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About us

Most Tapscotts in the United States can be assigned to one of two major lines, one originating in Lancaster and Northumberland counties, Virginia, and the other, in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The progenitor of the Virginia Tapscotts was Henry Tapscott (Henry the Immigrant), born in 1685, probably in or near Somerset County, England, and emigrating as a teenager to Virginia in 1700 (1699 Julian calendar) . The New Jersey Tapscotts possibly originated from William Tapscott (William the Rebel), a rebel in the Monmouth Rebellion, from Devon, England, who was transported as a prisoner to Jamaica around 1686, and is believed to have emigrated to New Jersey around 1691. Note, however, that the earliest documented New Jersey Tapscott was not William the Rebel but James Tapscott (b abt 1690) and William Tapscott (b 1718), believed (but not proven) to be descendants of the Rebel. Extensive genealogical research has been done on the Virginia Tapscotts (see http://tapscottfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/), who later spread into North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Less research has been done on the New Jersey Tapscotts, many of whom later ended up in Ohio.

Despite an abundance of classical (non-genetic) genealogical research, particularly for the Virginia group, many questions remain that seem insoluble using classical methods. Specific problems involve Tapscott groups who separated in England, in many cases before good records were available, to go to separate countries and separate U.S. regions. Another problem is proving the descendancy of mixed race, black/white, persons with the name Tapscott, many of whom are believed to have descended from white Virginia Tapscotts. Records proving relationships between white and mixed race individuals are scarce and often nonexistent. (The Sally Hemings/Thomas Jefferson question was solved only relatively recently with DNA studies.) It is hoped that DNA testing will help answer some of these questions.

The Tapscott Project emphasizes y-DNA testing (tracing paternal ancestry) using STRs (short tandem repeats), but also considers autosomal test results. It is possible that mitochondrial studies will one day be included; however, the use of mtDNA to show Tapscott relationships would be, at best, difficult.

Below are listed the questions to be answered by the DNA studies of the Tapscott project.


1. Are the New Jersey/Ohio and Virginia Tapscotts related? (There is some belief that William Tapscott the Rebel may have been the father of Henry the Immigrant, or at least a close relative.)

2. Are one or both groups related to present-day Exmoor-area Tapscotts?

3. Are the U.S. Tapscotts related to the sizeable groups in both Canada and Australia

4. Can the ancestry of American mixed-race Tapscotts be identified?

5. There are a handful of Tapscotts in the U.S., whose ancestry has proven impossible to trace. Can these Tapscotts be shown to descend from Henry or William?

6. Classical genealogical research has shown three main branches of Virginia Tapscotts descended from the three sons of Henry the Immigrant--Edney, Capt. Henry, and James. Can we confirm this?


Who Can Join the Tapscott Project?

Anyone with a Tapscott surname, or a variant thereof (e.g.,Tabscott, Tapscot), is encouraged to join. Anyone with another surname who finds close matches with Tapscotts is also invited to join, as are individuals with a reliable paper trail showing Tapscott ancestry.

Where Can I get Help?

The Tapscott DNA project was started by Robert (Bob) Tapscott in February 2013. Send Bob an email if you have any questions. Bob also welcomes comments, suggestions, complaints.

How Do I Get Started?

Assuming you are entirely new to FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA), you should start by ordering from the Tapscott DNA project either the Y-DNA67 or Y-DNA111 tests. A major problem with the Tapscott family is that the members tested to date have a predicted Haplogroup of R-M269 (R1b1a2), exceedingly common for men of European lineage. This means that matches, unless very close with higher numbers of markers, are suspect. Certainly the smallest number of markers that can be used with any confidence between individuals with the same name is 37 (Y-DNA 37 test).  In some cases, Family Finder (autosomal) testing may be ordered. To order a test, click on Join Request at the top of this page. You pay with a credit card. Family Tree DNA will give you a password-protected homepage. Then they send you a kit that you use to swab the inside of your cheek twice. You send the kit back to them and they take a couple months to test your DNA. In the meantime, you add information about your most distant Tapscott ancestor: name, birth place, birth year. You are strongly encouraged to download a GEDCOM file leading from the most distant person and including the person tested. They will post your results on your homepage and the Tapscott Project page.