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About us

Welcome to the Pugh Surname DNA Project!! Please visit our home page at RootsWeb and join our discussion group at Tracing Pugh Origins. It's all free and we would love to have your input. There is already quite a bit of information posted at both locations and we are updating the sites all of the time.

Interest in the FTDNA Pugh Surname Project began in March of 2006 when a few descendants of Lewis Pugh (ca.1670-1741) of Merionethshire, Wales wondered if more could be determined about Lewis’ ancestry through DNA analysis. Pugh is a Welsh name, stemming from ap-Hugh (son of Hugh). From Wales it has spread around the globe, to England, Ireland and Scotland, to Australia and New Zealand, to Canada and the United States to name some of the places. Pugh was the 817th most common surname on the 2000 United States census, with a count of 38,691; 70 percent White and 27 percent Black or African American. A century earlier there were sizable numbers of Pughs in Glamorgan, Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire, Wales, and in Lancashire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, London and Worcestershire according to the 1891 census.

Some of the earliest Pugh immigrants, largely Quakers, arrived in William Penn’s Colony in southeastern Pennsylvania in the late 17th century from Merioneth—Pen Rhos, Tyddyn y Garreg, Dolgelly Parish; Gwernefel, Llanycil; Bala. A large numbers of these Quakers expecting to establish a Welsh barony on the Welsh Tract set up by William Penn. Their political influence was denied, however, when the Welsh lands were divided among several townships and between Philadelphia and Chester Counties in 1685. (Information from: Katharine Hewitt Cummin, A Rare and Pleasing Thing: Radnor Demography [1798] and Development, 4. Some Welsh settled and named Radnor Township, some Haverford. They were not part of Philadelphia, 12 miles to the east, and refused to admit they were in Chester. In protest of their state, some years they paid no taxes (Ibid., citing Patent Book A-1, 154). A group from Caernarvon in north Wales settled in Nansemond Parish, near Suffolk, 20 miles from Norfolk in southeastern Virginia.

Another group was headed by Lewis Pugh (ca.1670-1741) who emigrated from Merionethshire, Wales to the Lancaster County and Richmond County, Virginia area in 1695. He married Ann in 1704. Her maiden name has not been proven but was probably Webster due to Lewis's relationship with that family. Lewis and Ann's seven children were all born in Richmond County, Virginia and were baptized in the Anglican Church, Farnham Parish. In 1731 Lewis Pugh and his eldest son, John Pugh, traveled back to Wales to collect an inheritance due to Lewis. John left a family in Virginia. A number of years later, word was sent to Ann that Lewis had died in Wales. In 1740, the second son of Lewis and Ann, David Pugh, was given power-of-attorney to travel back to Wales to collect the inheritance due the family. It is not known if David Pugh had a family before he left Virginia for Wales. We are trying to sort out the descendants of the couple and DNA testing holds great potential for resolving this question. We have already discovered much about the descendants of Lewis and Ann in America.

It can be presumed that descendants of progenitors of our Pugh lines are currently living in Wales; a campaign is underway to bring some of these Welsh people into our DNA project. Francis Pugh, who came to Jamestown, VA in 1666, was son of Hugh (or ap Hugh) Glendower, younger son of Sir Owen Glendower, descendant of Llewellyn, last Welsh Prince of Wales (Lyon Gardiner Tyler, ed., Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, 1919, 433). His son Francis, born in 1692 in Nansemond Co., VA, migrated south to North Carolina, where he was Justice of the Peace in Chowan Precinct in 1731 and died in 1736 in Bertie Co., North Carolina. He married 8 Sep 1722 in Northampton County, Virginia, Pheribee Savage, who died by 1754 in Bertie (Ibid.)

That is a lot of Pughs and considerable geography to wade through over the centuries. If your research and paper trail end at the proverbial brick wall, help is at hand. The Pugh DNA Project already has established that the Pughs of the Welsh Tract in southeastern Pennsylvania were not related to the Lewis Pugh line in Richmond County, Virginia. More work is underway, but we need your help and participation to find Pugh lines around the world, trace them back and see if we can make some connections to guide us in further research. History comes alive when you find your Pughs in William Penn’s new colony, protesting British occupation in Lancaster Co., PA during the French-Indian Wars and migrating down the Great Indian Warpath to Frederick and Shenandoah Cos., VA or perhaps the Occaneechi Path from the James River near Richmond through Salisbury, NC and Camden, SC to Augusta, GA.

The Quakers kept wonderful records of their members. Thanks to William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Genealogy it is possible to trace many Pugh lines as they moved from place to place, generation after generation, but only as long as they remained Quakers and in the Meetings that Hinshaw covered. Many other Quaker records are available elsewhere.

We wish to invite anyone with the PUGH surname and all its variants (ab-Hugh, ap-Hew, ap-Hugh, Depew, Depuy, Gough, Hughes, Paugh, Peu, Peugh, Peughe, Pew, Pewe, Pough, Pue, etc.) to join this project. Any male can participate who either carries the surname or who is believed to be paternally descended from a man who carried the surname. If you are female, you can have a male PUGH (or variant) relative submit a sample for your line. To participate meaningfully, testees should be prepared to share their direct male line ancestry back to the earliest known PUGH (or variant) either in the form of a pedigree chart or, preferable, family group sheets (excluding living persons). This invitation extends to all people, those from the United States, Wales, England, Scotland, Canada, and Australia; just to name a few places where the surname can be found.

Funds may be available, as indicated above, to help defray the cost of testing for those of certain known Pugh lines. Please contact the Group Administrator for more information. You may contribute to this Pugh Surname Project General Fund by clicking the link at the left of this page. Your contribution may be made to help participants of a particular Pugh line or for a non-specific participant in the Pugh Project. Just indicate on the contribution form (under "In Memory of") as to how to apply your contribution. Your contributions will be used to offset the cost of testing for those new participants who make a request through the Group Administrator. If you do not want your name to appear with your contribution please check the "Anonymous" box on the contribution form. You may also send an email to the Group Administrator indicating your willingness to aid a future participant with a matching funds offer. In that case you would not make the contribution until a potential participant responded to your offer. We post the matching funds offers under the News tab. If there is a response, the Group Administrator will contact you with further details on how to make your contribution. If you would like to remain anonymous please indicate that in your email. Thank you for your interest in the Pugh Surname DNA Project.

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