Sunday, August 8, 2010

Finding my Proctors' Y...with, 23andMe and FTDNA

I have had an unbelievable week with my Proctor family research thanks to, 23andMe and FTDNA. It has been a great example of the intersection of traditional genealogy research and genetic genealogy and what can be accomplished when they are successfully used in conjunction with each other.

Family Background
My mother is a Proctor by birth, but my grandfather Everett Proctor died when I was very young. As a result of that and my parents moving from Washington to California, I have never really known the Proctor extended family. This ancestral line has been traced all the way back to John Graye Proctor who sailed from London on the "Sea Venture" for the Jamestown Colony and was shipwrecked in Bermuda (probably the basis for Shakespeare's "The Tempest") before finally reaching the New World in the winter of 1609/10. Because of this line and the women who married into it, I am eligible to join the DAR, the Mayflower Society and the Jamestowne Society. It has been one of my primary branches of interest, although much of my research has been focused on the Proctors of the 1700s - 1800s. In fact, my 4th great grandparents Nicholas Proctor III (b.abt 1756) and his wife Rachel Wright (b.abt 1755) are my favorite ancestors.

The Proctor Y-Chromosome
I recently took over the management of the Proctor DNA Surname Project at FTDNA. This project utilizes the Y-DNA of Proctor males to attempt to sort out the many Proctor/Procter lineages. Unfortunately, I have had no access to "my" Proctor Y-Chromosome since my mother only had one sister and only one of my grandfather's brothers had male children. This is the part of my family that I have never met. A few months ago, I decided to try to track down my mother's (2) Proctor male cousins. In my attempt, I used my usually successful combination of tools to find living relatives (, Google, US Search, Facebook) with little success.
Monday I signed into my account. I always check the "Recent Member Connect Activity"  since I have found a lot of relatives this way (especially since "Who Do You Think You Are?" premiered). Immediately, I noticed that someone was copying information and photos of my Proctors onto their tree. This isn't unusual because this is a highly researched family. However, this person wasn't adding information on my 4th, 5th or 6th great grandparents, but, instead, seemed to be researching my CLOSE Proctors! I excitedly clicked through to her tree and deduced that this was one of my Proctor second cousins AND a daughter of one of the Proctor males that I had unsuccessfully been trying to track down. She had just joined the day before! In the days since this happy event, we have become well acquainted and are sharing research. Eventually, this may even lead to the elusive Y-Chromosome I have been seeking...
On Wednesday, I logged into my 23andMe account and saw that both my mother and myself had a new predicted 4th Cousin with a range of 3rd to 6th Cousin. I sent out an invite to connect, as always, without much expectation. I have been enthusiastically working with my Relative Finder results from 23andMe for about seven months. Although, I have invested countless hours into learning the science behind autosomal DNA matching, working with the technology and communicating with my predicted cousins there, it has been a real challenge to find the actual connection with my new "cousins," even though I have a relatively full and well-researched family tree.
This match immediately accepted my invitation to connect. She only had two surnames listed in her profile, but I was thrilled to see that one of them was Proctor!  When we communicated she informed me that she had not done any research on her family, but provided me with her grandparents' names (deceased) and former city of residence. I was very quickly able to locate them in various censuses on and track her Proctor family line back in time. It went like this: Her grandfather - Richard Milas Proctor (b.1859) - Jeremiah Proctor (b.1822) - Richard Proctor (b.1787) - Joseph Proctor (b.abt 1755) - Nicholas Proctor Jr (b.1725). Great news! Nicholas Jr (sometimes called Sr.) and his wife Nannie Smith (b.1738) are my 5th great grandparents! My line is: My grandfather Everett (b.1903) - Daniel Proctor (b.1866)  - Ephraim Proctor (b.1822) - John Proctor (b.1785) - Nicholas Proctor III (b.abt 1756) - Nicholas Proctor Jr. (b.1725). That makes us 6th cousins! Although at the lower end of the prediction, 23andMe got it exactly right! This little stretch of 31cMs on my 22nd Chromosome pretty likely ties me all the way back to my Proctor 5th great grandparents and their son Nicholas Proctor III who I have spent long hours getting acquainted with and admiring. I was more than pleased to be able to tell my new cousin that her 4th great grandfather and mine fought together in the Revolutionary War with Daniel Boone, both of them already approved "patriots" by the DAR.
This new 6th cousin also mentioned that she had male Proctor relatives. Ah, that elusive Y-Chromosome makes another appearance!

FTDNA Surname Project
As I mentioned previously, I am the Administrator for the Proctor DNA Project at FTDNA. As such, I am the contact person for any male Proctor inquiring about Y-DNA testing.
On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from a Mr. Proctor interested in DNA testing.  As we exchanged emails, we discovered that we likely both descend from John Graye Proctor of Jamestown and probably share a common ancestor sometime in the 1700s. It looks like he may even be the first to give me that long-sought-after Proctor Y-Chromosome signature.

My introduction to each of these Proctors came to me from a different source, however we all share a common ancestral link. Without my exhaustive paper genealogy, none of this would have been possible, but it was facilitated by three of the companies that offer us ground-breaking products of wide-reaching genealogical importance. FTDNA and 23andMe have introduced me to my genetic cousins all over the world, while has provided me with an almost never-ending supply of information about my genealogical family through their rich library of source material and links to living relatives through their innovative "Member Connect" system. This week was a good reminder of the fact that genetic genealogy and traditional research sources can function hand-in-hand in scaling brickwalls and tracking down elusive branches and living members of our genealogical and genetic families.

**UPDATE on my search for my grandfather's Y-DNA here

[Disclosure - My company StudioINTV has an existing production agreement with FTDNA that has no bearing on the opinions I express. I receive no other compensation in relation to any of the companies or products referenced in my blog.] 


  1. Wow, sounds great and great way to make use of all of these great testing companies to find what you are looking for. We have so many resources in our hands these days. Can't wait to see what we will have in 5 or 10 years :-)

  2. Hello, I am a Proctor decendent on my mother's side..Joseph Proctor Eng 1762, Dan Proctor Eng 1807, Alfred Agustus Proctor (date unknown), Elon Chrysler Muskegon, Mich 1854 who married Mary Elinor Johnson (born 1863)from Utah. They ended up in San Fernando Valley, LA Cty, CA. They had 3 children, the oldest was Elmo Clare Proctor born 1880, he married Ella May Wright also born 1880, they had had 7 children the secondest eldest was Mildred born 1908. She married Harry Vernon Rook born 1898 who was from Indiana. They had 2 daughters. Their second daughter is Eleanor Elizabeth born 1930 and I am her daughter Linda LaMont born 1950. Lots of our genealogy was researched by their eldest daughter Clara May when she joining the Mormon church. There is a book online called Our Pioneer Mother that was written by Ann Willden-Johnson who was the wife of Neils Christian Johson from Denmark born 1832. The farthest my records go back is to William Warryner born about 1634 and Mary Smith born about 1638 who married 1659 in Sutton.Cum-Loud Notts, Eng. Check it out if you are interested.

  3. Lulu1950gemini, If you come back and read this, please email me at I have no way to contact you.
    Thanks for the comment,

  4. No idea if anyone will see this old post, but thought I would say that I've traced my line back to the original John Proctor who sailed on the Sea Venture. The last Proctor in my line was Little Page, son of Nicholas, who fought with his brothers at Boonesborough.

    Thomas Hoefling

    1. Hi Thomas,
      Nice to hear from you, Cousin! Have you DNA tested yet? We have a few of Little Page's descendants in the Proctor DNA Project and on the Proctor DNA Study page here:
      Please join us!

  5. This is extremely late compared to the post, But I have found I am also related to John Graye Proctor who came over on the seaventure. I thought that was interesting and have been doing research and found this page and thought I would share. Also his son George Proctor of Bacon's Rebellion is my ancestor. More interesting news I can share. :)

    1. I am also a descendent of John Graye Proctor. I live close to Jamestown in Virginia. My maternal grandfather was a Collins in NC. Wonder if we are related? Theresa

    2. I appears that we are all, at least, distantly related. :-)

    3. CeDe, you might be interested in knowing that the Jamestowne Society insists John Gray Proctor and wife, Alice, NEVER had any children. I have traced back to George Proctor of Bacons Rebellion and know he was their child, my line of the Proctors. Any help would be appreciated in convincing The Society of their many children. Thank you and enjoy watching you on TV. P.s. my previous post citing the Collins connection was an error in a brain fog moment.:( Got my my family lines mixed up for a moment.
      My brother is willing to take the required DNA test to prove lineage. Please advise the most reliable test. Thanks, Theresa

    4. Hi Theresa,
      I did not know that! I was wondering why he wasn't on their list of approved ancestors. I know that researchers have had a very difficult time finding any sources to support the early Proctors in Jamestown, so at this point, I think it is impossible to prove one way or the other who the father of George was. If you have any Proctor surnames males in your family, I would love to have them take a Y-37 test and join my Proctor DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. If not, you can try an autosomal DNA test to see if you match any of the other Proctor descendants. Can you please share the rest of your line, so I can figure out how closely we are related? Thanks, CeCe

  6. I am a Proctor and Collins. I live near Jamestown, va.

  7. I am a descendant of John Graye Pr. and Allis, George and Joshua. who married katherine Owen. They had Catherine Proctor who married Edward Grantham. They had Thomas Grantham who is my 5th gg. This goes into Easterling.

  8. I am also a PROCTOR descendant. My 'proved' PROCTOR line begins at Robert PROCTOR through his daughter Sarah PROCTOR who married Richard BRANSCOMB.
    This is all coming off the top of my head and I can't remember the birth and death dates.
    I am genuinely convinced that John Graye PROCTOR is the beginning of all the PROCTORS in early Virginia and would like to work on proving this to get his name included in The Jamestowne Society rolls. I am a member of The Jamestowne Society through Dr. John WOODSON and a member of DAR.
    Cee Cee in Tennessee

  9. Another Proctor descendant here! Working on tracing it back through the tree, but I am of the Welch/Proctor vein, from Western NC mts. :)