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About us

Lineage 1: Albert G. Pepper Line; born circa 1830 in Green County, Kentucky:
Albert was born in Green County, KY ca 1830. He died in Bowling Green, KY on November 29, 1864. Because of where he lived and where the family line moved to, we were sure he would be related to the Samuel Pepper line. DNA testing showed that not to be the case. It will be interesting to see which Pepper line Albert's line eventually matches.

Lineage 2: Cage Monroe Pepper Line; born circa 1876, Little Rock, Arkansas:
After 3 years of research trying to prove a suspected relationship between this Pepper line and the Samuel Pepper line, DNA testing showed there was not a blood relationship. While that was disappointing, we are now looking at a non-paternal event as the reason. We would never have known this based on the paper trail. We have now discovered thorough unique DNA markers that this line is of Irish descent and more specifically a group known as Irish Type III. You can read more about Irish type III at: Irish Type III.

Lineage 3a: John Pepper Line; died circa 1854, Walton County, Georgia:
Almost all of the documented descendants of John Pepper have exact 12 marker matches. Further testing by most of the participants has shown variations with several mismatches, which probably indicate different branches of the family. There have been several matches with persons of the Ainsworth surname, which may indicates a close relationship between the two families and descendancy from a common ancestor. Combining genealogical research and DNA results from these testers is pointing toward a common ancestor in Delaware/Maryland. More testing is needed before we can draw any conclusions.

Lineage 3b - David M. Pepper, born ca 1823 in Alabama:
Although this participant does not have a known connection to John Pepper, he belongs to Lineage 3, but had a one marker mismatch at twelve markers. Because of the ambiguity of 12 marker matches, it is not possible to say with certainty if he is a member of Lineage 3, or if he belongs to a separate family.

Lineage 3c: Robert Pepper, born circa 1700, died Ft. Vaux, Virginia:
It has taken ten years to finally find a match to this Lineage 3 family who is descended from a man born before John Pepper of Lineage 3a. This is a breakthrough which hopefully will lead us to find John Pepper's parents. Robert Pepper lived in Framingham, Massachusetts in the 1700s' and his descendants migrated to Delaware/Maryland, but is definitely NOT related to the well-known Robert Pepper of Roxbury, Massachusetts (Lineage 7). 

Lineage 4a: Samuel Pepper Line; born circa 1725, Prince William, Virginia:
In the Samuel Pepper line, we have five 12 marker exact matches. While it was suspected that two of the participants were from the Samuel line, documentation could not prove it. DNA testing did! This line of Pepper has over 1520 documented Peppers and includes the late Congressman Claude Pepper of Florida. It is believed that Oscar Pepper, who is known for his Old Crow whiskey, is a descendant of this line. We are still looking for a descendant of Oscar to be tested to prove the heritage.

Lineage 4b: Elijah Pepper Line; born circa 1825, Mississippi:
The descendant of Elijah Pepper who was tested proved to be an exact 12 marker match to the Samuel Pepper line, Lineage 4a. However, no paper trail has ever been established. Prior to the DNA test, the descendants of Elijah did not know that they were related to the Samuel Pepper line.

Lineage 5: Willm Pepper Line; born 1600's Lincolnshire, England:
The DNA project participant currently lives in Australia. He has traced this line back 11 generations to Lincolnshire, England in the 1600's. We now have test results for a Pepper who lives in New Zealand that is believed to be related to the Australian Pepper but they have not been able to create a paper trail. The results did not prove the relationship. However, because the results were so close, we cannot rule out a relationship either. More markers and possibly additional family members will need to be tested to prove any relationship between these two. We are looking for more persons to test with roots going back to this area of England.

Lineage 6: John F. Pepper Line; born 1867 Uniontown, Kentucky:
Only one member of this family has been tested.

Lineage 7: Robert Pepper line; born 1600's England:
The Robert Pepper line has proven to be the most challenging and rewarding DNA line. We have had 6 participants whose paper research indicated that they belonged to the Robert line. The DNA test results have shown that two of the participants have been found to not be descendants of Robert. One of these descendants, who is not related to Robert, has since found out that they were a perfect 67 marker match to another surname. This researcher is now in the process of trying to determine where the possible name change took place. They would have never known that they were members of another surname family without DNA testing. Among the remaining four participants DNA testing and analysis proved that only 3 of the researchers may be related. They mismatched on 4 markers out of 37. Three of those markers were fast mutating markers. This means that they are most likely related. The other descendant did not match any of the other 3. However, their paper research says that they belong to the Robert line. The only conclusion that can be drawn at this time is that of the 4 remaining descendants, whose paper trails say that they are Robert's descendants, either the 3 who closely match each other or the lone participant that did not match any of the others could be descendants of Robert. Until more participants with documented ancestors are found, neither lineage can be proven to be Roberts descendants.

The results for these participants of lineage 7 highlight how DNA can be used to confirm and determine relationships between people. It also highlights how the results can be misleading without enough markers or participants. Almost all of the Pepper project participants belong to haplogroup R1b. R1b is the most common Y haplogroup in Europe. More than half of the men of European descent belong to R1b. Subsequently, the results for a 12 marker test for this haplogroup always has many matches with other surnames. The rule of thumb has been; "if you have a 12 marker match with someone else with the same surname, then you are probably related". I would add that this rule should only be applied for haplogroup R1b when it can be backed up with a solid paper trail. If a solid paper trail does not exist or cannot be determined, then additional markers need to be tested to determine any true relationship. The minimum results should test at least 37 markers.

Lineage 8: Joseph Pepper line; born 1801 in Canada (Province unknown):
Joseph Pepper was born 1801 in Canada (Province unknown). He died 1849 in Essex County, New York. He was buried in the Brainards Forge Cemetery, Elizabethtown, Essex County, New York. The family moved from Canada to Lewis, New York between 1834 and 1838. Peppers have continuously lived and farmed in Essex County, New York from 1838 to the present day. If your Pepper line goes through Canada, you may want to be tested to see if you match this line.

Lineage 9: Thomas Pepper line; born 1780 in Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts:
The Thomas Pepper line was initially believed to belong to the Robert Pepper line, lineage 7a. DNA testing and analysis has shown that Thomas did not belong to the Robert Pepper line. DNA analysis has shown that this participant has a very strong relationship to the Hamilton surname line. The Hamilton project can be found at: Hamilton Surname DNA Project.

Lineage 10: John Pepper line; born ca 1820 in England:
This John Pepper was born about 1820 in England and died in England before 1920. His descendants migrated to Australia.

Lineage 11: John Pepper line; died 28 August 1826:
The family lived in West Virginia and Missouri, then migrated to Texas and California. The initial 12 marker results placed this participant in Lineage 4, although he had no paper trail leading to the Lineage 4 progenitor. Once more results came in, we were able to compare three 37 marker tests and it became clear that this was indeed an entirely separate family. There is no longer any doubt that he does not belong in Lineage 4. This once again shows how important it is to test as many markers as possible.

Lineage 12: John Pepper, born ca 1749 in Staffordshire, England, died 1811:
John Pepper was born in 1749 in Keele, Staffordshire, England. He married Catherine Garner daughter of Roger Garner and Mary Vernon on 1 January 1772 in Newcastle under Lyme, Stafford, England. John was a builder and architect of Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire. John died on 11 June 1811 in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, England. He was buried on 27 June 1811 in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, England. A tombstone in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Newcastle-under-Lyme records the dates of his birth and death. This John Pepper line was originally believed to belong to lineage 7 based on the results from his 12 marker test. However, after expanding his test markers to 37, it turns out that he is not related to the participants of lineage 7. This shows how the 12 marker results can be unreliable when dealing with a haplogroup such as R1b which is so common.

Lineage 13: Thomas Pepper line; born ca 1796 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England:
Thomas Pepper was born about 1796 in England. His descendants migrated to America in 1881. Although this line is fairly well documented, no relationship exists between this Pepper line and any of the other Pepper lines.

Lineage 14: John Pepper, born ca 1794 in Ireland:
This is another John Pepper who is not related in any way to the other John Peppers or any of the other Pepper lines.

Lineage 15: Hiram Pepper, born ca 1812 in New York:
Hiram married Sally Ann (--?--) and they had 6 children. His family tradition indicates that the name was originally Pfeffer/Pfeiffer and that they were of German origin. This Pepper is not related to any of the other Pepper lineages.

Lineage 16: Sylvester Pepper, born in England:
We have no information on this Pepper. He is not related to any of the other Pepper lineages.

Piper and Pfeffer Lines:
The results show conclusively that neither the Piper nor the Pfeffers are related to any of the other participants tested so far. Hopefully, as more participants are tested, they will see some matches.

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