Since the late nineteenth century it has been an article of faith that most North American KNOWLTONs descend from two brothers; John (b 1610) and William (b 1615); who arrived in Massachusetts about 1630. There is an equally old tale that one Captain William Knowlton (b 1584) was their father. The principal source of this belief comes from two books:
· The History and Genealogy of the Knowltons of England and America; Charles Henry Wright Stocking, D.D. Published 1897; the Knickerbocker Press.
· Errata and Addenda to the Knowlton Ancestry; George H Knowlton; Published 1903, Everett Press Company
While these publications taken-together continue to be good 1897 and 1903 sources for our spread in the USA, modern access to census and other records strengthen our efforts to make corrections and additions. Presently there is compelling evidence that John was christened in 1601 and William was christened in 1604. Equally compelling DNA evidence reveals that the two brothers' descendants were not related through the male line. We can say with certainty that genetic tests of descendants of both John and William place them in two very distinct sub-categories of Homo sapiens. John falls into what is called haplogroup R1b. William falls into haplogroup T.
Unfortunately, even within themselves, the two lines are often entangled in long-standing and perpetuated error. In short, it is simply not good enough to say I descend from John, or I descend from William; citing faulty sources. If not DNA tested, not a living one of us can claim with assurance to know where he or she should properly be placed.