About Us

Who we are

mapWe are a small group of researchers who for many years, both independently and in collaboration with each other, have been researching Abernathy families who can be traced to Southside Virginia in colonial times.

Why We Initiated the Abernathy DNA Project

We found that there were at least three apparently separate branches of Abernathys in the area. The earliest known ancestors for the three branches are: Charles, whose birth year we estimate at 1720 or before; David, whose birth year we estimate at 1706 or before; and Robert, who is known to have arrived in the colonies in 1652. Our initial objective was to determine if these three lines are related to each other and if so, to find some clues as to how they were related and possibly when they diverged from a common ancestor.

We were also aware of a William Abernethy who was living in Wallingford, CT in the late 1600's. One of the more amazing revelations of the DNA project was that William of CT and Robert of VA were closely related; out of 43 markers tested, our two William descendants' DNA differed from the DNA prototype of the Robert descendants by only two markers.

Our interests have broadened over time to inclue all Abernathys, regardless of spelling variation, found anywhere in the world.

Other Objectives

We are firm believers in documentation. Information that cannot be documented should not be posted on the Internet. Misinformation that currently can be found online and the spread of which we would very much like to halt:

  1. Birth year of 1624 for Robert Abernathy who arrived in Virginia in 1652. Where did this come from?? And I don't mean copied from someone else's tree which itself contains no documentation of same.
  2. Born in Scotland and came here after being captured at the battle of Worcester. There is no proof of his birthplace, or that he was a prisoner of war. That is a possibility, but he could also have been accused of a crime.
  3. Father of Robert being George of Berrie; no evidence for this. George was likely an educated man, and I would like to point out that Robert was illiterate, as evidenced by his signing of the "Cow Document" with an X.
  4. His middle initial was A; it was very, very unusual for people of the Colonial period to have middle names or to use middle initials. For this, I cite my own experience cranking page by page through 17th century Charles City Co. records.
  5. Robert's wife Sara was the widow of a man named Cubbishe. There is not evidence as to whether Cubbishe was her maiden name or first married name.
  6. Birth year for Robert 2nd - there is no evidence for a specific year.
  7. Birth year for Robert 3rd - there is no evidence for a specific year. I believe the year 1695 was deduced from the 1716 will of Susannah Tillman (probated 1717) which named her grandson Robert as executor of her estate, and the thought that he was probably at least 21 at the time. He could also have been older than 21, or as far as I know, younger. I don't know what the customs or laws of the day were regarding the naming of an executor.
  8. About Robert 2nd's wife Christine - actually, the recorded copy of her mother's will calls her Christian - again, no evidence of a specific birth year. Also, her maiden name is more likely to have been Parham. I say this because land that was surveyed for Thomas Parham (a son of Christian's mother Susannah) found itself in the hands of Robert Abernathy by 1712 when it was recorded. This was the 100 a. on Sappone Creek in (then) Prince George Co. (now Dinwiddie).
  9. About Robert 3rd's wife Mary - no evidence of a last name for her, Harwell or otherwise. Harwell researchers have been working on this for years.
  10. John Abernathy's wife Lucy - no evidence for a middle or maiden name for her.
  11. John B. - no evidence for a middle name or initial.

Now, if anyone CAN prove any of this, or shed additional light on these issues, I would be DELIGHTED to hear it and I will not be even the least bit sorry to be corrected.