK who has 23andMe test results that match the STRICKLAND descendant mentioned my last blog. The first match is a descendant of Joseph2's daughter Patience while the second match is a descendant of Joseph2's son Matthew. Like with the first match, we will compare pedigrees and see if there is another shared line that could account for this match. Joseph2 is the son of Joseph1 (the immigrant born circa 1640-1650).

The second match was also in 23andMe’s Relative Finder’s “Distant Cousin” category, but he didn’t even rate a range for possible cousins. This second match had one shared segment and .13 percent shared DNA.

The first match was also predicted as a “Distant Cousin” but with a range of 9th to 10th cousin, one shared DNA segment, and .16 percent shared DNA.

This adds more hope that by testing more patrilineal descendants of Joseph2 in our FamilyTree DNA VICK Y-DNA Surname Project that we can find a match for the two male STRICKLANDs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Early Potential Success at 23andMe for the Vick and Allied Families DNA Project

While our VICK Y-DNA Surname Project participants almost all test at FamilyTree DNA we found a couple of matches at the old Relative Genetics (now Ancestry DNA) who didn't have the VICK surname. These two men did have the same surname and matching Y-DNA signatures. The two men didn’t match other men with their surname in their Relative Genetics project. Because our VICK ancestor’s Y-DNA signature (haplotype) is fairly rare (we are haplogroup Q1a3*) we were reasonably confident these two men's patrilineal ancestor was a VICK (their research can't extend their line in a county with many VICKs around the time of their ancestor’s birth in 1810). We ran into a problem trying to figure out which of our VICK ancestor’s sons these two men were descended from. They didn’t have enough markers to isolate a line and Relative Genetics didn’t test all of the markers that are branch informative for the VICKs. Compounding the problem was that the two men didn't want to submit new samples for testing at FTDNA. So, we seemed to be at a dead end.

When 23andMe came along we thought 23andMe was worth at try. We looked for someone to test in the two men's line so we could compare their results with the VICKs in our 23andMe project. The nice thing about 23andMe was that we could test women who were descendants of our VICK ancestor and non-patrilineal male VICK descendants. We weren't limited to male VICKs.

While we still have to go through the pedigrees and ensure we can find no other explanation, I still have to smile when I look at our 23andMe match of a non-patrilineal male VICK with a female descendant of the two men's line.

This match at least makes me see that 23andMe has promise. By the way, the match was in the “Distant Cousin” category for those who are looking at them at 23andMe and wondering about how useful they may be. The predicted range was 9th to 10th cousin, which could well be correct. We haven't had a match between two project members who are so distantly related in the VICK line.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vick and Allied Families DNA Project Is Digging for Roots

On October 3, 2009, the Vick and Allied Families DNA Project had 43 members. That was a far better start than I expected. We will have a few more project members in the next week as we confirm that others also ordered kits.

Of the 43 project members, we know the Vick lines of 25 (12 project members are spouses or do not have a Vick line). Two other project members come from lines (Ezekiel Strickland and Barry Holland) which Y-DNA testing shows are very likely descended from Joseph. An additional two members may have an unproven Vick female ancestor. Further, two project members are descended from a Strickland line that does not share a Y-DNA signature with the Joseph Vick descendants. The Stricklands and the Vicks have many family connections.

Ten of this project’s members are also members of the VICK Y-DNA Surname Project, and they share Joseph’s Y-DNA signature. Having a confirmed Y-DNA match will be beneficial in making comparisons to closely related members (male and female).

We are using a company named 23andMe for our testing in this project since the company we use for our VICK Y-DNA Surname Project does not offer this type of testing. 23andMe has a new tool called “Relative Finder” that I am beta testing. Relative Finder will be very useful.
Relative Finder has two parts. The first part finds expected relatives in the 23andMe database. The second part allows you to send a share request to a match but you won't know the person's identity unless your share request is accepted.

At the moment I can see "matches" in the 23andMe database (although I don't have access to their identity unless they are already sharing with me). For each match Relative Finder shows me the number of shared segments and % of Shared DNA, as well as the mitochondrial haplogroup and Y haplogroup (for a male).

Relative Finder predicts the degree of relationship. I was surprised at how many matches I found using Relative Finder. I really didn’t expect many since I didn’t know of any cousin (at least one in a genealogical timeframe) who had tested at 23andMe and had results. Relative Finder puts matches in one of several buckets: “Parent or Child” (my mother, my son, and my daughter were there as I expected); “Sibling (my son and daughter show in that category on each other’s lists). Relative Finder has other buckets (like “Aunt/Uncle, Nephew or Niece;” and “Grandparent, Grandchild, or Half Sibling”) and various degrees of cousins. While Relative Finder gives the expected degree of cousin, e.g. second cousin, there is a window each could fall into, e.g. third to tenth cousin. Relative Finder found I matched what appeared to be two fourth cousins, one fifth cousin, two sixth cousins, two seventh cousins, and 224 “distant cousins.”

I hadn’t noticed that one of the “distant” cousins and I had a common stretch of DNA even though we were already sharing. When you share with a lot of people, it can be hard to keep up with those that get their results after they ask to share. You can then miss the fact that they match. Relative Finder is a nice tool for checking periodically for this situation and for getting an idea of how closely related you are.

Finding these distant cousin matches could be helpful in determining the birth surname of some of the females in our pedigrees (unfortunately, we don’t know many females birth surnames, especially if they were born before the 1850 census). While Relative Finder may be helpful in tracing these female lines, it will be a lot of work for both parties to try to figure out who they inherited their common data stretch from.

Since not everyone who tested at 23andMe is interested in ancestry, some of the unexpected matches may not want to share. Some of these matches probably tested for health risk information and not to find relatives. Still, we might find a few people who are interested in sharing even if it isn’t their primary reason for testing at 23andMe.

For my mother Relative Finder found one “Parent or Child” (me); two “Grandparent, Grandchild or Half Sibling (my son and daughter); one third cousins, five fourth cousins, four fifth cousins, and 201 “Distant Cousins.”

Unlike with our Y-DNA project where it doesn't make much sense to test two closely related men, I can see from the Relative Finder beta results that testing even full siblings will be beneficial. Siblings can have some very different matches. While my son and daughter have five shared matches, my son has eight matches that my daughter doesn't have. My daughter has six matches that my son doesn't have. I haven't tried to sort out the "distant cousin" matches, but I bet I would find the same story. It is possible some of the differences might turn up in the "distant cousin" category.

In the next three weeks we should begin to have results. We will then get a better idea of how our project is progressing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Vick and Allied Families DNA Project

After my last blog I realized we should rename our new DNA project. We are now calling it the VICK and Allied Families DNA Project. I should also say that while we would like to have members of every VICK clan in our project, so far all of the project members are descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia (Joseph1), or an allied family (or both). Among the allied families in our project are the STRICKLANDs, the JOYNERs, and the HOLLANDs.

The STRICKLANDs have a deep history with the VICKs that goes back to Isle of Wight County. In Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants the authors noted several associations among the VICKs and the STRICKLANDs. For example, on pages 62 and 63 of the book when discussing Robert3 (Robert2, Joseph1) the authors say “From the probable ages of his sons, it seems likely that Robert married twice. A glance at the names associated with his many land transactions will suggest his close association with the Strickland and Taylor families, with whom there may have been some relationship…Mathew STRICKLAND had daughters Sarah, Ann, Elizabeth and Jane all of whom were unmarried at the time of his death and of whom Elizabeth and Jane remain untraced.

We have two STRICKLAND descendants in our project. One is a descendant of Ezekiel STRICKLAND who was born about 1809, probably in North Carolina. Apparently, there is a brick wall at Ezekiel in tracing this line back. Two men who are descendants of Ezekiel have been Y-DNA tested. Their Y-DNA signature (haplotype) matches the signature of the descendants of Joseph1. On the other hand, the Y-DNA signature of the Ezekiel descendants does not match the signature of other southern STRICKLAND men. The match of the Ezekiel STRICKLAND descendants with the Joseph1 descendants may indicate that this branch of the STRICKLAND family descends from Joseph1.

The other STRICKLAND in our project descends from Matthew STRICKLAND (born about 1732 in North Carolina). Because the Y-DNA signature of the two STRICKLAND clans is so different, these two clans cannot have shared a common patrilineal ancestor in a genealogical time period (they are not even in the same haplogroup). However, the two STRICKLAND clans could share “recent” ancestry through a non-patrilineal line. Perhaps we will find something in our project that ties the two branches together.

The HOLLAND member of our project is a descendant of Berry HOLLAND, born 4 Jun 1840 in North Carolina. Barry's line also has not been able to be extended. However, his descendants' Y-DNA signature also matches that of the descendants of Joseph1. So there is good reason to believe that Berry may also have been a patrilineal descendant of Joseph1. More precisely, these HOLLANDs match the Y-DNA signature of Joseph1's son Robert.

In Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants, there are several references to the VICKs and the HOLLANDs . On page 24 when discussing Sarah3 (Joseph2, Joseph1) it says "SARAH, b. ca. 1718; d. after 1784 in Southampton County, Virginia. She m. JAMES GARDNER ca. 1740 in Southampton County…James and Sarah lived in the vicinity of Cypress Swamp…Children surnamed GARDNER: …5. Juda (m. Thomas Holland)….

On page 460 when discussing Robert5 (Robert 4, ?Isaac3, William2, Joseph1) the book says his probable son “REDDIN, b. ca. 1798 [probably in NC]; m. CHARLOTTE HOLLAND."

Finally, we are also very fortunate to have a JOYNER in our project. The JOYNERs also have a long relationship with the VICKs that goes back to Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Our project member is a descendant of Moses JOYNER and Patience VICK (Joseph2, Joseph1). Now have at least one descendant of each of Joseph1’s sons; however, I am not aware of any project member who is a descendant of Joseph1’s daughter Lucy.

One of things we need in our project is the shortest possible line back to Joseph1, and our JOYNER has that distinction so far. He is in the eighth generation of Joseph1’s line. While we have some sixth cousins in our project, most are seventh or eighth cousins. We need some third, fourth, and fifth cousins to increase our chances of weaving common DNA blocks (or half identical regions) into a quilt of shared ancestry. We will have to work on this weakness. Once the 23andMe beta discount period expires, it will probably be harder to attract new project members.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We Have Started Our New VICK DNA 23andMe Project

We have started our new VICK DNA project at 23andMe. We probably should have called it VICK and Allied Lines DNA Project. The idea of a surname project is new to 23andMe, and we may be their first (I have not heard anyone discuss another one). That could be great because they may need a “large” group with pedigrees to help them figure out how to link people together through shared DNA.

We have people in our project who are descended from four of Joseph of Isle of Wight County, Virginia’s five sons – Richard, John, Robert, and William. So in that clan we are just missing Joseph2’s line. So far none of the other VICK clans have joined.

Eighteen or nineteen kits have been ordered (that includes five kits for spouses or mothers who do not have a known VICK line). We have seven members who are part of our Y-DNA project, so they should be very helpful. One nice thing is we have two men and five women who have VICK lines but could not test in our VICK Y-DNA project. So we are extending our reach into VICK DNA.

We are also trying to interest STRICKLANDs and HOLLANDs in joining our project. Any allied lines would be helpful.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Great Family of Joseph Vick Before 1675 to 1987 May Be Reprinted

In an earlier blog I asked if there were any good Vick family history books or short histories about the Vick families other than those I listed in the blog. While I have not learned of any new books or short histories, I have learned that Conner Vick is interested in republishing The Great Family of Joseph Vick Before 1675 to 1987. The authors of the book were his father, Samuel B. Vick, Sr., his brother Samuel B. Vick, Jr., and his sister Lorrayne Vick Donnell. Conner is exploring ways to have the book reprinted. If you would like a copy of the book, you might write him at the address below to let him know of your interest. He is trying to determine how many books to print.

Conner Vick
7329 Pope Watervalley Road
Pope, Mississippi 38658

Conner does not have an estimated printing date or price since he has not finalized the details.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Interest in Vick Research by Country from My Blog and Web Page Statistics

In my Vick One-Name study, I have found that people with the Vick surname live in the following countries (the number is in parentheses):

U.S. (21,140)
Germany (1,702)
England, Wales, and the Isle of Man (1,147)
Canada (336)
Australia (300)
New Zealand (36)
Switzerland (13)
Spain (12)
South Africa (one listing in the telephone book).

No doubt there are other Vicks scattered around the world that I just have not found. For example, I know from his father that at least one Canadian Vick is in Singapore. One of the purposes of creating this blog and the Vick one-name study page was to make contact with others researching the Vick family or the Vick surname -worldwide. Unfortunately, contacts from people outside of the U.S. have been few and far between.

To get an idea of where people live who might have common Vick research interests I looked at the internet addresses of those visiting either this blog or my Vick One-Name study over the last couple of months. I excluded hits from countries where the search term indicated the person was not looking for information on the Vick surname or Vicks (e.g. the person was searching for information about a different surname in a location mentioned on one of the sites).
By country (excluding countries with just one visit) I had the following number of hits (in parentheses):

U.S. (6240)
U.K. (244)
Australia (29)
Germany (22)
Canada (18)
Brazil (18)
Philippines (3)
South Africa (3)
Spain (2)
France (2)
Italy (2)
Netherlands (2)

To get hits per capita I divided the number of hits by the estimated number of Vicks in the country (I just did so for those countries with the largest Vick populations):

UK (0.21) – population is just for England, Wales, and Isle of Man so the rate is off slightly.
Australia (0.10)
Canada (0.05)
U.S. (0.03)
Germany (0.01)

From the hits per capita it is obvious that I am not doing a good job of reaching people in Germany. The low German penetration may be because the two websites are in English (or American English). I will have to think about ways to improve the number of hits from Germany if I am going to make any contacts there. On the other hand I am surprised that the U.S. is not the leading source on a per capita basis. My conception was that Americans were far more interested in their family history than were people in other countries. Perhaps the higher hit rates in the U.K., Australia, and Canada indicate there is material on the sites that is of interest to researchers outside of the U.S. I just hope we can help each other with our mutual research interests.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Recording Famous Vicks

I have tried to record the more famous Vicks on my Vick One-Name Study page. The list includes Henry de Vick, clock maker; Rev. Newit Vick, for whom Vicksburg, Mississippi, is named; James Vick, founder of the Vick Seed Company; William Vick, benefactor of the Clifton Suspension Bridge outside of Bristol, England; Walker Whiting Vick, advisor to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson; Joshua W. Vick, for whom Vicks VapoRub is named; Harold Vick, jazz saxophonist; Graham Vick, CBE, founder of the Birmingham, England, opera company; and Michael Vick, professional American football player (and convicted dog abuser).

I wonder what famous Vicks I have missed. Have I missed a notable Vick in Germany, South Africa, or Canada, or any other county, who I should include in my study? Please let me know if I have missed a Vick who I should include. There are no women on the list above. Surely, I have missed more than one. If you could provide a reference it would be very helpful.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Was My Second Great Grandmother a Full Blooded Cherokee?

Recently a cousin told me that her grandmother told her that our second great grandmother, Julia Ann SHERROD, was a full blooded Cherokee. One of the interesting tools that will be available in our new VICK DNA project is something called “Native American Ancestry Finder”. The tool “scans a person's Ancestry Painting for distinctive signatures that indicate a Native American ancestor up to five generations in the past. It also takes into account the maternal and, if available, paternal lines, looking for Native American ancestry at any depth along those two branches of the family tree.”

Since Julia was my great great grandmother (four generations back), she fits within the window for the test’s high confidence level. My results said “Recent Native American ancestry is unlikely.”

My Ancestry Painting (above) shows why my autosomal DNA rules out Native American ancestry in my preceding five generations along all of my lines. I have no traces of anything but recent European ancestry. Additionally, my maternal haplogroup (from my mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA) of H2a2b1” is inconsistent with Native American ancestry along the maternal (mother's mother's mother's ...) line.” Since my mtDNA came from my mother and not from Julia my mtDNA haplogroup could be different than Julia’s. Since sometimes family stories, while not completely accurate, contain an element of true. Could Julia’s mother have been a descendant of a Native American woman and a European man (meaning Julia was not full-bloodied American Indian)? A female cousin who is a matrilineal descendant of Julia had her mtDNA tested. She also is haplogroup H, so Julia’s mother’s line was not American Indian.

Since I am a male, the tool could also check my patrilineal line. Again, my Y-DNA haplogroup of Q1a3* “is inconsistent with Native American ancestry along the paternal (father's father's father's ...) line.” Maybe I will be able to find a patrilineal descendant of Julia’s father who will test his Y-DNA just to see what his Y-DNA haplogroup is. By weaving the results of DNA testing of cousins in different lines together, I can learn a lot about my family’s history.

I have also been told by another cousin that my ancestor Stephen5 (Jacob4, Isaac3, William2, Joseph1) had American Indian ancestry. The extent of the ancestry was uncertain, but since the Native American Ancestry Finder found no evidence of an American Indian in my genetic make-up, I have to assume that if the story was true (and I have no evidence that it is), it would have had to have been a more distant ancestor than Stephen5.

Our new VICK DNA project will have many other features that our current VICK Y-DNA Surname Project does not have. I can’t wait to see what we will learn with these new tools.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A New VICK DNA Project

Until now we have limited our common VICK DNA research to a VICK Y-DNA project. Y-DNA is only one type of DNA, but it is the most effective for genealogical research. Only men have Y-DNA, so only men have been able to participate directly (women can recruit a male VICK close relative to test for them). Because men inherit Y-DNA from their fathers, only men who have an unbroken male VICK line can test their Y-DNA for VICK ancestry.

We now have the opportunity to expand our project beyond Y-DNA. The expansion will allow us to include women and those men who have a female VICK in their line to their last male VICK ancestor.

Like with computers, the power of DNA testing has increased dramatically while the price has fallen dramatically. We are now able to expand our project because testing that looks at all of the chromosomes has become cheap enough that a large enough portion of our DNA can be tested to find what are called Half Identical Regions (HIRs). While these HIRs (shown in light blue in the graphic on the left) are not as useful for genealogy as the results from Y-DNA testing, they offer at least the possibility of finding matches with people who share a recent common ancestor (that is within a few generations). These HIRs can help us find our VICK (and other) cousins.

We are each about half identical to our parents. So if we look at our chromosomes, we will see that our chromosomes are about half identical to each parent. The screenshot on the left above is a comparison of my 23 pairs of chromosomes to my mother’s.

To make this comparison my mother and I both had to be tested. I am fortunate that my mother is still living and was willing to be tested. Unfortunately, my father isn’t living, so that opportunity is lost. When you look at the screen shot you can see that all of my chromosomes are colored a light blue (with the exception of the Y chromosome and those areas shaded in grey because they weren’t tested). Since my mother is a woman she doesn’t have a Y chromosome for comparison.

The screen shot on the right above is a comparison of my son’s 23 pairs of chromosomes to my mother’s. As you can see he is about a quarter identical to her (which makes sense since he got about half of his DNA from me, and about half of my DNA came from my mother). Since my son got his X chromosome from his mother, his X chromosome won’t be half identical to my mother’s.

My son’s comparison to my mother illustrates that as DNA is passed down it isn’t shuffled like a deck of cards. There are whole blocks of DNA that stay together to form these HIRs. In fact, HIRs can stay together for several generations. Looking at the members of our VICK Y-DNA project, I would expect that Austin Lafayette VICK and John Edward VICK would have some HIRs because they are third cousins. I haven’t studied their pedigrees, but I suspect their most recent common ancestors in any of their lines are Richard5 (Giles4, William3, Richard2, Joseph1) and his wife Mary [ ]. If I am correct about their most recent common ancestors, then any shared HIRs would most likely have been passed to John Edward and Austin Lafayette from Richard5 and Mary [ ].

By comparing Austin Lafayette and John Edward with another closely related VICK who doesn’t share Richard5 and Mary as ancestors, we could then see if the three compared had HIRs. If they did, then their most recent common ancestor would be the most likely source.

Finding these HIRs could be helpful in identifying female and non-surnamed VICK male cousins. For those who don’t have Joseph1’s Y-DNA (or the most distant known VICK ancestor for the other clans) finding HIRs could help to show the likelihood of VICK ancestry and where to focus further research. In our expanded project, we would start building a web of HIRs. These HIRs could also be used in other projects that are based upon other non-VICK lines.

For those interested in deep ancestry, 23andMe provides men with their Y-DNA haplogroup, and both men and women get their mitochondrial (mtDNA) haplogroup. Beyond the ancestry features of 23andMe, there is also information on health and traits. You can see what 23andMe has to offer by going to 23andMe and setting up a free demo account. There is even sample data for the fictional Mendel family that you can use to see how 23andMe works.

I am looking forward to seeing where our expanded project takes us and to seeing what we can learn.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Making VICK Research Faster

In an earlier blog I mentioned that I was preparing a place name index for Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants by John D. BEATTY and Di Ann VICK. Part I of the index (which is almost all of it) is in the July 2009 The Vick Family Newsletter. Part II (the rest) will be in the October 2009 issue.

While I was working on the place name index for the book, Pam VICK, John Edward VICK and John’s wife Alta were assembling a single index of all the people’s names in all of the volumes of The Vick Family Newsletter. What a time saver that index will be. No more looking through every one of the 20 finished volumes to find whether someone is mentioned in any issue of the newsletter. Because an index was never published for volume XVII, John and Alta took that task on also and created one.

Now that I have some free time, I have turned my attention to creating a place name index for all the newsletters. When we are all finished we will be able to cross-reference people to locations in both the book and the newsletter. Soon finding the names of VICKs mentioned in Nash County, North Carolina (or any other location) in either the book or newsletter will be a lot easier.

I wonder what other tools VICK researchers are working on for any VICK clan anywhere in the world. Surely others are also hard at work figuring out how to find information about VICKs more easily.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Solving Puzzles and Meeting Fellow Researchers

Back in 1991 when I first became interested in my VICK family’s history, John BEATTY was working on a book that would cover the first five generations of the Joseph VICK family. Since my ancestor Stephen5 was in the generation where John (and Di Ann VICK who later joined John as co-author) planned to end volume, I thought if John ever published a second volume it might be helpful if I documented all of Stephen’s descendants. So I set about to do that starting with those in Muhlenberg Co. It was when I poured through the census records that I discovered there were VICKs in the county censuses that I could not place in a tree of Stephen’s descendants.

My ancestor Stephen5 (Jacob4, Isaac3, William2, Joseph1) is on the 1816 tax list of Muhlenberg Co. (although he and his probable brother Isaiah5 may have been there earlier since Stephen last appears on the Madison Co., KY tax list for 1814). As I moved through the Muhlenberg Co. census records from 1820 to 1880, I was able to place all of the VICKs I found in a tree of Stephen’s descendants (Isaiah left Muhlenberg Co. for greener pastures without leaving any descendants in the county although he did leave his wife behind). Then on the 1880 census I found a William Robert VICK that I could not place. I learned he was William Robert6 (Josiah5, ?Robert4, Nathan3, Robert2, Joseph1). He is on the 1870 U.S. Census of Logan Co., KY, so he arrived sometime after he was counted in Logan Co. on 19 Jul 1870.

As I continued through the census records I found other VICKs that did not fit in Stephen’s tree, and I entered them in my notes as likely descendants of William Robert. In 1880 all of William Robert’s surviving children lived with him, so it was easy to account for everyone. As I recorded the VICKs in the 1900 census the task got a little more complex (especially since there is no surviving census for 1890). A lot of things happen in 20 years. Nonetheless, I knew I could easily identify Stephen’s descendants, so I figured the other VICKs were descendants of William Robert.

Simply recording names and dates with the little information in census records does not make for an interesting family history. To learn more about my VICKs in Muhlenberg Co., I subscribed to The Leader-News, the local newspaper. As I found stories or pictures of Stephen’s descendants I recorded them in my notes. Sometimes it was hard to figure out from the names in the articles, though, if the person discussed was a descendant of Stephen5 or William Robert6. The task seemed to get even harder over time. So, I started building a tree for the William Robert6 line to keep things straight.

A few weeks ago there was an obituary in The Leader-News that mentioned a Joe VICK. I knew this Joe was not a descendant of Stephen5, so I looked at my notes for William Robert6’s descendants. I discovered I could not place the Joe mentioned in the William Robert6 line. I was puzzled. I wondered if I could have made an incorrect assumption so many years ago that all the VICKs in Muhlenberg Co., who were not descendants of Stephen5 were descendants of William Robert6.

As I searched the records I came to realize that there was, in fact, another line of VICKs in Muhlenberg Co. that I had not noticed. It seemed so unlikely that there could be two lines of VICKs in a small county. How could there be three? VICK is not an unheard of surname (my Google search finds lots of stories on THE Michael VICK everyday), but VICKs (counting all the other VICK clans besides Joseph1’s family) only account for about .007 percent of the U.S. population. As I poured through the records, what it appears happened was that Joseph Sire Jackson7 VICK, probably the son of a first cousin of William Robert6 (there are so many unproven lines from Robert2), moved to Muhlenberg Co. around 1897. Since Joseph Sire Jackson7 lived near the descendants of William Robert6, I missed this new arrival.

In the process of trying to trace Joseph Sire Jackson7’s ancestry and his descendants, I have already made new contacts, and traded e-mails with other researchers and a family member of this line. Beyond finding all of the puzzle pieces and putting them together, meeting new people is one of the things that makes family history so interesting. If you are researching VICK family history, I hope you will contact me. If you are researching the Joseph Sire Jackson7 VICK line, I would especially like to compare notes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Civil War Letter from Col. Sebastian C. Vick

I love to read old documents (although I have trouble understanding some of the older writing styles). My uncle Robert E. Vick, Sr., sent me copies of some old Civil War letters written by my second great grand uncle, Sebastian C. Vick. The copies are a little hard to read, but my sister-in-law, Gayle Moore Vick, transcribed them for me. The letter below (with an enclosed statement) shows that being a colonel in the Kentucky Union militia was not without its frustrations. The letter was to Major General Daniel Weisiger Lindsey. According to the online biography of General Lindsey at the National Guard History Museum he “served as a key leader of Union forces in Kentucky in the Civil War and was named Adjutant General in the summer of 1864 by Governor Thomas E. Bramlette, serving in that position until the fall of 1867.”

Headquarters, 71st Regt. Em.
Greenville, Ky. Decem 5 1864
Major Gen.
D.W. Lindsey
Frankfort Ky

I Have the Honor to
forward a communication
To your address
General with High Regard to
Your Honor, I aske you
To do me & your country
The favour to Revoke my
commission as col of the
71st Regt of EM. and
appoint Some other man
whoo will Be more able
to do Justice to the caus of
our common country than
I am able to do as my
meanes ar So Exhausted that
I cant no Longer ? ?
This country
? company of State
Guards comanded By capt
James S. Lewis
I with Regret Say to you
that It is mortifying to
me to know that you Have
to Be continualy anoyed
By the Rebells of this
country whoo are continualy
Sending unfounded and
unjust Reportes to you
against me, and am Left
defenceless By your Refusing
to give me the names of
thoes foul conspirators against me and
their countrys Honor
Had I the Rigt to defend myself
I would proove to you and the
world at Large that I am
unjustly and dishonorably
assaild By the Rebells and
guirillar Sympathisers of
this country
whoos Sole object Is to
wield an Influence with
you to disband, or, disorganize
the men that I have
organized By your order
When we ar disbanded
this country Is Left to the
Ravages of those deamons
that Have So long
devastated our country
With High Respect
I am your most
obedt Servt
Sebastian C. Vick, Col. ?

State Militia
Greenville, Muhlenberg Co. Ky
December 1st 1864
Eaves Charles ?
Says Col Vick has 21 of the
best horses in Greenville
and has killed eleven
peaceable citizens. He also
Killed three woman last
week, one of whom he
saw buried. He
has also issued a proclama-
tion requiring citizens to
bring him a horse or he
will compel them to
leave the State, he has
tried too to hinder the
navigation of Green River
has taken four Steamboats
and tore up a dam on
the river
See Special ?
No 86 Extract
? ? ?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Joseph Vick Family of America Association Is Vibrant Again

Not long ago the Joseph Vick Family of America association seemed to be near collapse. Paid membership had dropped to a handful. It was apparent the association needed to do a better job of communicating with its members.

Today, the future is much brighter. Information is flowing again to the JVFOA membership. The association held a very successful reunion in Vicksburg, MS, in July (thanks to Lori Vick Millsap and Gailen Vick), and decisions made at the general meeting and at the board meeting the next morning put the association on a very positive track.

Since the reunion Shad Vick has relaunched the association’s website. His great work (done gratis for JVFOA) has made it possible to do an even better job of communicating with JVFOA’s members. Shad’s dad, Gailen Vick, has been loading a lot of material to the site under the following topics:

Become a Member
Family Newsletter

Vick Reunions
Annual Meeting Minutes
Board of Directors

Shad and Gailen have plans to make even more improvements. Eventually JVFOA members will be able to access newsletters on the site as well as review their membership and pay their dues.

I am glad to see JVFOA turned things around before it was too late.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Joseph Vick Family of America Reunion – VICKSBURG, Mississippi July 17-19, 2009

The Joseph Vick Family of America Reunion committee issued the following:


Come and compare your family tree with your cousins’

We hope you are as excited as we are about our reunion in Vicksburg. Imagine the opportunity to visit the gravesite of the Rev. Newit Vick and his family or to see the mural honoring him on the levee…... along the banks of the Mississippi River.

The Martha Vick House, built ca. 1830 or visit the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The cost of the 2009 Reunion is $59 for each individual attending. Any questions you have please contact;

Gailen Vick at the following address:

2678 S. Wildflower Dr., Saratoga Springs, UT
84045, Phone: 510-364-7631,

Or Lori Vick Millsap, Phone: 251-450-5043

Reunion Schedule

Friday July 17th, 2009
Holiday Inn Express Hotel
4330 S. Frontage Road, Vicksburg

Holiday Inn (Meeting Room)

4 PM Mix & Mingle

4:15 JVFOA Membership Welcome

4:30 PM -Dinner catered by Toney’s (catfish, slaw, hushpuppies, tea & soft drinks)

5:30 PM – JVFOA Annual Business Meeting & Elections

6:30 Depart for River Cruise (Travel by car to Historic Downtown

7 PM Mississippi River cruise - dessert on board and historic lecture (Sweet Olive, Mississippi River Tours Co.)

8:30 PM Depart River Boat and return to Hotel

Saturday July 18th, 2009
Holiday Inn Express Hotel

5:30 – 9:30 AM - continental breakfast in the Lobby

8 AM JVFOA Board meeting

9 to 11:30 AM -Genealogical Workshop, Instructed by Gailen Vick
Introduction to the “New Family Search” system.

11:30 to 1 PM - Lunch (Sandwiches in our hospitality room)

1 to 3:30 PM – DNA Project Workshop, Instructed by James Larry Vick

For family members that won’t be participating in the workshops, afternoon trips to the Vicksburg Waterfront Maritime Museum, Civil War Raised Vessel, Newit Vick memorial and trip to the City Library

3:30 to 5 PM – Joseph Vick Lineage Workshop - Share your research with your cousins. Lead by Lori Vick Millsap

6 PM Leave for dinner - Martha Vick House

6:30 PM – Dinner of Heavy hors d'oeuvres at the Martha Vick House - Bill Longfellow our host will talk about Martha & Newitt Vick History and the Vick presence in Vicksburg.

8:30 PM (Optional) Vicksburg historical nighttime walking tour

Sunday July 19th, 2009
Holiday Inn Express Hotel

5:30 – 9 AM -continental breakfast in the lobby

9 to 11 AM – Joseph Vick family history; share your research with your cousins.

Sunday "sunrise" service in the Vicksburg Battlefield with lecture by historian

There are various denominations’ services available in town, if you plan to go to church.

We will adjourn and cousins will start moseying home until we meet again next year in Salt Lake City, July 16-18, 2010, at our next JVFOA Reunion!

Friday, June 12, 2009

African American Descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia

Many of the descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, have carefully documented their line back to Joseph. One group of descendants may not find it so easy to document their descent from Joseph or even be aware that they are descendants of Joseph. This group is the African American descendants of Joseph.

Appendix I “Enslaved Africans [and] Free Persons of Color Surnamed Vick” in “Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants” by John D. Beatty and Di Ann Vick lists some of the slaves owned by Joseph’s descendants. What cannot be gleaned from the appendix is if any of these slaves are also Joseph’s descendants or are the mothers of descendants of Joseph.

Two African American men who have been Y-DNA tested have Y-DNA signatures that match Joseph’s Y-DNA signature. One of these men matches the proven descendants of Richard3, Richard2, Joseph1. The other man has not tested enough of his Y-DNA to place him in one of Joseph1’s son’s lines. Because the second man’s Y-DNA signature does not have a change shared by all of the tested descendants of Joseph’s son Richard, it is more likely that he is a descendant of one of Joseph’s other four sons.

While Y-DNA can help in identifying whether an African American man is a descendant of Joseph, finding records to prove descent may be impossible. Harder still will be identifying African American female descendants of Joseph and African American men who are descendants of Joseph but who are not patrilineal descendants of Joseph. Since Y-DNA is only passed from father to son, females and men who are not patrilineal descendants of Joseph will not have the advantage of being able to use Y-DNA to discover their Vick ancestry.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Piecing Together the Deepest Patrilineal Roots of Those with the Vick Surname

In my November 18, 2008, blog I discussed the deep roots of the clan of Vicks who are descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia. In the blog I said

'Looking at even deeper roots we have found that Joseph1’s Y-DNA signature matches those found in a couple of men with ancestry from Norway. These men lived in Shetland and Orkney off of mainland Scotland. Professor Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University examined James Larry Vick’s Y-DNA signature and compared it to the small number of research samples that had the same Y-DNA signature. In an e-mail on February 18, 2007, Professor Oppenheimer said, 'While, with these very small numbers, it is impossible to date the movement to from Norway to Shetland/Orkney, the information is nonetheless very specific and places your male ancestor most likely as an invader from northern Norway and ultimately from Asia.'”

Professor Oppenheimer also looked at the Y-DNA signature of a descendant of Elihu (christened in 1759 in Standish, Gloucestershire, England). Professor Oppenheimer said the Elihu clan’s patrilineal ancestor “arrived in the British Isles from the Basque Ice Age refuge between 15,000-13,000 years ago with the first hunter-gatherers.” He also said that Elihu’s Y-DNA matched that found in men whose patrilineal ancestors expanded from North Wales and Ireland some 5,000 years ago.

The Joseph1 clan and the Elihu clan are just two of the nine major Vick clans we have identified so far. Each of the clans traveled a different route (and none shared a common patrilineal ancestor in the time surnames have been used) but they all ended up with the Vick surname.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Place Name Index for Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants

Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants by John D. Beatty and Di Ann Vick is an indispensable reference I use for tracing Joseph's descendants. One thing I wish the book had, though, is a place name index. When Americans contact me with a question about their Vick line they usually include at least one reference to a location where their Vick ancestors lived. If their Vick ancestors lived in the southern U.S. the chances are excellent that they were descendants of Joseph.

Not being able to find easily the pages in the book where a location is mentioned slows down my search for how the person fits in the Vick family tree. To solve this problem, I have started putting together an index of place names in the book. The index should be ready in time for the July 2009 Vick Family Newsletter. If there is enough space in the newsletter I will include it in that issue. If there is not enough space in the July issue (because of the news from the reunion) I will put it in the October 2009 issue. So if you would like a copy of the index, it will be available soon.

Now, if I could just find some good reference books for the other Vick families.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Learning to Preserve and Share Vick Family History

On April 27, 2009, I will begin a five week course titled "Introduction to One-Name Studies." The course is offered by the Guild of One-Name Studies. The Guild says the "five week course will cover the history and study of surnames, what a one-name study consists of, how to get started, how to collect and analyse data from the core records and about the practical aspects of running a One-Name Study such as how to publicise your study, data protection, publishing findings and conclusions, and making sure your study is preserved for others in the future." I cannot wait to see how much I learn from the course and to put this new knowledge to work. I have been a member of the Guild for a couple of years, but I have a lot to learn (especially about British records).

I am also taking an online course in Microsoft Access (a relational database program). Access should give me another tool I need to help organize the mountain of data I am collecting. While I use a family tree program (Personal Ancestral File or PAF), I am missing a way to tie the data together on people that I cannot seem to place in a tree (or to spot that the data is on someone already in one of my trees).

By integrating the Guild course with Access I hope to do a much better job of helping to preserve and share our Vick family history.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vick Family History Books

Are there any good Vick family history books or short histories about the Vick families other than those I have listed below? While I am interested in books about the Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia clan I am especially interested in books or short histories of other clans both in the U.S. and in other countries. The list below was largely gleaned from the book by Beatty and Vick.

· Robert Arthur, Vick of Vicksburg [New Orleans, LA: Typescript]
· John D. Beatty and Di Ann Vick, Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants [Los Angeles, CA: Genus Publishing, 2004]
· Dorothy Phelps Cole, Nitta Yuma king cotton [Nitta Yuma, MS: The Author, 1974]
· O. Vick Hines, Vick Families Descendants of Joseph, VA, 1675 [Sulphur Springs, TX: Unpublished]
· Ruth Vick O’Brien, A Genealogy of the Families and Descendants of William P. Vick I: 1791-1840; Agnes Bottoms Vick, 1833-1907; William P. Vick II: 1837-1902; Jesse Parker and Lucy Joyner Vick Parker: Married 1845 – 1792-1970 [Washington, D.C.: The Author, 1970]
· James Morris Perrin, Reverend Newitt Vick, Founder of Vicksburg, Mississippi, His Ancestry, Relatives and Descendants [Hammond, LA: The Author, 1990]
· James A. Vick, Robert, Son of the Virginia Immigrant Joseph Vick: An Account of Some of His Descendants [Waco, TX: The Author, 1990]
· John Leonides Vick, A Short History of the Vick Family [Typescript, 1967]
· Samuel B. Vick, Sr., Samuel B. Vick, Jr., and Lorrayne Vick Donnell, The Great Family of Joseph Vick Before 1675 to 1987 [Jackson, MS: Privately Published, 1987]
· Melba Wood, My Maternal Ancestry II [Chesterfield, IL: The Author, 1987]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vick Family Newsletters

Earlier I wondered how many Vick Family reunions there will be this year. I received one reply, from Katie. She told me about a reunion I was not familiar with. She said the descendants of Joseph S. Vick will hold their biannual reunion in Shamrock, TX the third weekend in June.

In some cases families use newsletters to record and report what happened at a family reunion. Newsletter can be very helpful to those who could not attend a reunion and also to future generations who want to know their family’s history. That leads me to wonder how many newsletters there are (or have been) about Vick families. As the editor of the Vick Family Newsletter published by the Joseph Vick Family of America, I am very familiar with that one newsletter. Past issues contain many articles about JVFOA reunions.

It would be nice to learn about other Vick family newsletters, especially ones about Vick families in other countries. Even if a newsletter is no longer published, it would be valuable to know when another family did publish a newsletter and where copies of the newsletter can be found. Perhaps we can use these different newsletters to aid in discovering how all of our Vick families are related. It would be unfortunate for any newsletters to be lost.

In 1985 James M. Perrin edited and published the first newsletter for the Joseph Vick Family of America. In that first newsletter he wrote about a reunion being planned for the 8th and 9th of June 1985 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA. He also referenced a past reunion held in 1975. Surely there must have been at least one Vick family that had a newsletter before 1985 and surely there is at least one other Vick family somewhere in the world that publishes a newsletter today.

One thing that is common between the first issue of the Vick Family Newsletter and the most recent issue is that paying the cost of printing and distributing a newsletter is a challenge. James M. Perrin said on page one of the first Vick Family Newsletter “I am advancing the money necessary to publish and distribute this Newsletter pending receipt of additional dues.” Since blogs can reach a worldwide audience with no printing and distribution costs perhaps they will replace printed newsletters. Fortunately, we also have vehicles like Facebook and MyFamily to advertise reunions. These same vehicles also allow us to share and preserve photographs and descriptions of what happened at the reunions. Maybe these new ways of communicating will also help us preserve our Vick family history wherever we are in the world.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Y-DNA Can Help When a Misattributed Paternity Is Suspected in Our Patrilineal Pedigree

In my last blog entry I illustrated how Y-DNA was useful in evaluating whether census information was reliable. In the case of William Alfred Vick (Alfred6, Samuel5, ?Josiah4, Benjamin3, Robert2, Joseph1) census information seemed to rule out that he was the son of Alfred6. However, Y-DNA testing of a descendant of Alfred6 found that the descendant’s Y-DNA signature was consistent with William Alfred7 being the son of Alfred6. While Y-DNA cannot prove that one man is the son of another man it can show two men do share a recent common patrilineal ancestor. This information can be very valuable when combined with other genealogical information in our analysis of pedigrees.

On the other hand, Y-DNA can prove that one man is not the son of another man if the two men do not share what genetics call a haplogroup. Haplogroups are defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNs) – changes to a single letter in our DNA code. This ability to prove that two men do not share a recent common patrilineal ancestor makes Y-DNA very useful for evaluating stories that an ancestor’s paternity was misattributed. One such case where Y-DNA was helpful was for the descendants of Abner Vick, b. about 1816-1820. In “Some Descendants of Abner6 Vick” (Vick Family Newsletter, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, pages 17-19), Abner Milton and Joseph Thomas were listed as sons of Abner. Y-DNA testing proved that Abner Milton and Joseph Thomas were not patrilineal descendants of Joseph1.

The determination that Abner Milton and Joseph Thomas were not patrilineal descendants of Joseph1 was made based upon the Y-DNA test results of a descendant of Abner Milton and those of a descendant of Joseph Thomas. The two results matched each other, but they did not match the results of proven Joseph1 descendants. The fact that the results from the descendant of Abner Milton matched the results from the descendant of Joseph Thomas means that Abner Milton and Joseph Thomas do share a recent common patrilineal ancestor. That ancestor appears to have been the elder Abner, their father. In this case it does not appear that any other man was their father.

The elder Abner married Martha Susan Pack on 15 December 1837.1 Abner Milton was born on 27 May 1841, and Joseph Thomas was born about 1847. So the two sons were born after their parents’ marriage. This seems to eliminate the possibility of a misattributed paternity. If there was not a misattributed paternity, the elder Abner was not a descendant of Joseph1.
Whether the elder Abner was a patrilineal descendant of Joseph1 may never be known because there are no known living male descendants of Abner’s brother Joseph to test. If there was a living male patrilineal descendant of the elder Abner’s brother Joseph, he could be Y-DNA tested. If his results matched those of the descendants of Abner Milton and Joseph Thomas, then Abner could not have been a descendant of Joseph1. This becomes important because in the article it says the parentage of Joab (the elder Abner’s father) is “uncertain.”

Unfortunately, we run into the same problem in investigating the pedigree of Joab. While his only brother, Jacob, is speculative, John Beatty and Di Ann Vick in Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants could not find any record showing Jacob had a son who produced a son.2 It would be very helpful if there was a patrilineal descendant of Jacob that could be tested. If this descendant matched the Y-DNA of the descendant of Abner Milton and the descendant of Joseph Thomas we would know that Joab also was not a descendant of Joseph1. Through testing descendants from each line we might be able to isolate where the patrilineal bloodline stops from Joseph1.

1 Ancestry.com. Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008. Original data: Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville, TN, USA: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm.

2Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants, pp. 364-365

Sunday, March 1, 2009

When Paper Records Are Not Conclusive Y-DNA Testing Can Help

Family history research relies heavily on primary records (e.g. birth, death, and marriage certificates). Sometimes even primary records have mistakes. My wife had an aunt that was born in a small town in Arkansas. The aunt lived there her whole life. Apparently, the aunt never looked at her birth certificate closely until she applied for Social Security. Not having earned much working outside the home, the aunt applied for a spouse’s benefit (based upon her husband’s Social Security earnings).

After reviewing the aunt’s application and birth certificate, the clerk politely pointed out that my wife’s aunt could not collect Social Security benefits against a husband’s account. She said it was because the aunt’s birth certificate said she was a male. While it took some time, the birth certificate was corrected. Even if it had not been, it would not have been hard for a researcher to realize there was a mistake. There were other primary documents that correctly showed her sex, and her children’s birth certificates were a good reference for the fact that she was a female. Sometimes mistakes on primary records cannot be so easily identified. For example, while it is very unusual not to know the identity of a baby’s mother at the time of birth, the identity of the baby’s father may not be correct on the child’s birth certificate.

Even with their faults, where possible it is best to review primary sources in genealogical research. However, sometimes we can’t find a primary source. Birth certificates, for example, came into use relatively recently. If there is no birth certificate, finding a person’s parents’ names might mean having to rely upon secondary sources like census records. While these secondary sources are even less reliable than primary sources, we often have no choice but to use them. If you have ever spent any time looking for someone in census records you know that census records are littered with mistakes. It is not unusual to find conflicting information for the same person in different census years. In one census a person’s age may be given as ten years old and then in the next census (ten years later) the person’s age may be given as 17 years old. Likewise, one census may say the person was born in Kentucky and the next census may say the person was born in Tennessee. By looking at multiple census records you can sometimes figure out what information is likely correct and what is likely incorrect. The degree of proof can be rather subjective. In the final analysis census information depends upon the knowledge of the person who provided the information to the census taker and upon the care the census taker took in recording the information.

When someone joins the VICK Y-DNA Surname Project, we ask for as much paternal pedigree information as he can provide. If he cannot prove his pedigree back to Joseph Vick of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, we try to help him prove his paternal line. This usually involves finding names in the pedigree in various sources and linking the information to the excellent research in Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants by John D. Beatty and Di Ann Vick.

Several months ago a new member of our VICK Y-DNA project was trying to trace his roots. When he joined our project he said he had proven his pedigree to his third great grandfather William Alfred. However, at that point he had run into a dead end. While he had found William Alfred in the 1880 U.S. Census of Pope Co., AR, he was not sure who William Alfred’s father was. William Alfred was a one year old child who was not living with his parents at the time of the 1880 census. Interestingly, it appears that William Alfred is listed twice on the same page of 1880 census.1 First he is shown in the household of Erasmus FORD where William Alfred is listed as a one year old “ward.” Then, he is shown in the household of Andrew J. (Jackson) TATE and his wife Lucindia where he is described as a one year old “nephew.” Perhaps William Alfred spent time in each household.

Since William Alfred was only one year old in 1880, we cannot go to the 1870 census and find him with his parents. However, there were other Vick children in the TATE household. A Louisy Jane, age 11, was listed as a niece; a Sidney P., age 8, was described as a nephew; and a Benjamin F., age 22, was said to be a boarder. Since Louisy Jane and Benjamin F. were over ten years old, they should be able to be found in the 1870 census. In fact, they appear in the household of an Alfred Vick and his wife Caroline in Pope Co., AR.2 Alfred’s line is (Samuel5, ?Josiah4, Benjamin3, Robert2, Joseph1).3

Alfred6 married Caroline Timmons on 12 Mar 1848 in Pope Co., AR.4 Louisy Jane and Benjamin F. may have been their children given that the two were living in Alfred6’s household in 1870. Andrew Jackson Tate married Rebecca Jane Timmons in Pope Co., AR on 23 Sep 1852.5 So, Andrew Jackson’s wife Jane would appear to be the aunt of Louisy Jane and Benjamin F. thus explaining why Louisy Jane was listed as a niece in the 1880 census.

Everything appeared to be lining up to conclude that William Alfred, age one in 1880, was also the son of Alfred6. Another piece of information in the census is the birth state of each person and the birth state of the person’s father and mother. In the 1870 census, Alfred6 is shown as having been born in TN, and his wife Caroline is shown as having being born in KY.

The 1880 census states that the father of Louisa Jane, Sidney P., and Benjamin F. was born in TN and their mother was born in KY. This fits with the information in the 1870 census for Alfred6 and Caroline. Interestingly, in both the households in which William Alfred appears in 1880, his father was reported to have been born in AR. This would seem to rule out Alfred6 as being his father since Alfred6 was shown as being born in TN in the 1870 census, and in the 1880 census the father of Louisy Jane, Sidney P., and Benjamin F. was shown as bring born in TN. We do not know who the census enumerator talked to or whether the same person provided the information for both households, but the birth state information throws serious doubt as to Alfred6 being William Alfred’s father.

Alfred6 was married twice. His second marriage was to Mrs. Louisa C. Johnson. They were married in Pope Co., AR, on 30 Dec 1876.6 According to William Alfred’s World War I draft registration card, he was born on 3 Sep 1877.7 So, if William Alfred’s draft registration was correct, he was born eight months and four days after the marriage of Alfred6 and Louisa. Could William Alfred have been the son of Louisa’s first husband, her second husband (Alfred6), or someone else?

William Alfred’s birth date of 3 Sep 1877 also conflicts with his age being one in the 1880 census. If he was born on 3 Sep 1877, he would have been two years old in the 1880 census (his last birthday prior to the census date – 1 June for the 1880 census).8 The difference in age is rather small, and it could just be an oversight.

It does not appear that the secondary sources I have cited will be helpful in identifying William Alfred’s father. Perhaps there are guardianship documents in Pope Co., AR that might be more helpful. However, any paper documents could contain errors for several reasons.

What other information could we use to help solve this mystery? Since all men carry many copies of their paternal family history in each cell of their body, DNA could be used to point us in the right direction. If William Alfred is a descendant of Alfred6 his straight line male descendants should match the Y-DNA signature of Joseph1.

When the project member’s Y-DNA test results came in, he found that his Y-DNA signature did match the Y-DNA signature of Joseph1 (and of the Robert2 line). Of the 591 men with the Johnson surname or a variant of it that have been Y-DNA tested at Family Tree DNA by March 1, 2009, none has a Y-DNA signature that resembles the one the Joseph1 descendants have (including the descendant of William Alfred).9 Likewise, none of the 452 men with the surname Johnson who had been tested by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) as of March 1, 2009 had a Y-DNA signature that resembled the one Joseph1’s descendants have.10 Further, of the about 150,000 men that have been Y-DNA tested at Family Tree DNA, only men with the surname Vick, Holland, Strickland, and Shaw have a Y-DNA signature matching Joseph1’s. The same holds true for the about 32,000 men that have been Y-DNA tested at SMGF. Based on discussions with the Hollands, the Stricklands and the one Shaw who match the Joseph1 Y-DNA signature, they are very likely descendants of Joseph1.

While Y-DNA cannot prove that William Alfred was the son of Alfred6, it does show there is good reason to believe he was the son of Alfred6. This reasoning is based upon the fact that William Alfred was in the same household in 1880 with Alfred6’s other probable children, and William Alfred’s descendants’ Y-DNA signature matched the Y-DNA signature of other Robert2 (Joseph1) descendants. This conclusion is in spite of the fact that the 1880 census says William Alfred’s father was born in AR and the other children’s father was born in TN.

Sometimes we must look beyond paper records for answers in tracing our roots. Using Y-DNA to trace your roots is a powerful addition to your family history tool box. You can read more about DNA and its usefulness in tracing ancestry in the book Tracing Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner.


1 Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. 1880; Census Place: Illinois, Pope, Arkansas; Roll: T9_54; Family History Film: 1254054; Page: 90.2000; Enumeration District: 137; Image: 0299.
2 Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003. Original data: 1870. Year: 1870; Census Place: Gally Rock, Pope, Arkansas; Roll: M593_61; Page: 353; Image: 159.
3 Vick Family Newsletter, Vol. XIX, No. 3 and 4, p. 53.
4 Hunting For Bears, comp.. Arkansas Marriages, 1779-1992 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2001.
5 Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp.. Arkansas Marriages, 1851-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2001.
6 Ibid
7 Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
8 Val D. Greenwood, The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1990], 185.
9 Family Tree DNA (www.ftdna.com) has the largest database of Y-DNA signatures in the world.
10 The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (www.smgf.org) has the largest collection of Y-DNA samples with correlated pedigrees in the world.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

2009 Vick Family Reunions

I wonder how many Vick Family reunions there will be this year. The Joseph Vick Family of America (the largest clan of Vicks in the U.S.) will hold its 2009 reunion July 17-19, 2009, in Vicksburg, MS, at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Vicksburg.

The JVFOA reunion committee has reserved a block of rooms for the three nights. The number of rooms is limited, so if you plan to attend you should make your reservations as soon as possible to ensure you get a reservation at the JVFOA discounted rate of $89 per night.

Just call 601-634-8777 to make your reservation. Be sure to tell the reservations clerk you are with the Joseph Vick Family of America. Continental breakfast is included.

The hotel is located at 4330 S. Frontage Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180. More details about reunion activities will be announced soon. You can also watch the Joseph Vick Family of America Facebook group (if you use Facebook group) for more details. If you do use Facebook and you are not a member of the Joseph Vick Family of America Facebook group, you might want to join the group. It is a great way to meet other Vicks and to keep in touch.

The Vick Family of Texas (Joseph Vick clan members in Texas) has announced the following details of its June 26-27, 2009 reunion which will be held in Salado, TX:Friday, June 26, 6:30-8:30pm, Schoeff’s BBQ Dinner, The Rose Mansion, Sun Room & PatioSaturday, June 27, 11:00am-3:00pm, Vick Reunion, The Stagecoach Inn, Longhorn Room-Fajita Buffet, 12:00pm-Bingo, Silent & Live Auction, Kid’s GamesSaturday, June 27, 4:00-8:00pm, Vick Ranch-Bonfire Dinner, 6:00pm-Homemade Ice Cream, Live Entertainment, Kid’s ActivitiesThe following accommodations have been arranged:
The Rose Mansion B&B www.therosemansion.com 254-947-8200 (13 rooms, must reserve by May 26th, $100-160/night, includes breakfast for 2, featured in Southern Living Magazine)The Stagecoach Inn www.staystagecoach.com 254-947-5111 (12 rooms, must reserve by May 26th, $70/night)Let them know that you are with the Vick Reunion.There is also a Facebook group for this reunion. It is called appropriately enough Vick Reunion.

Do other Vick clans have reunions planned? It would be interesting to know about them wherever they may be – in the U.S. or anywhere in the world.