When I submitted our Great Uncle Jordan’s kit to the database, I had joined the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT . Naively I reasoned since I was submitting our branch in 2011 and the Jordan Surname Project began in 2004 the early Colonial Carolina Jordans would all or mostly all be established.  I thought I simply had to submit our MATTHEW JORDAN branch and we would receive results showing our relationships with our neighboring JORDANS and of course the results would show me which Carolina JORDANS we could call KIN!

I ordered the Y37 marker test. I had been told by genetic experts 37 markers are required to establish your branch  and find your true family tree.

Well, the results were less than thrilling.  In fact they were downright confusing. We had no close matches.  A close match is one where the kit you submit has the exact same markers or only one different marker than your match(es).  We had lots of 2 different markers, and plenty of 3s, and some 4s. FTDNA’s lab cuts off matches for Y37 kits at 4 markers different.

This is where the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT RESULTS are so important.  You can see ALL of the folks (who participate), even those outside of the lab returned matches who are part of your JORDAN FAMILY TREE.  Note:  Each Jordan tree requires three matching kits before an unique tree (new subgroup) can be established.  The labels for each tree such as JG3 simply means J(ORDAN) G(roup) 3 – at least three JORDAN kits matched after two previous groups of JORDANs matched.    The number is just an assignment based on participation.  The quicker you get your JORDANS established the better!  Each FTDNA DNA SURNAME PROJECT is unique.  The Beasley Surname Project uses colors as subgroup labels.  Another surname project uses names of trees.  I chose to use the same labels for the NC 1700s JORDAN PROJECT as the FTDNA JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT for continuity sake.   

For me, after the results were published I found several points of concern about the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT results we received.  First, there were over 30 kits in the JG3 JORDAN FAMILY TREE with less than 37 markers!  I wondered if our 0-1 match could be hiding in plain sight?  I ended up spending nine months tracking down as many of the deficient kits (that is what kits with less than 37 markers are called).  At last count, there were only 9 deficient kits.  Many of these are for South Carolina JORDANS.  It is my hope these kit owners will upgrade their  kit and if not possible will provide a new kit to properly establish their JORDAN JG3 branch.

The second oddity I found was with the two first matches for our kit.  Both of the matches were from ALABAMA JORDANS and each had listed GRAY JORDAN of EDGECOMBE  COUNTY, NC as their EARLIEST ANCESTOR.  I looked and looked for the Carolina kit for this GRAY to confirm their claim! ** IT TAKES THREE UNIQUE GENERATIONAL MATCHES TO CONFIRM A BRANCH! That is to say, you and two first cousins may be able to establish a subgroup BUT it will NOT CONFIRM YOUR BRANCH.  It takes you working with folks who are three or more generations from your specific pedigree to CONFIRM A BRANCH!  The administrator said this Alabama branch HAD confirmed their branch.  I knew that would take a CAROLINA kit.  And  I also wanted to see just what the genetic distance would be for Gray’s actual Carolina branch and our Matthew branch!

I had been interested in GRAY JORDAN of EDGECOMBE (ROCKY MOUNT) for a long time.  You see, Gray’s grandson Cornelius Haywood Jordan also fought during the Civil War. And C.H. was confused on and in several early published genealogies with our Cornelius Jordan.  Gray’s grandson made it through that terrible war and returned to his family!  I visited his grave site in the Fisher Cemetery in Stedman (Cumberland county), NC during the first months of my research. I could go on and on with why I was interested in Gray’s branch.  But this blog is focused on DNA.

I could NOT SEE a CAROLINA GRAY JORDAN BRANCH established in the FTDNA database. So I sought out a descendant. I try to be very specific about whom I ask.  In this case, I asked a man whose family tracks from GRAY SR to GRAY JR to CORNELIUS HAYWOOD to… He agreed to help me and submitted a kit! At this time we have three CAROLINA kits for GRAY SR established in the database.  When the Carolina kit populated it showed that GRAY’s BRANCH was 4 markers from our MATTHEW’s BRANCH.  Still the same family – KIN! HURRAY-  somewhere we will have the same shared ancestor.  But at 4 markers different, we have work to do to find that common ancestor!  The Carolina kit also clarified the claims of the Alabama kits and I could properly analyze my results!  It was sort of like a puzzle with missing pieces.

The Alabama fellas were NOT GRAY of Edgecombe’s branch afterall.   It took several more months of work to discover these two fellas had simply accidentally used research notes when they keyed in their earliest ancestor!  I hope my project will help them solve the mystery of which Carolina branch they do connect!

When GRAY’s BRANCH populated I learned something very important and I count it a deficiency.  It is one of the main reasons I began this independent research project.

KIT results do NOT necessarily give you all of the data the lab’s have about your family tree!  

I thought I had received all Carolina matches for Jordans within my Jordan family tree.  I didn’t. When Gray’s kit populated there was ANOTHER EARLIER Carolina KIT for a different descendant line of Gray’s branch.    This GRAY of EDGECOMBE didn’t return as a match for our MATTHEW because it was FIVE MARKERS DIFFERENT.  But his line of Jordans and ours belong to the same clan of Jordans.  Made we realize our JG3 Tree is like a mighty ancient Oak!  It is so important for all of us JORDANS of Carolina to establish our branch.

Right now Gray’s line need help. They are stuck at him and have been for a long time!  They are searching for Gray Sr’s parents.  The only reason this continues for Gray or for our Matthew is missing branches. It is like building a puzzle and having missing pieces.

Here is a descendant chart for GRAY SR.  I have hesitated publishing it because it is NOT confirmed by DNA and Gray SR listed only one child in his will, Gray Jr. I have been asking so many folks by personally reaching out to them.  It hasn’t worked.  Maybe if I just publish the descendant charts our cousins who track back to Gray Sr will take the steps necessary to build their best DNA cluster and work with Gray’s neighboring Jordans who could hold that needed piece of the puzzle to allow Gray’s parents to come into focus.   


Richard (possibly middle name Walter) Jordan who married Elizabeth Gay, dau. of Kinchen Gay and a Miss Armstrong *

  • This information is based on genealogy work and there is an urgent need for a boy in this line to establish their branch.  When working with DNA and trying to reach back to the 1700s or earlier, it is helpful for as many of the children of the earliest known ancestor to submit a Family Finder test. Only one boy per line needs to do a Ymarker test, provided there are no surprise results.

Gray Jr (his name may include Charles) who married Sally Bailey, dau. of Jonathan Bailey and Kessiah Spicer.

Cornelius – ?

Thomas – ?

James – ?

Mary Louise Jordan, the granddaughter of Gray SR, daughter of Gray JR who wed Edward James Littleton is represented in the FTDNA database.  I am not working the Littletons specifically and I don’t know if her husband’s LITTLETON branch has been established?  I so appreciated the efforts made to get their Jordan connection done.  I would ask if you are a Littleton or a Hargroves or any of the other maiden surnames in any of these Jordan descendant charts I hope you will work to establish your branch.  If we have the DNA for both the maternal and the paternal side of our earliest ancestor we can confirm our paper pedigree work and made great strides where the paper trail has disappeared.

Because the Ymarker’s reach is 26 generations both Gray SR and Matthew M lines need other JORDAN men to establish their branch/line who lived in any of those very early counties: Bertie, Chowan, Beaufort and Craven.  Onslow, Brunswick and New Hanover Jordans are needed too because Gray Sr’s kids married into families or relocated to these counties.  We need to know the relationships between Gray’s lines and his Jordan neighbors.

The reality when the DNA tests establishing both Matthew and Gray completed we learned we are both early CAROLINA JORDANS and we belong to the same clan of JORDANS, the JG 3 Tree. If it had not been for the kindness and cooperation of CORNELIUS HAYWOOD JORDAN’s line this researcher would never have been able to connect to a true cousin via the JORDANSurname Project.




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