The Owsley Surname DNA Project

Created in 2003
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It is known that Thomas Owsley II (ABT 1697-1750) of Virginia had six sons: Thomas Owsley III, John Owsley I, William Owsley, Newdigate Owsley, Points Owsley, and Weldon Owsley. There are no known living direct male descendants of two of these sons: William Owsley and Points Owsley.

Direct male descendants of Thomas Owsley III, John Owsley I, Newdigate Owsley and Weldon Owsley have participated in the Owsley Surname DNA Project. The Y-Chromosome DNA results for all of these participants should have been the same or close to the same, as all descend from these Owsley brothers. This has been the case with the descendants of Thomas Owsley III, Newdigate Owsley and Weldon Owsley. It has not been the case with the descendants of John Owsley I.

John Owsley I had two sons, John Owsley II and Robert Housley (Owsley). The Y-Chromosome DNA of seven direct male descendants of John Owsley II and one direct male descendant of Robert Housley (Owsley) were perfect matches (all 25 markers). Although the Y-Chromosome DNA of the eight descendants of John Owsley I matched perfectly with each other, their DNA did not match with the descendants of Thomas Owsley III, Newdigate Owsley and Weldon Owsley. Also, the Y-Chromosome DNA of a descendant of William Owsley, great uncle of Thomas Owsley II, matched perfectly (all 25 markers) with a descendant of Weldon Owsley. According to the DNA results, it appears John Owsley I could not have been a biological son of Thomas Owsley II.

Without a doubt, a Non-Paternal Event occurred in the Owsley family! We have been advised that DNA tests do not lie.

The term "Non-Paternal Event" refers to a break in the Y-Chromosome line due to a formal or informal adoption, name change, "extramarital event" (infidelity), child known by other surname (mother's maiden name, stepfather's name) etc.

Types of non-paternal events include but are not limited to:
(1) Pregnancy outside of a marriage
(2) Adoption (formal or informal)
(3) Man married pregnant widow
(4) Children known by stepfather's name
(5) Man took wife's name and/or children given the wife's surname
(6) Man changes name - various reasons
(7) Aliases
(8) Illegitimacy - child given mother's surname

NOTE: Adoptions have always been common in every age. Parents died by disease or war and a relative took in the children and raised them with their name. Daughters had children out of wedlock and the grandparents (or other relatives such as brothers) raised their children as their own.

This Non-Paternal Event in the Owsley family certainly provides a mystery for Owsley family researchers. especially descendants of John Owsley I.

Written by: Floyd L. Owsley (Descendant of John Owsley I), Administrator, Owsley Surname DNA Project