THE WHEATLEY DNA PROJECT
The Wheatley DNA Project identifies a lineage when testing on two or more men show a high probability that they have a common ancestor in a genealogical time period. Each group descends from one patriarch with a single Y-DNA signature which has been passed from father to son, to son, one generation to the next. The following lineages have been identified through DNA testing and traditional genealogical research. Each lineage corresponds to the lineages on the y-Results page.
Lineage I - The earliest known ancestor was Arthur Whitley born about 1712. The earliest record for Arthur was his purchase of land in Beaufort County, North Carolina in 1752. Records also indicate that Arthur Whitley had brothers named Hardy and William. This line is closely related by Y-DNA to a group of Whitleys that lived in Bear Grass Township of Martin County, North Carolina. Hardy was a common given name in this group. Both Arthur Whitley and the Bear Grass Whitleys are closely related by Y-DNA to Whitleys who lived in the Maney’s Neck Township section of Hertford County., NC. The earliest records for Whitleys of this area are for purchases of land between the North Carolina-Virginia line, near the current Blackjack Oak Cemetery, and Buckhorn Swamp. This area of Hertford County was formed from Northampton County in 1741. In 1742, a William Whitley, Jr. purchased land adjacent to land he already owned in this area. Family tradition suggests that the immigrant ancestor of this family line came from Wales. Recent additions to this lineage group are lines from South Carolina, early Johnston Co., NC and early Montgomery Co., NC.
Lineage II - The earliest known ancestor for this lineage was Thomas Wheatley, first found in 1747 in the land records of Tyrrell County, North Carolina. He owned land near Wild Cat Road in present-day Martin County, North Carolina and in the early 1770’s moved his family to Pitt County, North Carolina and settled on Coneto Creek near present-day Bethel. Names associated with this line are Gainer, Crisp, Stokes, Rogers and Archdeacon. Two sons of Thomas Wheatley and his wife Mary were Alexander and William. Alexander, born in 1757, married Peggy Stokes, daughter of Marcus Stokes, 1781 in Pitt County. They resided in Claremont/Sumter County, South Carolina from the late 1780’s until 1800-1810, and eventually migrated to Weakley County, Tennessee where Alexander died in 1834. William, the youngest child of Thomas and Mary, was born about 1760. He and his wife Sarah resided in Pitt County until 1811 when the family migrated to Tennessee and settled in Humphreys County, later Benton County. William died in the early 1830’s.
Lineage III - This lineage has two members in two family trees. The progenitor is unknown but undoubtedly had roots in Maryland. Anecdotal evidence places one family of this lineage on the eastern shore of Maryland, traveling by boat to North Carolina. The other family in this lineage is researching a Wheatley branch of English Catholics. There was a John Wheatley that came to Maryland about 1640 and settled in Saint Mary’s County. Maryland had Catholic Governors until the “Protestant Revolt” removed the Catholic leadership. Then the American Revolution came along and Maryland was devastated by the war. Many farms were lost from inability to pay the mortgages and taxes (Prior to the revolution the farms were rented from the King’s Governor). A “League of Catholic Families” was formed with the goal of moving about 300 Catholic families to Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana. Some groups ended up in Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Alabama and North Carolina as well. The population of Saint Mary’s County dropped about 25% between 1790 and 1800. Some of John Wheatley’s descendants moved to Washington Co., Kentucky. Other groups were in Hardin/Breckinridge County. Many Catholic families settled in Perry Co., Indiana.
Lineage IV – The earliest ancestor was Samuel Wheatley who died in Tyrrell County, North Carolina 1739/1740. The first record of Samuel is found in the North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register by Hathaway, Vol 2, p 295, Chowan Precinct of Albermarle County, when he witnessed an assignment patent for 400 acres on the west side of Meherrin Creek, 1717/1718. In 1742, his son Samuel II received a grant of land in Tyrrell County, later Martin County, from King George II.
Lineage I – This lineage has three members, all descending from ancestor George Wheatley who died 1752 in Prince William County, Virginia. Two members descend from George Wheatley, Jr. George, Jr. married first Sarah Williams about 1753 in Fauquier County, Virginia and they had three children. He married second Diana Darnell about 1760 and they had four children. He removed to Wilkes County, North Carolina and in 1779 was granted 305 acres of land on Roaring River. The family lived on a tract of land between the South Fork of Roaring River and the ridge on top of Blue Ridge Mountain at Reddies Creek. George Wheatley died about 1805. Some of his descendants remained in Wilkes County and adopted the spelling of Whitley because a school teacher in the area told them as they were pronouncing it as Whitley, it should be spelled that way. Others went to Missouri where they served during the Civil War. The book Westerners in Gray: The Men & Missions of the Elite Fifth Missouri Infantry Regiment, by Phillip Thomas Tucker, devoted several paragraphs to the Wheatleys who served in this unit. Eight Wheatley men joined and all but one were killed. A third member of this lineage descends from George Wheatley, Sr. through his son James Wheatley who died 1795 in Fauquier County, Virginia. James Wheatley’s son Lawson was born about 1792. His will was recorded in Culpeper County in 1860.
Lineage I - Close matches have been found with seven other men tested either at SMGF, Ancestry.com or FTDNA. Shirley Whatley is known or suspected to be the ancestor of at least four of these men and the others appear to be related to earlier Whatleys in England. By family legend, Shirley Whatley was born in James City County, Virginia about 1690. The earliest documented record for Shirley Whatley is found in Hanover County, Virginia where he and wife Rebecca Whatley deeded property in the year 1734. In 1749 he and his son Michael were in Orange County, Virginia. In 1754 Shirley and sons William and Shirley, Jr. were on the muster roll of the militia of Granville County, North Carolina; and he was in Bute Co., North Carolina when he made his will in 1779.
Lineage II - This lineage has three members in one family tree with the earliest ancestor being Lucian Bonaparte Wheatley, born 1850 in Tennessee.