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The single most compelling research question for ARTERBURN descendants 
that remains unanswered:  If Peter Arterburn was of "East Indian" or South 
Asian (patrilineal) descentas historical sources attest and Y-DNA testing 
clearly supports (as opposed to Native American or African or European  
descent), then how did Peter come by the "Atterburn/Arterburn" surname?
Since there is no apparent history for "Atterburn" or "Arterburn" in Europe
or the British Isles, it seems unlikely that either spelling could have been
the actual form of an Old World surname.

And the corollary questions:   Was Peter the son of the "East Indian"
indentured servant, John Williamsas the name, "Peter Atterburn alias 
Williams," in Charles County Court records (1736) suggests?  Could

"Atterburn" or "Arterburn" represent the ancestral surname of Peter's

mother or the mother of his father, although spelled differently?

Did Peter simply adopt a new surname for some reason unknown

to us?

   The pronunciation of the "Otterburn" surname with its anomalous

   variations of spelling found in 19th-century English census records 

   are remarkably similar to the variations in spelling of Peter's surname

   as recorded in 18th-century public records of Maryland and Virginia.

   In Peter's time,  "ar" was pronounced by speakers of  English (RP)

   with broad A (as in "father") without the sound of "r" (non-rhotic),

   but "r" was retained in spelling (as in "card").  This speech sound 

   of broad A could easily be confused with the sound of short O (as

   in "otter") and vice versa, especially when names were spelled from

   vocalization, as illustrated by these examples of anomalous spellings

   in England and America (see also Some Research Notes (7th ed.), 

   pp. 29-46; pp. 61-70). 


   "Peter Otterburn" in Henry's record of baptism agrees with the

   broad A sound heard in "Arterburn," and also suggests (as with

   "Atter-") that the "r" sound may not have been distinctly heard in

   Peter's pronunciation.  Broad A (not short A) was almost certainly 

   intended in "Atterburn," although a deviation in English spelling 

   (i.e., a short vowel typically precedes double consonants) and

   missing the non-rhotic "r."   Some transcriptions of "Atterburn"

   (e.g., when not in an alphabetical list originally) could just as

   easily be interpreted as "Otterburn," since examples of cursive "A"

   and cursive "O" (without a distinct upper loop) that are virtually

   indistinguishable can be found in these public records. 

      Could there have been an unconscious bias that favored 

      broad A over short O, especially when personal names

      were spelled and only from vocalization, simply because

      the ordinary speech sound of broad A may have been

      more commonly heard and written than short O by those

      who heard Peter and recorded his surname?  Are the

      spellings of "Atterburn" found exclusively in Maryland

      and predominantly in Prince William County a clue that

      Peter may actually have been pronouncing "Otterburn"



   The evidence is clear that Peter's patrilineal ancestors were not

   English (or Scottish) "Otterburns."   Could Peter's mother have

   been an "Otterburn?"  There is no history of "Otterburns" in the 

   public records of colonial Maryland or Virginia, but there remains

   the possibility that Peter's mother might have been an indentured

   servant without any surviving documentary record.  Could the 

   mother of Peter's father have been an "Otterburn?"  This also

   must remain a possibility, given the longstanding history of

   India's relations with England that began with the East India

   Company, in 1600.

   What are we to make of the tradition of German ancestry reported

   by a majority of the descendants interviewed by Art and Jan Arterburn,

   or of the related claim of Swiss ancestry for the ARTERBURNS by a

   Shenandoah County historian?  Could Peter's wife, Sarah, or his 

   previous wife in Maryland have been the source of this tradition?

   Germans were the majority population in Shenandoah County, and

   Peter clearly associated with Germans (e.g., "Henry Speelman, John

   Woolf, Samuel Stover").  Some of the children of Peter and William 

   and their descendants intermarried with German and German-Swiss

   families (e.g., Booker, Carrier, Wey, Wolfe) in Virginia and Kentucky. 


   The anomalous rendering of  "Peter Arturberner" in Shenandoah

   County was probably related, though more likely a case of imputed

   identity, given what we now know.  "Arter" and "Bern" and "Berner"

   are authentic Swiss/German surnames, but this compound rendering

   apparently cobbled from the sound of Peter's name has no apparent

   history as a surname in either Germany or Switzerland.  Also, darkly

   complected Germans (e.g., "Black-Dutch") were present in northern

   Virginia.   Peter's physical appearance and the fact that he was 

   supporting a German, Henry Speelman, in court when this early

   spelling occurred (1774) might have suggested such an identity to

   the clerk who recorded his name.  But a more substantial form of

   attributed German identity seems implicit here, and very possibly

   derived from Sarah, his wife.  The origin of the tradition of our

   German ancestry and the origin of our surname are probably

   not related.  

       The formulation, "Peter Atterburn alias Williams," has not been

       found subsequently in Charles County Court records.  Although
       earlier records that are available have not been searched, this
       entry (1736) may reflect Peter's (b. 1711, age 25) first court 
       appearance and a statement of Peter's bona fides as a free man 
       with standing before the court.  "[A]lias Williams" suggests that  
       the court may have relied on the previously adjudicated status  
       of John Williams in this court (1706/7) during which Williams 
       was declared free of his indenture as surety for Peter's status.
       Once Peter's credentials were established before the court,
       there may have been no further need to declare this extended
       formulation in subsequent court records, which could explain
       its singular occurrence.
       We also have the account of John Gardiner pointing out his 
       (Nonesuch) property boundaries to Peter around this same
       time (1736/7), as attested in Peter's later court deposition   
       (1748).  Is this a clue that Peter may have been new to
       Nonesuchperhaps even to tobacco farming?   
       Johannah Hodgson had purchased John Williams' contract of
       indenture from "Mr. [Edward] Mann," who appears in court
       records of Talbot County, MD (search MSA online; also, see
       "Benjamin Guy alias Williams ... a freeman" in Talbot County
       Court, March 1730/1).  Could these be clues that Peter had 
       recently arrived in or returned to Charles County, and/or 
       that he might have had family ties in Talbot County?

Listed below are some resources that may assist further research:

                      RootsWeb/Marshall:  "Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and
                      Northern Neck Counties" (continually updated)

John Williams in Charles County Court  (12 November 1706,
       George Williams in Charles County Court (13 June 1733): 

"George Williams son and heir to William who intermarried

with a Pamunkey Indian Queen named Elizabeth of Prince

George's County ....  John Ward aged 75 deposeth that he 

has known George Williams a Native Indian from his infancy 

... son of the Queen of Pamunkey who was wife to an Indian

     [Note:  Use of the terms "intermarried" and "Native

     Indian" in contrast with "Indian" suggests that George

     Williams' father may have been an East Indian rather

     than a Native American.  Could George Williams' father

     and John Williams have been one and the same?  Could

     George Williams' father also have been the father of

     "Peter Atterburn alias Williams?"  If so, might Peter 

     have adopted a different surname for some reason

     unknown to us?  Perhaps George's status as "heir"

     might have been a factor.  If Elizabeth was Peter's

     mother, this might explain the naming of the early 

     20th-century "Otterburn School" (Otterburn Precinct,

     today) to honor a "tribe of Indians" who had previously

     inhabited the area.  The school was located where 

     Peter's family is known to have lived in Shenandoah

     County, Virginia (in Warren County, today).  Perhaps

     this was not garbled local tradition resulting only from

     the memory of Peter's "East Indian" ancestry after all,

     but actually a reflection of local memory of a Native

     American ancestry for the ARTERBURNS, as well.  It

     might even be the case that family tradition about

     William and Nancy in which Nancy was remembered 

     as a "full-blooded Indian" might actually refer back 

     to William and Elizabeth instead.]

"called Mc [?] William the father of the said Geo. Williams ...

that 31 years ago George Williams and his parents lived

where Fran[ci]s Payne now lives ... John Gar[di]ner deposed

the Indians were forted in Cornwallis' neck about fifty years

ago ..."  (see Heinegg's complete transcription)

               (Underline, italics, and bracketed contents above added)             

      (Note:  Here we have John Gardiner of Nonesuch

      testifying in court in support of a land claim of 

      George Williams, whose family had lived in the 

      same community of Mattawoman (see below also). 

      If Peter belonged to this Williams family and had

      had a longstanding acquaintance with Gardiner,

      this could explain why we find Peter at Nonesuch

      in 1736/7.)

   "Received from Francis Payn[e], Peter Atterburn" (1744)
                "John Gardiner, age ca 72; mentions he has known
                Mattawoman 40 years then called St. Thomas' Fresh;
                mentions Old Indian Field ..." 

   "Francis Pain, age 29 years; mentions Henry Ward ..."

   John Ward ... mentions his father, John Ward, Sr.,
                dec'd, his Pamunkey land ..."

                      Who exactly was the "William Davis" who provided "security"
                      for credit with Glassford (see Dumfries Stores Index) for "Peter     
                      Atterbirn"— landlord, employer, benefactor, relative/in-law,
                      or some combination of these?

"William Davis" in Colonial Maryland and Virginia 

"William Davis" in the census of Dunmore County (1775)
in district #4 adjacent to that (#3) of Peter and William
(see Supplemental Notes, Appendix #7, p. 598)

"Henry Tanner" and "William Davis" in Charles County
                Court Records, March 1738/9 Court, Liber T#2, Page 537.

                    "Henry Tanner, age about 89, declares that about 
                     30 years ago, he lived on the Plantation now in the
                     possession of Thomas Stone ...."
                   "William Davis, age about 70, declares that about 
                    40 years past, he remembers a bounded white oak 
                    which stood very near the place mentioned in Henry
                    Tanner's deposition ...."
                   (RootsWeb/Marshall ID:   I012916 and I009797)

"William Davis Arterburn" (1855-1931)   (see Cousins, p. 380)

What connection if any between "Presley Davis" and 
"Presley Arterburn," or "Elijah Davis" and "Elijah
       Arterburn," and Peter's "William Davis?

                      "Jesse Davis"  (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I051076)

                      "Jesse Davis"  (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I046252)

                         w.p. Nelson County, KY (adjacent to Jefferson County)



               Might Peter Arterburn's distinctive personal mark of three wavy 
               lines have reflected memories of his youth working as a sailor 
               or fisherman, or just nostalgia for an earlier life near the coastal  
               waters of the Chesapeake in Maryland, or of something else?
                              "The wavy line is a common sign for water,
                              watercourse, water surface, and the sea."                             
                                (Symbols: Encyclopedia of Western Signs
                                and Ideograms / Carl G Liungman)

                              Tobacco Coast:  A Maritime History of Chesapeake
                                Bay in the Colonial Era / Arthur Pierce Middleton

                             "John Gardiner" (of "Nonesuch")  

                                (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I047926)

                             "Captain John Gardiner," "mariner"
                                (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I053395)                          



Family Search:  Charles County, Maryland Genealogy

Family Search:  Talbot County, Maryland Genealogy

MSA:  County (Jurisdiction) Government Records

MSA:  Search the Maryland State Archives Online

Wikipedia:  Haplogroup R-M17  (R1a1)

Eupedia:  Haplogroup R1a

National Geographic Society:  Genographic Project

Smithsonian/NMNH:  Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation

Native Heritage Project:  East Indians in Early Colonial Records

Miss America 2014:  Nina Davuluri

ABC News:  Indian Ancestry of Princess Diana