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Y-DNA results have just arrived for a descendant of Josiah McGaughey and Delilah Dean of Rutherford Co NC.  After their marriage in Rutherford Co NC, Josiah and Delilah moved to Sharp Top Mountain in Gilmer County in north Georgia.  (This area is now in Pickens Co GA.)
This match connects this western NC/east TN/north GA group to the Rutherford Co NC McGaughey families, some of whom descend from Alexander McGaughey who married Rachel Thompson.  (The Rutherford-Transylvania County NC lines are Groups 1 and 2 on our Y-DNA results page.)
Group 1 is not a genetic match to descendants of William McGaughey and Elizabeth Lackey of east Tennessee (Group 3 on our Y-DNA results page), nor the Loudoun Co, Virginia group (#4 on the results page - some of whom migrated to Rutherford and Burke Counties NC).

Both Alexander and William were Revolutionary War patriots, providing a line of defense on the mountain frontier.  Fort McGaughey near Tryon NC was built by Alexander McGaughey and Fort McGaughey on Boyd’s Creek in east Tennessee was built by William McGaughey.  Both made their mark on the newly formed United States, and both have many proud descendants across the South and the country.
But if Josiah is a descendant of Alexander, these Y-DNA results would indicate that William and Alexander do not share a common male ancestor, so they could not both be sons of William McGaughey of York Co PA, who died in 1750 leaving a 1749 will that names his wife Margaret, daughter Isabella, and sons James, John, Alexander, and William.
There was another William McGaughey who settled in Rutherford County, NC, and was a contemporary of Alexander. This William left a widow Mary by 1790. His relationship to Alexander is not known and this William's descendants have not been identified as of yet.

Solving this new question will put us back on the research trail to document the migrations of William into east Tennessee and Alexander into western NC.  And we will take the Y-DNA trail again as we look for possible descendants of James McGaughey or John McGaughey, the older sons of William McGaughey of York Co PA.

As of spring 2018, we have more than 30 men with Y-DNA results in the McGaughey/McGaha project.
We still have four main Y-DNA genetic family groups, groups that have 3 or more male members who have tested to 37 markers.  Contact Sandra Kidd with questions about these family groups at

 Men in this cluster are showing close genetic matching.  A change in the number value for an individual marker (which is called a DYS marker) can help determine where a family line might branch.  In the case of this group, men who have Cocke Co TN origins have DYS 392=14 and men who have Rutherford Co NC, Transylvania Co NC, and Macon Co NC origins have DYS 392=15.  This slight difference may help us to identify the patriarchs of these families.
From Rutherford Co NC, we have a participant who descends from Josiah McGaughey and Delilah Dean of Rutherford Co NC to Gilmer/Pickens Co GA.  This line appears to descend from Alexander McGaughey and Rachel Thompson of western NC.  Alexander McGaughey commanded a Revolutionary War fort named Fort McGaughey in old Tryon County NC (now Rutherford Co NC).
From Transylvania Co NC, we have descendants of Joseph McGaha and James McGaha. (The annual McGaha Reunion held in Transylvania Co NC represents descendants of Joseph, James, and Jesse McGaha.)  In this group, the descendants of Joseph and James share DYS 392=15 with the Alexander line of Rutherford Co NC and Macon Co NC families.
From Macon Co NC, we have descendants of John Marion McGaha and James McGaha.  These family lines have a record of coming out of Rutherford Co NC, the seat of several early NC McGaughey/McGaha families.  John Marion’s family settled in Towns Co Georgia, and James’s family in Cowee in Macon Co NC.
From Cocke Co TN, we have descendants of Samuel and Robert McGaha. Also in this group is a descendant of James McGaha through William Napoleon McGaha Jr. of Delta Co TX.  Some of this family made their way to Madison and Marshall Cos AL en route to Texas.  All the men in this group share DYS 392=14 with each other.

Jesse McGaha had only one son who had male descendants:  Joseph Leister McGaha’s descendants made their way to Alabama and Texas.  Joseph Leister McGaha had three sons and we are fortunate that all are represented in the study:  Joseph Price (Ray), Rufus Wayne (Jim), and Jesse Washington (J.L.) The annual McGaha Reunion in Texas celebrates this family. 
Jesse, James, and Joseph McGaha of Transylvania Co NC, from all available genealogy and historical records, are members of the same family.  However, Jesse’s descendants and James/Joseph descendants do not have a close genetic Y-DNA match. 

Three descendants of William McGaughey and Elizabeth Lackey of East Tennessee are part of Group 3 in this project. Four members of Group 3 descend from John D. McGahey of Texas who was from Surrey County, NC.  A member of the McCaughrean family is also matching this family line and may point to their Scots-Irish origins.  And we have a genetic McGaughey match with Pennsylvania ties. William McCaughey commanded Revolutionary War Fort McGaughey on Boyd’s Creek in east Tennessee.  Members of this group lived in Maury Co, Tennessee; Alabama; and TexasMore research is needed on the lines of all the sons of William McGaughey and Elizabeth Lackey.

The first of the McGaughey/McGahey surname in Loudoun County, Virginia, was John McGaughey/McGahey, appearing in 1772 tax lists; he also is named in the Order Books into the 1780s, but he left the area by 1786.  The next documented resident, Manassey/Manassah McGaughey/McGahey, appears on the Loudoun County tithables list beginning in 1774 and died there in 1788.  Manassey left a widow Mary, and apparently had several children, including Jeremiah, Daniel, Patrick and Benjamin, and probably John.  John, Jeremiah and Daniel are involved in several cases included in the early Loudoun County Order Books.  John and Daniel apparently left around 1785 and  migrated to Lincoln, Burke, and Rutherford Counties, North Carolina, with Jeremiah following around 1795. Most of the descendants of Patrick, and Benjamin remained in the Loudoun County area, with some migrating over the state line to Maryland (Baltimore area).  The spelling of the surname varied over the years, with the most descendants of the family settling on McGaha and Magaha.  At least one branch of this family apparently migrated to Jefferson County, Kentucky and later into Indiana; they primarily used the spelling McGaughey.

Contact:  Pam Paschke at, project administrator, to participate in the Y-DNA study for this group (Group 4) or for more information.

Other men in the study do not yet have genetic matches to known McGaughey/McGaha clusters, but this can always change as new people join the study.

We continue to seek new male descendants under any and all variants of the name McGaughey/McGaha for the Y-DNA project.  For more information, please contact Sandra Kidd at or Pam Paschke at .  We can help you decide if Y-DNA testing is right for you, if you are an eligible male descendant or have a male relative who is eligible.  Only men can take the Y-DNA test, which is a paternal line (Y chromosome) test useful for surname studies like ours.  If you descend from a female line of the family, you can help by recruiting a McGaha male relative of your line and sponsorship of his test.

Thanks to all our participants and our sponsors!