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Addendum 1. Analysis of Terry Y-DNA Markers

PDF VERSION 1 Sep 2016

Analysis of Y-DNA Markers Relevant to

Thomas Terry of Bucks b 1653

By Richard L. Tolman, Ph. D.1


     Examination of Y-DNA markers for Terry males in the online table ‘The Terry DNA Project: Y-Results’ at www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/terry/results revealed and allowed important deductions to be made. The table below shows the markers (STR’s, short tandem repeats) for Terry male data relevant to the Bucks County Pennsylvania ancestor, Thomas Terry (1653-1704), hereafter TTB.

                      Note: Name and lineage of Richard Terry (1) is used with permission; other DNA donor
                      entries and lineages (2-10) used as published on the www.worldfamilies.net website without verification.

                      See original data at www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/terry/results or


(1) Y-DNA of Richard Terry, an 8thggson of TTB. LINEAGE from TTB: Richard Terry (Enos Clyde Jr.10 Enos Clyde Sr.9 Zera Pulsipher8 Thomas Sirls7 Thomas Sirls Sr.6 John5 David4 Thomas3 Jasper2 Thomas1).

(2) Y-DNA of Walter Cecil Terry, a gson of Jonathan Terry, who in turn is a 3rdggson of TTB. PROPOSED LINEAGE from TTB: Walter Cecil Terry (Alexander7 Jonathan6 David William5 David4 Thomas3 Jasper2 Thomas1)

(3) Y-DNA of Richard Taylor Terry, a ggson of John Thomas Terry of North Carolina. PROPOSED LINEAGE from TTB: Richard Taylor Terry (Lawrence Hiba8 Zachary Taylor7 John Thomas6 unknown5 unknown4 unknown3 unknown2 Thomas1)

(4) Y-DNA of Patrick A. Terry, purported 8thggson TTB. This lineage differs from (1) in that he descends from a different son in the third generation. PURPORTED LINEAGE from TTB: Patrick A. Terry (Spencer Hibbs9 Benjamin F.8 Henry B.7 John Jr6 John Sr5 John4 John3 Jasper2 Thomas1).



     So, let’s deal with the matches first. In all the Terry males whose Y-DNA sequence was determined, two other patterns of STR’s matched the parent Richard Terry (1) with VERY close genetic distance: 2 mismatches each among the 37 loci. They are also assigned by a mathematical algorithm2 to the same Haplotype: I-P37 lineage 2. Significantly, these two matches (2 and 3) differed from one another by 2 mismatches as well. This means that there exist astronomical odds that these three individuals (1, 2, and 3) are NOT very closely-related and it means they have a common ancestor (as shown below, TTB). We know by conventional genealogical proofs3 (see the accompanying essay Five Generations) that (1) is an 8thggson of Thomas Terry (1653-1704), TTB. Therefore, odds are that the other two are ggsons of TTB too.

     Proof of (2) as ggson of TTB is easy: the DNA donor described his pedigree from Jonathan Terry, b. 31 Mar 1818 at PA. Jonathan Terry is a son of David William and Anne (Burr) Terry and a gson of David and Grace (Davis) Terry.4 Therefore Jonathan is a 3rdggson of TTB. In Mulvany’s History of Toronto and King County5 the biography of Jonathan’s older brother Benjamin (names father David) discloses that the family moved to Canada in 1822; they lived in King Township and were the only Terrys in King township, Ontario (names: Benjamin, Joseph, David and John).6 David (William) Terry and sons are also found in the 1851 Canadian census records7 of King, York County, Ontario and establish the family structure of David William Terry and his sons including Jonathan, b. 31 Mar 1818 and his wife Sarah Jane Anderson and their children.8,9 Jonathan died 21 Nov 1879 at York, Ontario, age 64 (b. 1815 in Pennsylvania).10 ‘The Terry Family’ (a Quaker genealogy of the David Terry family of East Gwillimbury Township, York, Ontario)11 also describes David’s son David William Terry and his wife Anne Burr who left Bucks in 1822 for Upper Canada (Ontario). Susanna Terry’s will12 shows David Terry (wife: Grace Davis) to be a gson of TTB.

     So, if one doubted the predictive value of Y-DNA sequencing, this should provide us some confidence that the system works and works well. DNA doesn’t lie.

     The case of (3) is not as clear. John T. Terry (John Thomas Terry), b. 22 Mar 1800 at New Bern, Craven, North Carolina married Julia Brooks abt 1824 as shown in the supplied pedigree13 of the DNA donor. John Thomas Terry’s family situation is confirmed by the 1850 Census of District 800, Troup, Georgia14 that shows John Thomas (age 50) with wife Julia and their eight children. North Carolina is not a usual place to find a descendant of TTB. Ancestry trees has a whole gaggle of public trees all proclaiming John Thomas a son of Rowland and Henrietta Terry of North Carolina, but without sources. Many of these trees say Henrietta died in 1784, making it difficult for her to have a son in 1800; Rowland would have been 62 yrs in 1800 and Henrietta, if alive would have been 55 yrs, well beyond the usual child-bearing years. Additionally, the 1800 census of New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina,15 where John Thomas was born that same year, shows only one Terry family, a David Terry—but no Rowland Terry. The David Terry family in 1800 (or 1810) does not appear to embody any males less than 10 years (census). This author cannot accept Rowland Terry as John Thomas’s father without more evidence. 

      The DNA evidence is very strong that John Thomas Terry is a gson of TTB.  But just how he is descended from TTB is uncertain. The best possibility is that John Thomas is a son David Terry, son of Thomas (no. 47 in the ‘Five Generations of the Terry Family…’ essay on this website).  John Thomas’ father David (Thomas2 Thomas3 Jasper2 Thomas1) was born abt 1775 of Moreland Twp, Montgomery, Pennsylvania but then clearly disappeared from Pennsylvania, perhaps showing up in the Carolinas.  There was a David Terry resident in Craven County in the 1800 census vide supra that was the right age to be the son of Thomas Terry and Olly Davis.  Please see the accompanying essay on this website (‘Five Generations of the Terry Family…) for additional detail.

     Line (4) in the table belongs to my friend Patrick A. Terry, also proposed to be an 8thggson of TTB by conventional genealogical proofs, but through another son in generation three. However there are many mismatches in the DNA marker data allowing us to conclude that (4) cannot descend from TTB. Perhaps there is an error in the conventional paper genealogy (unlikely) or more likely there is a surname discontinuance (an NPE) or adoption somewhere in the paternal lineage. We need more data here to solve this problem.

     In summary, the Y-DNA marker data in Table 1 and known paper records indicate and are consistent with (1), (2), and (3) as ggsons of TTB. The DNA marker data does not support (4) as a ggson of TTB.


(1) Y-DNA of Richard Terry, an 8thggson of TTB. LINEAGE from TTB: Richard Terry (Enos Clyde Jr.10 Enos Clyde Sr.9 Zera Pulsipher8 Thomas Sirls7 Thomas Sirls Sr.6 John5 David4 Thomas3 Jasper2 Thomas11).

(5) Y-DNA of son of Richard Collins Terry b. 4 Oct 1909 Baiting Hollow, NY. LINEAGE from Southold Terrys: Richard Collins Terry8 (Richard C.7 Columbus Franklin6 Richard5 Daniel4 James3 Daniel2 Thomas1 = Thomas Terry b 1607 Southold L. I., m Marie Bigge).

(6) Y-DNA of son of William Clarence Terry b. 1902 Rahway, NJ. LINEAGE from Southold Terrys: William Clarence Terry10 (William Clarence9 William E.8 William7 Lewis6 Jonathan5 William4 Thomas3 Thomas2 Thomas1 = Thomas Terry b 1607 Southold L. I., m Marie Bigge).

(7) Y-DNA of son of Vaughn LaGrand Terry b. 11 Sep 1926 SLC, UT. LINEAGE from Southold Terrys: Vaughn LaGrand Terry11 (LaGrand Redell10 Joshua Parshall9 Joshua8 Parshall7 Parshall6 Parshall5 Jonathan4 Nathaniel3 Nathaniel2 Richard1 = Richard Terry b 1618 London d 1675 Southold NY, m Abigail Lines).



     In Table 2 are tabulated all the Y-DNA data for descendants of the 17th century Southold, Long Island (NY) Terry family. Quick perusal of data makes it obvious that TTB (1) and the Southold Terrys are closely related with 4-5 mismatches with each of the Southold entries. The fact that all the mutations are at common loci (3-4, 9, 21, and 34-35) is a further indication that there is a common ancestor and we are not looking at random mutations. The Southold Terrys are more closely related to each other (1-2 mismatches) than they are related to TTB17.

     This probably means that Richard Terry’s (1) line to TTB and the brothers Thomas and Richard of Southold Long Island (New York) share a common earlier ancestor. He could connect to the Southold Terry line even earlier—either in England or through the missing brother Robert who apparently immigrated to Flushing, NY at the same time his brothers Thomas and Richard settled in Southold (1630). In any event these data provide strong evidence that Thomas Terry of Bucks is of English origin and that his people may have sojourned in Southold, Long Island or Flushing, New York with his cousins before obtaining a land grant from William Penn in 168318 and settling in Bucks County Pennsylvania.


(1) Y-DNA of Richard Terry, an 8thggson of TTB. LINEAGE from TTB: Richard Terry (Enos Clyde Jr.10 Enos Clyde Sr.9 Zera Pulsipher8 Thomas Sirls7 Thomas Sirls Sr.6 John5 David4 Thomas3 Jasper2 Thomas1).

(8) Y-DNA of a gson of Milburn Luster Terry b 1912 Washington Co. AZ; Milburn Luster Terry5 (James Noah4 Clark Henderson3 John2 William1 = William Terry b 1724 d 1803 of Botetourt Co. VA; md Rachel Manson).

(9) Y-DNA of William H. Terry b 1908 Oneida, Scott, TN; William H. Terry6 (John Marion5 Milton4 Josiah3 John2 William1 = William Terry b 1724 d 1803 of Botetourt Co. VA; md Rachel Manson).

(10) Y-DNA of Harvey William Terry b 1897 d 1976; Harvey William Terry7 (Charles Edward6 William5 John4 William3 John2 William1 = William Terry b 1724 d 1803 of Botetourt Co. VA; md Rachel Manson).



     This area of investigation suffers from inadequate data. There are pedigrees loaded into the Terry database for which no DNA SNP data are available. Comparisons without relevant data are tragically not possible. This is especially important for Virginia Terrys as it is obvious that there were multiple Terry sources.

     From earlier work (an essay ‘Five Generations of the Terry Family in Bucks County Pennsylvania’) the author suggested that since the English forename ‘Jasper’ has infrequent use in the Americas and it is known that TTB’s son Jasper had a son Jasper that married and went to Virginia with his Hart in-laws—it is highly likely that the Jasper (gson of TTB) who married Mary Hart in Bucks, PA and the Jasper Terry of Botetourt County Virginia who married Mary Morrison are one and the same. This thesis is not supported by the Y-DNA data as the Y-DNA data sets for two descendants of Jasper Terry (b. ca 1720) are classified in the G-02 haplotype, not the I-02 haplotype as they would be if they were descended from TTB.

     In Table 3 (above) is displayed the 37 loci Y-DNA Markers for 18th century Botetourt County Virginia Terrys—descendants of William Terry of Botetourt (8-10). A nephew and ggson of TTB, William Terry, b. abt 1725 made a similar move to Virginia (he married Eleanor Holmes in 1756 in New Jersey). Quaker records19 show the couple moved to Virginia (Botetourt County). The table displays the DNA data (haplotype I-02; lines 8, 9 and 10) for the male Terry descendants of William Terry, b 1724 of Botetourt County (he married Rachel Manson/Martin in Philadelphia, PA—a second wife?). Comparison of these data showing 3 or fewer mismatches with (1) very strongly support the suggestion that William Terry ggson of TTB is the William Terry of Botetourt, b 1724 m Rachel Manson.

     In summary, from the DNA evidence it is highly likely that one of the 18th century Botetourt County Virginia Terrys, (William Terry b 1724) and (1) share a common ancestor. They are very likely both descended from TTB. The Y-DNA profiles of various descendants of Jasper Terrys of Virginia do not confirm a common ancestor with (1).


     Since most of what is available to read about Y-DNA is largely unintelligible to someone familiar with the science or so watered down so as to be totally useless, I thought I would make my own attempt to explain the scientific background in this area.

     Few have a real understanding of how important DNA is—it is far more important than the family jewels—it defines everything about us and what we are and besides that carries with it lots of unused baggage in the way of heritage from our ancestors. The first thing to know is that it is almost unimaginably large. Consider what it might take in plans and construction to make all the pieces of our bodies (over 200 cell types) and then make all the machines (enzymes) that run the processes in our body as well as all the protective systems to keep everything running right. Most things in the body are made of protein (chains of aminoacids). To encode all the protein sequences that are required to make all these proteins only requires 5% of the total DNA in a cell. Think of DNA as a giant book; even if a cell only needs chapter 14 to run all its processes it still has the whole book in its nucleus. So in the DNA in our cells we have the important stuff (one twentieth of the total) plus a lot of other not-so-critical stuff that we have inherited from our ancestors or perhaps other stuff whose function the scientists have not figured out yet. This is how one of your kids can be the spitting image of great-uncle Fred (the kid has inherited some of the stuff we have carried along in our genome (DNA) but which we have not had the need to use in our lifetime).

     Security—a very important concern for your DNA. These DNA sequences are made up of only 4 different building blocks (A, C, G, T) and are fashioned into a double helix or duplex made up of two complimentary strands of DNA where all A’s are paired with T’s and G’s are paired with C’s. If one of these building blocks is damaged, changed by accident, or is somehow impaired it will not form a correct duplex with its partner in the duplex and will make a lump in the side of the double helix. Special repair enzymes roll down one of grooves of the helix all the time and look for problems—if they find one, they fix it by excising the damaged building block and putting in the right one. If they can’t fix it for some reason, they arrange for a flag to be placed on the outside of the cell that says ‘there is something wrong here—take out this cell’ and one of your immune cells (‘natural killer cells’) comes along and kills the cell so that it can be replaced with a good one. So most problems with the DNA are fixed by the cell, but a select few are missed—these changes in sequence are called mutations. That’s how important it is that the integrity and fidelity of the DNA is preserved. A change in a critical region (a ‘lethal mutation’) critically impairs the cell’s function and kills the cell; other mutations have minor effects on cell function that may be accommodated by the cell processes or the mutation may have no real effect on cell function. Cells which are defective in some way produce defective progeny and therefore inevitably cause problems over time resulting in bad things like ageing and cancer. Despite all efforts, DNA undergoes some alteration over time.

           Figure 1.20 Human Chromosomes                                                      Figure 2.21 A folded protein

     To protect the DNA even more effectively, your body has other techniques. One is supercoiling. Consider a balsa-wood model airplane with a rubber band motor. At rest the rubber band is flat and straight. As you wind up the propeller, the rubber band knots up and then the knots knot up, until in the extreme case you have a big round knot of solid rubber. This is called supercoiling and this is what your DNA does to help protect itself from foreign intervention from ultraviolet rays or other similarly nasty things that could damage (mutate) the sequences. Figure 1 shows an electromicrograph of each of the human chromosomes, including the Y-chromosome. You can see that it looks like a big Y-shaped knot. To read the DNA the cell has a big complex of machines that work together to unwind, read, and make a transcript of the sequence. The very clever unwinding enzymes are called gyrases (bacterial) or topoisomerases. We have 23 pairs of chromosomes (pairs because one was originally from mom (XX) and the other from dad (XY)). The Y-chromosome is the smallest of all the chromosomes (about 2 million information-carrying building blocks); it encodes all the masculine receptors and carrier proteins and other male enzymes. The sequence of Y is obtained entirely from dad; mom cannot help because she does not have these DNA sequences (she has two X-chromosomes). All babies in utero develop female genitalia until the Y-chromosome is read and the Y-proteins are made which then masculinizes the fetus (Wolffian differentiation).

     Think about how complicated the DNA must be in order to tell the cell how to make a given protein or enzyme. If you read instructions for making a model airplane on a piece of paper (2-dimensional)—it contains pieces to be cut out and also instructions about how to build the airplane (which will ultimately be 3-dimensional). This is what the DNA does as well—in a long chain of characters (2-dimensional) it has the code for the aminoacids that have to be linked together to make the protein and also interspersed in the chain, instructions on how to make those aminoacid chains into a 3-dimensional object that will work. Figure 2 shows a typical protein. Putting this baby together would be very complicated and a lot harder than building a model airplane. Scientists today only understand a few of the ways DNA can encode these complicated instructions. These instructions include these STR’s (short tandem repeats) that are important to genealogists. The coding regions for the aminoacids cannot tolerate many mutations as this would affect the working of the enzyme/protein. The in-between regions which can encode instructions are much more tolerant to change. A tool that is used to separate important pieces is to incorporate an STR—a short nonsense sequence of building blocks that is repeated over and over to make a kind of spacer. The STR value at each of the loci in the Y-DNA panel is the number of times the nonsense sequence is repeated. So you can see how diagnostic it may be to examine this huge sequence and count the number of times the nonsense sequence is repeated for each one of these loci—these numbers are handed down religiously from father to son because the son’s Y-chromosome was copied from his father’s.

     I hope this sheds some light on this terrifically interesting topic.


     The author is grateful to Robert Mike Terry, former editor of Terry Family Historian quarterly and current Family Tree DNA Administrator for the Terry DNA surname project, for reading and commenting on this essay. The author also expresses gratitude to the genealogically-wonderful sisters Camille Bastian Cox and Marieta Bastian Peterson for help in locating TTB descendants.


1. Richard L. Tolman, retired scientist/executive: Ph. D. in DNA bio-medicinal chemistry (University of Utah, 1969) with more than 30 years experience in DNA-related problems and research.

2. See Wikipedia.org online (search: Haplotype) for an instant headache.

3. See the accompanying essay, ‘Five Generations of the Terry Family of Bucks County Pennsylvania’ and relevant cited sources at www.29deadpeople.com; hereafter Five Generations.

4. See Five Generations (summer 2016 edition).

5. Mulvaney, Charles Pelham ‘Biographical Notes: Benjamin Terry’ History of Toronto and County of York, Vol II (C. Blackett Robinson: Toronto, 1885) pp. 426-7.

6. Crowder, Norman Kenneth Inhabitants of York County, Ontario 1850 (Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch, 1992) p. 33. (King Township)

7. 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, District York County, Subdistrict King, Roll C_11760, Page 133, Johnathan is age 37 (b. 1815); Benjamin and father David are found on Page 131, King, York County; online at ancestry.com (accessed 4 Mar 2012).

8. See Five Generations (summer 2016 edition) and ‘Escaping the United States to Freedom in Upper Canada: A History of David Terry, Quaker’ at www.29deadpeople.com.

9. See also ‘Pearleen Elves’ Family Tree’, owner: Pearleen M Elves, online at Trees at Ancestry.com (person.ancestry.com/tree/46011801as well as ‘Press Family Tree’, owner: elizabethpresshoyt, online at Trees at Ancestry.com (person.ancestry.com/tree/8163588 (accessed 22 Apr 2016).

10. Ontario, Canada, Deaths 1869-1938, Archives of Ontario, Series MS935, Reel 23, online at Ancestry.com (accessed 22 Apr 2016).

11. “The Terry Family”, article (author unknown), in “Genealogy and Resources”, 5 pages; online at sharontemple.ca(http://www.sharontemple.ca/pdf/Genealogy%20%28By%20Family%29/family_terry.pdf); accessed 15 Jul 2012.

12. Susanna Terry’s will, proven 6 Nov 1805, is undoubtedly the most valuable Terry genealogical document of the period: this document names all living sibs of Susanna (including David and wife Grace Davis Terry) and many of her nieces and nephews; Bucks County Wills, Book 7, p. 117, abstracted in Pennsylvania Wills 1682-1834 (no longer online). Susanna Terry is the daughter of Thomas Terry (Jasper2 Thomas1) and ggdau of TTB.

13. See supplied pedigrees of donors at www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/terry/pats

14. 1850 U. S. Census of District 800, Troup, Georgia, Roll: 432_84, Page 99A, Image 85, Family no. 3; online at ancestry.com (accessed 6 Jan 2016).

15. 1800 Census of New Bern, Craven, North Carolina, Roll M32_31, Page 123, Image 253, FHL Film 337907; online at ancestry.com (accessed 6 Jan 2016).

16. Reproduced as they were submitted (may contain errors).

17. For more discussion of these data see the ‘Origins of Thomas Terry of Bucks, b. abt 1653’ essay on www.29deadpeople.com for additional discussion of TTB and the Southold Terrys (in preparation).

18. Five Generations (summer 2016 edition) and the essay ‘Origins of Thomas Terry of Bucks, b. abt 1653’ (in preparation).

19. See ‘Five Generations of the Terry Family of Bucks County Pennsylvania’ and relevant cited sources at www.29deadpeople.com.

20. Original from Balkwill, Fran (illust. By Mic Rolph) Amazing Schemes within your Genes (Carolrhoda Books: London, England, 1993), p. 15 (with modification).

21. Online at Wikipedia, search: ‘protein folding’.

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