Monday, January 7, 2013

Update on the Reeves of Wayne County Tennessee

DNA testing is helping to unravel yet another Reeves mystery. Over a year ago, I wrote a post titled Yet Another George Reeves.  At the end of the post, I opined that DNA testing might help identify this mystery George of  Wayne County.

I’ve long been interested in the numerous Reeves families of Wayne County, Tennessee. Most of my paternal ancestors came from Wayne County, Tennessee, but my Reeves line is maternal. I was very curious – were my mother’s relatives living next door to my father’s ancestors 100 years or more before my parents met in Arkansas? And there were so many Reeves there -- surely they couldn’t possibly all be the same line. Most of them came out of nowhere and moved on elsewhere, but a combination of paper trails and DNA testing is starting to bring them into a sharper focus.

One such Reeves is George W Reeves who sold land on Hardin’s Creek in Wayne County, Tennessee in 1833 as "George Reeves of Hickman County, Kentucky." I found him in the 1830 Wayne County census and then in 1840 in Hickman County, Kentucky and in 1850 in Ballard County, Kentucky.  I was able to identify his first wife as Nancy Elizabeth McClure as well as their children and his second wife as Mary Polly Boone.

Then the trail went cold until my Reeves cousin Laverne got her results from the Family Finder test.  Laverne’s test confirmed, as she always knew, that she is part of the Reeves Group 8 DNA family.  But among her matches was a real gem of a find:  two descendants of "George W Reeves of Hickman Kentucky.”

Having identified his line, I knew a little better where to look for more traces of him.  I found his wife’s family, the McClures, living in Humphreys County Tennessee near several Reeves dwellings including that of Jordan Reeves . Further supporting the family relationship, these McClures migrated to Wayne County with George and Nancy and then on to Kentucky. And finally, an 1820 census record of a George Reeves in Perry County TN that had long stumped Group 8 Reeves researchers fits the family structure of our now less mysterious George W Reeves.

We still don’t know who George W Reeves’ father was, but he could very well be one of the Reeves men who migrated to Humphreys and Hickman County Tennessee between 1808 and 1816/17, sons and grandsons of George Reeves and Mary Jordan. 

Updated to add: I now also have a DNA match to a descendent of George W Reeves and Nancy McClure.