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                                                       Past News Summary

                     1.  ARTERBURN is not genetically related (within any meaningful time frame) to any

                          of the previously suspected variant spellings of "Arterburn" as represented by

                          the individuals bearing those surnames  (i.e.,  "Edeburn, Otterburn, Arterberry,

                          Otterbein, Arthaber")  who agreed to participate in our Project (see "DNA Results"

                          page), since their Y-SNP results locate them in Haplogroups J, R1b, and I, respec-

                          tively, and ARTERBURN is in Haplogroup R1a.  Whether these particular individuals

                          represent all family lines bearing these surnames has been rendered irrelevant, 

                          since we now have definitive evidence of the most recent genetic origin of the

                          ARTERBURN patrilineal line in the Old World.

                     2.  The ancient ancestry of ARTERBURN is defined by Y-SNPs R-Y47/46, our specific

                          subclade within the larger Haplogroup, R1a.  We have matched with distant relatives

                          who share common ancestors with us,  and who are either Indian emigrants living 

                          abroad or Indians currently living in India (see "Results" page).  Thus, South Asia

                           the subcontinent of India, apparently, was the Old World place of origin of the 

                          patrilineal ancestors of William and Peter.  This genetic evidence is corroborated

                          by historical evidence, most notably the court testimony of relative, John Elsea, in

                          which he attested that James Arterburn's father "was a very dark skin man, as

                          dark as a Cherokee Indian," who "came from the East India" (cf. Some Research

                          Notes, 2010).



                          Our Story In Continuing Research:

                                         An Overview


Some Research Notes was compiled and published, we lacked the
more recent Y-DNA discoveries that have since confirmed an "out of India
or South Asia" origin for the patrilineal ancestors of Peter Arterburn.  In   
that earlier book, I proposed a "dark German" origin for Peter because that 
seemed the best interpretation then of the evidence overall, given a family 
tradition of German ancestry and a confirmed Y-DNA Haplogroup of R-Z93
(since updated to R-Y47/46), which is an ancestral SNP for both East Europeans
and South Asians.   In that book,  I also suggested that "Arterburn" could 
have been our original surname — as a compound of "Arter" and "Bern" or
"Berner" perhaps, even if of very recent origin since there is no history for
"Arterbern/er" or similar spelling in Europe.

While taking seriously John Elsea's testimony that "James Arterburn's father
was a very dark skin man, as dark as a Cherokee Indian," who "came from
the East India," the dark German scenario presumed an interlude for Peter
or his ancestors of travel to and from the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia, today), 
or possibly to and from the trading posts of the Dutch or the English on the 
Indian subcontinent.    Given all that we have since learned, it's clear now
that the dark German scenario is not supported by the facts.    With the 
discovery of "East Indians" from India or South Asia in the public records
of colonial Maryland and Virginia, Peter's "alias Williams" connection, and 
the new Y-DNA evidence (R-Y47/Y46 are South Asian SNPs), John Elsea's
meaning becomes clear.  

The single most compelling research question for ARTERBURN descendants 
that remains:    Since Peter Arterburn was of "East Indian" or South Asian
(patrilineal) descent as historical sources attest and Y-DNA testing clearly 
supports — as opposed to Native American or African or European descent,
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's unlikely that either spelling could have been the actual
form of an Old World surname.

New discoveries about the origin of our surname have elicited these corollary   

1.  Was "Peter Atturburn alias Williams" the son of the East Indian indentured

servant, "John William/Williams" of Charles County, Maryland?

2.  Was Peter the son of the "[East] Indian,"  "William,"  the father of George
Williams of Charles/Prince George's County, Maryland? 

3.  Was "William" and "John William/Williams" the same person, or related, or
were they both East Indians who happened to share a common English given 
name that was converted into a common English surname, "Williams?"  

4.  Did "Atterburn" or "Otterburn" represent the ancestral surname of Peter's 

mother — perhaps spelled differently, or did Peter simply adopt a different

(i.e., other than "Williams") surname?  

5.  Could  "Elizabeth," a "Pamunkey Indian Queen" and mother of George

Williams who "intermarried" with the (East) Indian, William, have been the

mother of "Peter Otterburn," which could explain a Shenandoah (Warren)

County tradition in which "Otterburn" — remembered as the name for a 

"tribe of Indians" — became the namesake of "Otterburn School?"


6.  Was  William's  Elizabeth  the  "full-blooded Indian"  remembered  in

family  tradition  (cf.  The Arterburn Cousins,  pp. 10-11),  since  mtDNA

testing has proven that William Arterburn's wife, Nancy, was of European

matrilineal descent and not a  "full-blooded Indian?"

7.  If Elizabeth was Peter's mother, could "Atterburn" or "Otterburn" have

been an English-sounding surname shortened or adapted from an ancestral

Indian name (e.g., "Ottopomtacke") derived from Peter's mother?

Think of these leading questions as advance beacons that will help us
navigate the surprising twists and turns ahead as the ARTERBURN story


   Arterburn, Otterburn, Atterburn, ____?____


   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 name

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

   In 19th-century England, "ar" was often pronounced with broad A 

   (as in "father")  while the  "r"  sound was dropped or diminished

   (non-rhotic)  but retained in the spelling of many common words 

   of ordinary speech (e.g., "card," "arse").   This speech sound of

   broad A could be confused with the sound of short O, and vice versa,

   when names were spelled only from vocalization,  as illustrated 

   by anomalous renderings of "Arterburn" for "Otterburn" names in

   England (see Some Research Notes (7th ed.), pp. 29-46; pp. 61-70).

   The "Great Vowel Shift" that resulted in the emergence of broad A

   (/a:/and of non-rhotic pronunciation from Middle English and 

   Early Modern English had begun in the 15th century,  and also 

   impacted evolving American English in 18th-century Maryland

   and Virginia.


   The earliest spelling (May, 1773) we find in Shenandoah County is 

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

   the broad A sound heard in "Arterburn."    Some transcriptions of

   "Atterburn" (e.g., when not in an alphabetical list, originally) could

   arguably have been transcribed as "Otterburn,"  since examples

   of upper-case cursive "A" and "O" (without an upper loop) can be

   found that are virtually indistinguishable.  (For an example of Peter's

   name transcribed as "Otterburn" in Prince William County, see "Prince

   William County People," then compare this to the actual facsimile

   image of the "Tithables List of 1765," in Appendix #5 of Supplemental


   The broad A sound heard in "Arter-" and the similar sound of short O

   in "Otter-" suggest that broad A (not short A as in "cat") was probably

   represented in renderings of  "Atterburn,"  in those instances where

   cursive "A" was originally rendered, although this appears to us a

   deviation in spelling since a short vowel typically precedes double

   consonants in English, today.  "Atterburn" (as transcribed) is found

   exclusively for Peter in Maryland, and occurs predominantly for both

   Peter and William in Prince William County, which suggests that an

   "r" sound was not heard in the first syllable of Peter's pronunciation,

   originally (as suggested by the rendering, "Peter Otterburn," also).


       While Peter was likely born in America and learned to

       speak English from childhood, his repeated use of a

       personal mark is evidence that he was almost certainly

       illiterate.  Thus, Peter's surname as spelled in public

       records was almost certainly the result of the phonetic

       renderings of others based on Peter's pronunciation,

       not Peter's spelling.  We cannot safely assume that

       "Atterburn"  or  "Otterburn"  simply and literally

       rendered in English whatever speech sounds Peter

       may have initially vocalized as a surname.  However,

       we can reasonably infer that Peter's vocalization of 

       his name apparently remained largely consistent from

       1736 onassuming that broad A and not short A was

       originally intended in the renderings of  "Atterburn,"

       which appears likely.  Peter may have early conformed

       or adapted his own pronunciation to more closely

       match that heard from other English speakers reading

       or repeating his name, as well.


   The evidence is clear that Peter's patrilineal ancestors could not have

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

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

   Maryland or Virginia.  Both Native Americans and free African Americans

   in colonial Maryland and Virginia apparently adopted non-inherited

   surnames.    We must seriously consider that Peter may have simply

   adopted his surname.   Peter's Asian ancestry also makes this prospect

   more likely, since he would have been less likely to have had an inherited

   English surname on his father's side.  The additional prospect, explored

   below, that Peter's mother may have been Native American increases

   the probability that Peter adopted rather than inherited his surname.


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

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

   or of the related claim (never actually substantiated) of Swiss ancestry

   for the ARTERBURNS by a Shenandoah County genealogist?    Could

   Peter's wife, Sarah, have been the source of this German tradition?   

   Germans were by far the majority population in Shenandoah County,

   and Peter clearly associated with English-speaking Germans and Swiss 

   (e.g., Henry Spillmann, John Wolf, Samuel Stover/Stauffer).  Some of 

   the children of Peter and William and their descendants intermarried

   with Germans and Swiss (e.g., Booker/Bucher, Carrier/Karrier, Houn, 

   Leith, Smoote/Smootz, Wey, Wolfe) in Virginia and Kentucky and Indiana. 


   In his monumental work of research, Paul Heinegg's summary statement

   that   "East Indians apparently blended into the free African American

   population"  clearly does not describe the ARTERBURNS.  In his foreword

   to Heinegg's book, Maryland historian Ira Berlin notes that  "Heinegg's

   genealogical excavations reveal that many free people of color passed

   as whitessometimes by choosing ever lighter spouses over succeeding

   generations."  Although Berlin primarily had free African Americans in

   mind, his observation also applies to East Indians and Native Americans. 

   Peter and William were always listed as  "White"  in the tax lists and

   censuses of Shenandoah County, apparently a clue that they were accepted 

   as such among their peers.  However, some of William's family members 

   were mistakenly reported as "Blacks" in the Tax Lists of 1787 and 1796.  

   One of the reasons William and Nancy moved their family from Shenandoah

   County to Kentucky was because they "did not fit in" in Virginia, according 

   to family tradition as reported by the authors of The Arterburn Cousins.

   Prior to Shenandoah County, the few extant records in Prince William 

   County and in Maryland make no explicit mention of Peter's status, with 

   the reasonable inference that Peter was regarded as a "free person"

   and apparently accepted without racial distinction.  This could be a clue

   that his wife before Sarah — in Prince William County or in Maryland — 

   was also a "fair skin woman."


       Art and Jan Arterburn knew almost nothing of the ARTERBURN story

       before Shenandoah County when they published The Arterburn Cousins. 

       We owe them an immense debt of gratitude for their groundbreaking

       research, but they missed or discounted important clues and evidence

       even in Shenandoah County public records.   They also made some

       mistakes, but then made determined efforts to publicly correct those

       mistakes when discovered (e.g., "William Smith Arterburn" and Mary

       "Polly" Arterburn as William's daughter).  Regrettably, Jan and Art had

       both left us before new evidence was discovered which corrects their

       assumption that Peter and William were brothers.    We may never

       have "smoking gun" evidence to positively prove that William was the

       son of Peter.  But the weight of the evidence that we do have clearly

       does not support the assumption that Peter and William were brothers.

       The evidence does reasonably support the conclusion that Peter was

       much older than William, and that an unnamed William was apparently

       present and counted in Peter's household before the approximate 

       time of William's marriage and birth of his first child.  These and other

       clues make it far more likely that Peter was William's father.


       The Arterburn Cousins did not present any evidence to support the

       "brothers" assumption because there was none, and none has since 

       been found.  This assumption was largely based on the fact that both

       Peter and William had young children in Shenandoah County.  But we

       now have evidence of additional and unidentified members in Peter's

       household overlooked before who may have been children and older,

       of different and earlier birth years for some of the children of record,

       and clues that Sarah was younger than Peter (cf. Supplemental Notes).  

       Sarah does not appear by name in any extant record until 1773so

       we cannot be absolutely certain which children born before 1773

       belonged to her.


       We know Peter's age and birth date (1711) from public records in

       Maryland.  Peter appears several times in extant records of Charles

       County, Maryland from 1736, and in Prince William County (PWC),

       Virginia from 1759.    William appears for the first time by name in

       any extant record much later,  in 1767, and only in Glassford's credit

       accountsin PWC — about the time that William married and started

       his family, and long after Peter's credit had already been established.

       Peter appears in the Tithables List of 1765 in PWC as head of house-

       hold with another male, age 16 or older;   William is not otherwise

       listed.   Peter appears in court records of Prince William County, but

       never William.   Peter was a landowner in Virginia, but William did

       not become a landowner until much later, after moving to Kentucky.

       Peter requested and was granted a permanent exemption from the

       poll tax in Shenandoah County, in 1783,  "for age or infirmity,"  as

       provided by Virginia law.     Peter continued to appear in tax lists

       as exempt (from the poll tax) but with taxable personal property,

       and we know that Zachariah McKay charged Peter for rent in 1790,

       neither of which would likely have occurred if Peter had been "infirm"

       in 1783.   ThusPeter's permanent exemption was almost certainly

       granted because of age.   William never at any time requested or

       received such an exemption


       Peter drafted his Will in 1796 after an absence from the tax lists for

       a few years  perhaps a sign of frailty or failing health, and died in

       1803.  In his Will, Peter left his entire estate, which consisted only of

       personal or chattel property,  to Sarah unless she should remarry

       implying that she was considered a prospect for remarriage.  If Sarah

       should remarry, then Peter's property was to be divided among "each 

       of my sons and daughters," implying children other than Sarah's.  If

       Sarah had been comparable in age to Peterand Peter's progeny were

       limited to his family with Sarah,  there would have been no need for

       such provisos.  Finally, William made the arduous move of hundreds

       of miles to Kentucky with his familyabout 1798and apparently lived

       a vital life until his death there— almost 20 years laterin 1817.


       Peter and William apparently moved their families about the same

       time from Prince William, Fauquier, or Culpeper County to old Frederick

       or Dunmore County, Virginia, and were obviously closely related (as

       confirmed by Y-DNA testing).  We have no evidence of a "Peter Sr." and

       "Peter Jr." all of the evidence we have clearly points to only one "Peter"

       who was old enough in Shenandoah County to have been born in 1711

       The scenario that best explains the evidence is that William was most

       likely the son of Peterborn to a previous wife in Maryland, probably

       within the time frame1732-49.  There may have been other children,

       too,  whether or not they all survived,  as suggested by unidentified 

       members in Peter's household in the censuses of 1775 and 1785 (see

       also Some Research Notes and Supplemental Notes). 


   We have no solid clues about the identity of William's mother, Peter's 

   previous wife.  John Elsea's description of James Arterburn's mother as 

   a  "fair skin woman"— presumably Sarah, suggests a decided preference

   for an Anglo-European identity, as do the intermarriages of their children

   and descendants (and of those of Peter's son, William) with Germans,

   English, Scots, and Scotch-Irish.


   The anomalous rendering of  "Peter Arturberner"  in Shenandoah

   County appears more likely a case of an identity attributed than

   of a surname revealed, given what we now know.  "Arter," "Bern,"

   "Berner," and "Burner" were Swiss/German surnames, and both

   "Berner" and "Burner" were represented in Shenandoah County.

   However, this compound rendering of  "Arturberner"  cobbled

   apparently from the sound of Peter's name has no history in either 

   Germany or Switzerland.  Germans of dark complexion (e.g., "Black-

   Dutch")  from the south of Germany and neighboring Switzerland

   were present in the Middle Colonies, and in northern VirginiaPeter's

   physical appearanceinformed perhaps by the knowledge that he

   had German relationsand the fact that he was in court supporting

   a German, "Henry Speelman,"  when this early spelling was rendered

   (1774)  might have suggested such an identity to the clerk who

   heard Peter and recorded his name.  If this clerk happened to have

   been a German literate in English,  he might have heard either 

   English broad A or German long A,  both of which are practically

   identical in sound.   Similarly, the consonant  "r"  at the end of a

   syllable (as in "Ar tur bern er") is often muted or slurred by German

   speakers, similarly to English non-rhotic  "r."   In either case, this

   spelling would probably have sounded like   "Ah tuh buhrn uh"

   when pronounced in this environment,  and essentially matches

   that heard in the renderings of Peter's vocalization spelled as 

   "Otterburn"  and "Atterburn"  (i.e., with broad A).

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

   dark Germans or Swiss.  However, Peter's support of Speelman

   and apparent connections with other Germans, together with

   intermarriages and a family tradition all suggest some kind of 

   familial or cultural relationship, very likely derived from Sarah.

   William's wife, Nancy, who has now been confirmed through

   mtDNA testing to have been of European (matrilineal) ancestry,

   possibly could have been of German descent.

   "Arturberner" probably does not tell us anything about the origin

   of our surname, but does mark the emergence of "Arterburn" as the

   predominant spelling found in public records of Shenandoah County.

   "Arterburn" occurs only twice in Prince William County (PWC), in

   John Glassford's Dumfries Stores accountsfor Peter, compared to   

   ten entries of "Atterburn" (as transcribed) for Peter and William in

   these same accounts, not including extant PWC court records for

   "Peter Atterburn."  These two anomalous "Arterburn" spellings in

   Prince William County appear to be instances of interpolating "ar"

   in rendering Peter's pronunciation, interpreted as English broad A 

   with non-rhotic or diminished "r," similar to anomalous renderings

   of  "Arterburn"  (and  "Atterburn")  for  "Otterburn"  in England.

       John Walker used "ar" to indicate the sound of long (broad) A

       for pronouncing "aunt"— a word not spelled with "r"— in his

       London dictionary in 1775.  Walker's example seems remarkably

       revealing of the extent to which  "ar"  had become identified

       during Peter's time (e.g., Tidewater Englishwith the speech

       sound of English broad A paired with non-rhotic "r." 

      Whether the "Arterburn" spelling became the final form of our

      surname as a result of the intersection of German and English

      cultures and languages in 18th-century Shenandoah County, 

      aided perhaps by our family's embrace of a German-American

      identity the better to fit in, may be impossible to prove but seems

      likely.    The origin of the tradition of our German ancestry and

      the origin of our surname are probably not related, otherwise.

      As American English continued to evolve and as rhotic pronun-

      ciation became the norm, and as literacy improved, the spelling

      of "Arterburn" was established beyond Shenandoah County in

      family and public records.    However, spelling variations of our

      surname can be found in public records throughout the 19th

      century.   Even today, many of us have probably heard others

      pronounce "ar" in "Arterburn" as broad A with and without the

      sound of "r."


   "Peter Atturburn alias Williams"



   The formulation, "Peter Atturburn alias Williams," (Liber T, No. 2,

   p. 214) 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

   the court might have relied on the previously adjudicated status of 

   John Williams in this court (1706/7), during which John 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.

       Another prospect is that "alias Williams" may have referred to
       the family of "George Williams," who might have been Peter's
       older brother or relative.  George Williams had very recently 
       appeared before Charles County Court (1733) claiming title to 
       ancestral Indian land formerly lying in Charles County, but
       since within the jurisdiction of Prince George's County,  by 
       right of his mother, "Elizabeth," a "Pamunkey Indian Queen."
       George also claimed that this Pamunkey land had been given
       to his father, "William," who appears to have been an East 
       Indian without an inherited English surname and a free person 
       (see  "George Williams in Charles County Court," below).  John
       Gardiner, long-time resident of the Mattawoman community, 
       deposed in support of George's claim.   However, in 1736
       Prince George's County Court ruled against George Williams'
       ancestral claim in favor of counter-claimant, Charles Pye.
   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). 
   This seems to be a clue that Peter had just recently arrived at

                      Marshall, et al:  "Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland
                         and Northern Neck Counties" (continually updated)

       John Williams in Charles County Court  (12 November 1706,

John Williams' exact age is unknown, but we can
infer from this court record that he was of majority
age (i.e., over 21) in 1706,  since his contract of
indenture had been purchased 14-16 years prior 
by the widow of Richard Hodgson (ca.1634-ca.1690), 
Johannah Hodgson (1639-1698) then deceased,  
mother of current master, Richard Hodgson (Jr).

During his first hearing (p. 272), only "John William"
without the "s"— was recorded by the court as the
petitioner's name, and only once.  Thereafter, he was
referred to only as "East Indian, Indian, Indian boy,"
or "servant."    Several witnesses testified before the
court but no decision was reached.  The court ordered 
"the said East Indian remain in his Masters service"
until "the next Court to be held on the fourteenth
day of January next."

      During this first court hearing, the court record 
      begins with a most unusual statement that refers
      to the petitioner, John William, to wit:  "Being 
      Recommended to the Court by his Excellency the
      Governour ... "   Could this be a clue of some
      recognition of special status or standing for John
      William by the royal governor of Maryland?

In a second hearing (p. 288) two months later, the
court recorded the petitioner's name as "John Williams." 
The hearing was brief, with testimony from only one
witness, Henry Tanner, who supported Williams' case.
The court then ordered that the "said John Williams
be free from the said Richard Hodgsons service."

Was the recording of his name as "John William" in
the first hearing revealing of an East Indian known
to be without an inherited English surname, or simply
an error by the clerk?    Were two common English
calling or given names, "John William," converted to
the customary English first name and surname by the
court or by John Williams himself to reflect his new 
status as a free person in Maryland society, or was
this simply an anomalous discretionary stroke of the 
pen by the clerk?

Who was John William/Williams and was he related
to George Williams' father, William?  Could they have
been one and the same person?

     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  ...  a certain

neck of Land then lying in Charles 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

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

Williams ...  31 years ago [1702] 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 ... "

(Underline, italics, and bracketed contents above

added.  See Heinegg's complete transcription.  Also,

this land located in Prince George's County in 1733,

referred to as "then lying in Charles County"— was

located within the boundaries of old Charles County

before 1696, and later reverted to new boundaries 

and relocated within Charles County, after 1748.)


       The terms "intermarried" and "Native Indian" in contrast with

       "Indian" in this context suggest that George Williams' father

       was probably an Asian or "East Indian" and not an American


             (The community of "Pomonkey" near "Cornwallis' Neck"

              in Charles County, today, is reminiscent of the fact of

              the prehistoric habitation of Pamunkey Indians on the 

              western shore of Maryland.  From Website:  


                  "One of the largest tribes in the Powhatan

                  Confederacy,   the Pamunkey tribe was

                  centered in northern Virginia, with villages

                  in Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's

                  counties, Maryland.  With the expansion of

                  European settlement,   the Pamunkey

                  consolidated, abandoning many of their

                  villages, including all those in Maryland."


              The Pamunkey tribe has occupied a state reservation

              in King William County, Virginia, since the 17th century,

              but only just recently received Federal recognition by

              the U.S. government, the only Virginia tribe to have

              achieved such recognition thus far.)



       John Gardiner (of Nonesuch) here testified apparently in

       support of this claim of George Williamswhose family

       had also lived in the community around Mattawoman

       Creek (see also "Prince George's Land Records," below). 

       If Peter belonged to the family of George Williams and had

       had a longstanding acquaintance with Gardinerthis could 

       account for why we find Peter at Nonesuchin 1736/7.


       William and Elizabeth are identified in this court record

       only by English calling (given) names.  Complete names

       were typically used to identify individuals in these court

       recordsThis appears to be a telling clue that William had

       not inherited an English lineage or surname.   George's

       surname of  "Williams"  very likely was a  "patronym,"

       adapted from his father's name (i.e., son of William),

       probably on the occasion of George's Anglican baptism  

       or when as a boy he attended the "Indian school" at

       the College of William and Mary (see below).  Elizabeth,

       identified by her son as a "Pamunkey Indian Queen," 

       appears to have been   "Mrs. Betty, Queen of the

       Pamunkey Indians"   ("Betty"  was/is a common

       nickname for "Elizabeth"), who succeeded her aunt,

       "Cockacoeske," as  "weroansqua" or female chief of

       the Pamunkey upon the death of her aunt, in 1686.

       (See the image of the silver frontlet presented by

       Charles II, King of England, to Cockacoeske, first

       to bear the title,  "The Queen of Pamunkey,"  on

       our masthead above.)


       Betty's age is unknown.  She was mentioned only  

       as the "niece" in a document upon her succession, 

       in 1686.  This and the fact that  "Mrs. Betty Queen

       of the Pamunkey Indians" appears as her name in 

       only one document much later, in 1701, suggests 

       that Betty might have been a young maiden or 

       even a child, in 1686. 

           "Time LineOctober 22, 1701 - A petition

           requesting the confirmation of a sale of

           Pamunkey land to English subjects is

           submitted to the General Court bearing

           the mark and the name, "Mrs. Betty, the

           Queen."     It is thought that Mrs. Betty 

           ..., the niece who succeeded the Pamunkey

           chief Cockacoeske,  [and Ann] are the

           same person."

           (Encyclopedia Virginia. Underline and

            bracketed content added)

       Betty apparently adopted the name of "Queen Ann"  

       after the royal Queen Anne ascended the throne of

       England (1702), perhaps as a conciliatory gesture

       toward the English at a time when the fortunes of 

       Pamunkey Indians were waning.  That Betty may

       have been young when she became leader of the 

       Pamunkey is suggested also by the fact that "six

       great men of Pamunkey Town"  co-signed, using

       their adopted English names with personal marks,

       the first petition bearing the name, "Queen Ann," 

       in 1705/6.    These "great men" may have been 

       Betty's council of advisors from her earliest days

       as a youthful leader of the Pamunkey.


            "Often, Indians held more than one name

            simultaneously, with different names used in

            different situations.


            "Sparse documentation and the Powhatan

            Indians' practice of changing their names on

            important occasions have led to confusion in

            identifying the principal leaders of the


            "Pocahantas  [aka "Amonute," aka "Matoaka

            alias Rebecca"],  for instance, had a formal

            given name; a "secret," or highly personal 

            name; and nicknames that were updated 

            throughout her life, sometimes commenting

            on her personality or her position within the


            (Encyclopedia Virginia.   Hyperlinks and

             bracketed content added)


       "Elizabeth/Betty" and "Ann" were apparently one and

       the same,  as suspected by historians and virtually

       confirmed by the fact that their personal marks (i.e.,

       cursive upper-case "E")  were essentially identical.  

       George Williams was probably the unidentified son of

       "Queen Ann" who was sent to the "Indian school" at the

       College of William and Mary, in 1711.  George's age or 

       birth and death dates are not known, but he was living

       with his parents in 1702, and thus was likely a child or

       youth in 1711.  The wording of this court record and its

       reference to a formal petition to the governor appear to

       represent George as a literate and astute person, and

       this coupled with the fact of George's Anglican baptism

       also support the likelihood that he may have benefited

       from formal schooling.


          ("John Williams" was identified as an "Indian" in the

          1784 tax list of King William County, Virginia.  "James

          Williams"  was one of  "the Indians of the Pamonky

          tribe" who signed a petition to the Virginia Assembly,

          in 1798, as noted (pp. 59, 151) in the recent finding 

          of the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs

          in granting the tribe's petition for Federal recognition. 

          Both men may have been descendants or relatives of

          George Williams.) 


       George may have used "Elizabeth" instead of "Ann"  

       as his mother's name in this court record because the

       former (as in "Betty") must have been her primary 

       English name, as suggested by her persistent use of

       cursive "E" as a personal mark (see the "Photos" page

       of  Arterburn DNA Project  or our  Project's  Facebook

       page for the documentary image of Betty's mark),

       even when signing as "Queen Ann."  That Betty either

       chose or was given the English name, "Elizabeth," 

       also suggests an aspirational awareness of English 

       royalty befitting a "Pamunkey Queen," since the colony

       of Virginia was originally named for the "Virgin Queen,"

       Queen Elizabeth I.    Betty's politic sensibility seems 

       evident in choosing as a second English name an

       honorific of the reigning royal, "Queen Anne," at a

       time when the Pamunkey Indians undoubtedly were

       in need of the goodwill of the English. The English royal

       Queen Anne was married to "George,"  a Prince from 

       Denmark (as in Prince George's County). That Elizabeth—

       as "Queen Ann," chose the name of "George" for her

       son appears to have been an homage to the English

       royal family, as well.

      "Hessin Casseyous, Queen of Pamunkey," signed a Deed

       with her personal mark, an upper-case cursive "E," most

       likely the English phonetic rendering of her Indian name,

       (Liber C, p. 84a) that conveyed 250 acres of Indian land

       on Pamunkey Creek during the "natural life" of William

       Hutchinson and his son, John, October 26, 1703, there-

       after "to be returned to me, my heirs and successors."

       "Izingoughsiowaugh, Queen of Pamunkey," had concluded

       "Articles of Peace and Amity" with the Governor of Maryland

       on April 9, 1700, but did not sign; "[S] Chixenehat[t], husband

       to the said Queen and Colonel [E] James her Speaker and

       Plenepotentary," both signed on her behalf.  These examples

       of Elizabeth's Indian name are phonetically similar, and most

       likely represent the same underlying Indian name.  Whether

       William also adopted a Pamunkey name or used his (Asian)

       Indian name and signed as "S Chixenehatt" in this instance

       for Elizabeth, or whether this was actually another Pamunkey

       tribal leader is unclear.

            This court record (p.332) of George's claim includes

            testimony that "Mary Dempsey 58 years deposes she

            knows William ..." (from Heinegg's transcription), so

            William must have still been alive in 1733.   But no

            mention was made of Elizabeth.  This appears to be

            a clue that Elizabeth was already deceased by 1733,

            which would also accommodate the presumptive date

            of Queen Ann's death (1723 or after).

       William must have been recognized as a free man since

       George apparently asserted his lawful claim to this land

       through his father as well as his mother.  In his petition

       that George presented to the current proprietary governor

       of Maryland, Charles Calvert, the 5th Baron Baltimore

       (who had traveled from England to Maryland briefly in

       1732), and now lodged as this record before Charles

       County Court, George claimed that the governor's 

       grandfather, Charles Calvert, the 3rd Baron Baltimore

       who served as governor of Maryland for two terms,

       1661-76 and 1679-84, had "granted" this land to 

       George's "ancestors" the Pamunkey Indians who

       later by    "Mutual agreement of the Indians afsd  

       [i.e., aforesigned, or conveyed]  their part to your

       petitioners father  [William]  and his heirs forever." 


       Could  "Peter Atturburn alias Williams"  have been the

       younger son of William and Elizabeth?   If William did

       not have an inherited English surname, then Peter may

       have had no compelling reason to use the same surname

       as George.  Charles County Court used this extended 

       name for Peter in this single instance only, in 1736, as

       far as we know— as if  "alias Williams"  was an initial 

       validation of Peter's identity and legal status as a free

       person before the court by connecting him to George

       Williams' family.  Peter next appears (1743) in Charles 

       County Court,  and in all subsequent court records, 

       only as "Peter Atterburn."


           If Elizabeth was Peter's mother, her native customs

           might have influenced Peter's choice of a different

           surname.    Naming practices among Powhatan

           peoples— which included the Pamunkey— were

           distinctly different to that of Europeans, and did

           not use the equivalent of inherited family names:

              "The Powhatans  ...  also took multiple names,

              sometimes simultaneously, beginning early in

              their lives.  These multiple names did not follow

              the English pattern of first name, middle name,

              and surname, however. In fact, Strachey reports

              that the Powhatans were unaccustomed to

              English naming practices and often insisted on

              calling Englishmen by their first names only." 

              (Encyclopedia Virginia.  Ellipsis added.) 

           Peter may have had an ulterior reason for choosing

           a different surname.   Peter's desire to identify with

           Europeans, or to distance himself from his Native

           American or Asian roots or from African Americans

           in Maryland bearing the "Williams" surname— one

           or more of these reasons could have been a factor.   

           This dispute over land rights on Cornwallis' Neck may

           have even played a rolewe don't know exactly when

           Peter first used the surname that we find recorded

           as "Atturburn," in 1736.  Apparently, George Williams

           lost in court his ancestral claim to this land  (see the

           the letter of advisement from the Governor's Council

           to Charles Pye, in 1736; see also Calendar of Maryland

           State Papers, No. 1:  The Black Books, p. 226;  and

           "The Cornwallis or Mattawoman Neck, 1608-1890.")


           Whether George and "his family" were allowed to "live

           quietly" on the land he had claimed,  as recommended

           by the Governor and Council to the counter-claimant,

           Charles Pye, or chose to move away remains unknown.

           However, the remarkably coincidental timing of the

           apparent arrival of "Peter Atturburn alias Williams" at

           John Gardiner's "Nonesuch," about 1737, suggests that

           Peter could have been living on this ancestral land on

           Cornwallis' Neck, along with George and his family

           (and Elizabeth's William, and perhaps other family

           members, too).   Peter may have decided to move

           away because of the controversy or have been forced

           to do so after the loss of George's claim.    If they

           were brothers, George and Peter might have chosen

           different  paths  at  this  point:   George,  who was

           identified as a  "Pommonkie Indian"  in his petition

           to  the  Assembly  of  Maryland,  might  have  moved

           his family  to  Pamunkey  reservation  lands  in  King 

           William County, Virginia (where we find "John Williams,"

           in  1782, and  "James Williams,"  in  1798).   Peter,

          whose subsequent history is known to us, evidently

           cast his lot with  Europeans  and  became a  tobacco

           planter and, for a time, the tenant of John Gardiner,

           who may have been a family friend.


       If Elizabeth's William was Peter's father, this could be

       reflected in the naming of Peter's apparently first-born

       son, "William" (i.e., William who married Nancy and

       and d. 1817 in Jefferson County, Kentucky), born to

       Peter's previous wife in Maryland.

       If Elizabeth was Peter's mother, this could be reflected

       in the naming of "Elizabeth (Arterburn) Carrier/Pringle" 

       and "Elizabeth (Arterburn) Cornwell," daughters of Peter

       and William, respectively. 

      The Otterburn Indians of Warren County

      If Elizabeth was Peter's mother, this could explain the 

       naming of the early 20th-century  "Otterburn School"

       (in "Otterburn Precinct," today) for a "tribe of Indians"

       that once had lived there.    (See the  Arterburn  DNA

       Project "Photos" page or our Project's Facebook page

       for the newsclippings, "Otterburn's Mysterious Origins" 

       and "Woodland Indians Lived in Warren.")  The school

       building is located where Peter is known to have lived

       in  Shenandoah  County  (in Warren County, Virginia, 

       today).    No Native American tribe in Virginia was

       known by this or a similar name; "Peter Otterburn"

       was the obvious referent. 


           We must consider the possibility that, if Peter 

           was the son of William and Elizabeth, whatever

           he initially vocalized in Maryland as a surname 

           could have been derived from an Indian name

           given to him by his mother or that he himself

           had chosen, whether adapted by Peter himself

           to sound more like an English name or by those

           who initially rendered "Atterburn" in spelling.

                 "Virginia Indians began adopting English first

                 names after the middle of the seventeenth

                 century.    In the 1680s, a small number of 

                 Indian children who went to work for English

                 farmers were given English first names, and

                 in some county records both names were

                 recorded.  By 1700 some Indian elders took

                 on English first names, sometimes paired with

                 shortened Indian surnames, to be used when

                 dealing with non-Indians and possibly even

                 among themselves.     By 1750,  ...  most

                 Powhatan people [which would have included

                 the Pamunkey] ... had English first [names]

                 and surnames that they apparently used



                 (Encyclopedia Virginia. Underline, hyperlinks,

                  ellipses, and bracketed contents added)

           "Ottopomtacke," the name of one of Powhatan's

           wives, could have been shortened and adopted 

           by Peter.  If vocalized by Peter as  "Ottopom,"

           his contemporaries could have heard "Ottabun"

           instead, which was then rendered in spelling

           as  "A/O/tterburn."  Instances of the renderings,

           "-bon / -bun," at the end of our surname have

           been found that suggest that this word sound

           may have been closer to the actual vocalization

           of Peter and William than "burn," which may have

           been spelled with interpolated non-rhotic "r."

           If Ottopomtacke had been the ancestor of Peter

           through his mother, Queen Betty/Elizabeth, how

           could Betty have been the "niece" of Cockacoeske,

           who was a descendant of  Opechancanough,

           brother of Chief Powhatan?   We would assume

           Betty and Cockacoeske to have been cousins, in

           the same way the English calculated relationships. 

           But the Powhatan Indians,  who had different

           customs and did not distinguish family lines by

           surname,  may have used the borrowed term 

           "niece"  differently in their matrilineal society

           than was customary for the English.

       The inspiration for the naming of "Otterburn School"

       by a 20th-century surveyor/builder in Warren County

       may not have been derived from local tradition about 

       Peter's "East Indian" ancestry,  but from actual if

       garbled local memory of "American Indian" ancestry

       for the ARTERBURN family, as well.


       If Elizabeth was Peter's mother, our family tradition in

       which William's wife was remembered as a "full-blooded 

       Indian"  (cf. The Arterburn Cousins, pp. 10-11)  likely

       refers to William's Elizabeth — who probably was a

       "full-blooded" Pamunkey.   We have tested the mtDNA

       of a matrilineal descendant  (#466293)  of Elizabeth

       (Arterburn) Cornwell, daughter of William and Nancy,

       which revealed that William's Nancy was of European

       (i.e., Haplogroup H) descent and not Native American

       on her mother's side, which confirms that this family

       tradition probably does not refer to William's Nancy. 


       Testing the Y-DNA of a patrilineal (male) descendant— 

       if one could be found— of George Williams would show

       whether George's father was also likely to have been 

       Peter's father.  Since Asian ancestry has been confirmed

       (Y-DNA) for Peter on his father's side, a positive test

       match with George's descendant would also confirm that

       George's father was "East Indian," or Asian, as suggested

       in the Charles County Court record.  Aside from the prospect

       of DNA evidence, we may yet find documentary evidence 

       in historical records— whether public or private— that 

       could confirm this likely scenario of Peter's parents in 

       Maryland.  Whether the story of William and Elizabeth is

       our story presents an exciting prospect for the future

       of ARTERBURN family research.

   "Received from Francis Payn[e], Peter Atterburn" (1744)
                "Ruth [MNU] Cofer"  

                "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 ..."

                 (Note:  "Ruth Coffer" witnessed John Ward's Will)


                   The Davis Family Connection

                      Who  exactly  was  "William Davis" (1759)  and  "Isaac Davis" (1765)
                      who provided "security" for credit with Glassford (see Dumfries Stores
                      Index and Glassford account pages on  "Photos"  page of this Project  
                      or on Facebook)  for  "Peter Atter/Arterburn" — landlord,  employer,
                      benefactor, relative, or some combination of these?
                      Did this Davis/Bland family intermarry with the Pamunkey family of
                      Powhatan and Pocahontas?

"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
(cf. 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 ...."
                (Early Colonial Settlers/Marshall ID: I012916 and I009797)
     (Family Search)

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

Is there a namesake connection between "Presley Davis" and 
"Presley Arterburn,"  or "Elijah Davis" and "Elijah Arterburn,"
         or "Isaac Davis" and "Isaac Arterburn," or "Elias Davis" and
         "Elias Arterburn?

                      "Jesse Davis"  (Early Colonial Settlers ID: I051074)

                        (Notes:  Nelson County, adjacent to Jefferson;              
                                         Sons:  Presley and Elijah;  Daughter:  Nancy)

                      "Isaac Davis"  (Early Colonial Settlers ID: I058072)

                      Maryland Davis Families
                      Prince William County, VA Davis Families

               Peter Arterburn's Personal Mark

               Might Peter Arterburn's unusual and distinctive personal mark of
               three wavy lines (cf. Cousins, p. 305) have simply reflected nostalgia
               for an earlier life on Mattawoman Creek and the coastal waters of
               the Chesapeake in Maryland, or could there be more to the story?

                            "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)

                     Note the remarkable similarity between Peter's mark 
                     and the personal "mark of the King of the Nottoways
                     (scroll to p. 257),  who co-signed a treaty document
                     with Pamunkey Indian Queen, Cockacoeske, in 1677.  
                     Could this water sign have been a common symbol
                     among the tribal groups of Virginia and Maryland,
                     representing the importance of the coastal waters
                     and rivers that sustained their native way of life?    
                     Could this sign have been the inspiration behind
                     Peter's unique personal mark, and another clue of
                     his Native American heritage?  Could the sign in this
                     mark have had some greater symbolic significance
                     for Peter, personally?




                          Our Story in Continuing Research: 

                              Developments in 2016

                          We have results of autosomal DNA testing (using FTDNA's Family Finder, 23andMe, 

                          and  for two descendants of William Arterburn Jr.,  three descendants 

                          of Elizabeth (Arterburn) Cornwell (William Sr.),  three descendants of Elzia Arterburn

                          (James Sr.),  a descendant  of James Arterburn Jr.,  a descendant of Isaac Arterburn  

                          (James Sr.),  and two descendants of Jemima (Arterburn) Collins.  These twelve (12)

                          descendants represent a cross-sampling of the lines of descent from both of Peter's

                          apparent wives (i.e., Sarah and the unknown mother of William). 


                          We have applied the raw data from these autosomal DNA test results in GEDMATCH's

                          Eurogenes K13 admixture model, a model recognized for reliable correlations with

                          Native American populations.     All of these descendantswho represent seven (7)

                          different lines of three of the children (including William Sr.) of Peter Arterburn, have

                          shown a small percentage of Native American ancestryconsistent with the fact that

                          7-9 generations separate these descendants from Peter's mother, and also consistent

                          with the fact of intermarriage with Europeans in every generation since, including that

                          of Peter and WilliamThat we have both family tradition and independent local

                          tradition (in Warren County, Virginia) of Native American ancestry for ARTERBURN

                          appears to corroborate these atDNA findings.


                          GEDMATCH's Eurogenes K13 model also returned results for each of these descendants

                          of West/South Asian ancestry in ARTERBURN atDNA, which appear to correlate with

                          our Y-DNA test results of Southwest Asian (Indian) ancestry for Peter's father.   Our

                          conclusive Y-DNA results for the ancestry of Peter's father point to the likelihood that

                          the common denominator for Native American ancestry across family lines of both Peter

                          and William most likely would be Peter's mother.   Testing of autosomal DNA (atDNA)

                          and X-DNA does not reveal which ancestral line(s) was Native American, of course.  

                          But the probability that all could be positive for Native American ancestry owing to

                          family lines other than ARTERBURN seems highly unlikely.

                          As for the future, if we could find a documented descendant of George Williams to

                          participate in Y-DNA testing, this would effectively show whether or not George's

                          father, William in Maryland, was also Peter's father, and our common "East Indian"

                          or South Asian ancestor;   and, thereby, whether William's wife, Elizabeth, was

                          likely to have been Peter's mother. If such a descendant were found, atDNA testing

                          could also reveal Native American ancestry, and might result in atDNA matches with 

                          ARTERBURN descendants, which could provide further confirmation that Elizabeth

                          was likely to have been Peter's mother.  Perhaps another ARTERBURN descendant, 

                          whether of the present or of the future,  will not rest content to leave this work

                          unfinished, and will take up the search and find a living male (patrilineal) descendant

                          of George Williams (and/or of William and Elizabeth).   Whereupon, Y-DNA testing 

                          might finally confirm with confidence our ancestral first family in America.




Family Search:  Charles County, Maryland Genealogy

Family Search:  Prince George's County, Maryland Genealogy

Family Search:  Virginia Public Records

MSA:  Charles County Court Records

MSA:  Maryland Government Records  (Jurisdiction:  Search by County)

MSA:  Search the Maryland State Archives Online

Facebook:  Arterburn DNA Project

Wikipedia:  Haplogroup R1a  (Y-DNA)

Eupedia:  Haplogroup R1a  (Y-DNA)

National Geographic Society:  Genographic Project

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

Miss America 2014:  Nina Davuluri

ABC News:  Indian Ancestry of Princess Diana

Interior/Indian Affairs:  Proposed Finding for Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe

Estes/Native Heritage Project:  Pamunkey Indians