Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Adoption of Fixed Surnames & DNA

I was a little confused by the DNA matches for Roger Forgey. Most of the matches didn't share the same surname?? You would expect to find only same surname matches given the fact that the Y chromosome is only passed from fathers to sons. Well after doing some research at Family Tree DNA and elsewhere I found that these matches indicate a relationship before fixed surnames were adopted.
Not being clear about when surnames were first adopted I did some research. It seems that before 1350 many common people did not have fixed inherited surnames.The aristocracy was the first group to adopt surnames. Taxation made more precise identification necessary and was a catalyst for the development of surnames . The growth of the military and civil bureaucracy led to the standardization of surnames.
A few of the non Forgey surname matches were only two or three markers off at 37 markers. This leads me to believe that the Forgeys adopted a fixed surname relatively late. The lowlands Scots, as the Forgeys were, tended to adopt fixed surnames later than those in Southern England. They may have adopted a fixed surname in the 1400 or 1500's or even later. The first appearance of the name Ferguson (the root name of Forgey in Scotland) seems to have been on a 1466 land record (the 15th century seems to be when Ferguson was first adopted). This record transferred land from John Ferguson to his son. Ferguson appears to be a patronymic name referring to men who were sons of a Fergus. Previous to the  adoption of the surname Ferguson they were referred to only as "sons of Fergus."
 In the past people changed surnames for various reasons,and early names were not always carried down in families. An example apprentices sometimes took their masters surnames. Many of the earliest surnames were not inherited by descendants and died out.
Varieties and synonymes of
surnames and Christian names in Ireland
I think previous family researchers miscalculated the date of the adoption of our family name. Some felt that the Forgies came from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066, and the name dated from that time period. This seems unlikely. Most of those who came with William the Conqueror had surnames which related to the place they came from in France, and were preceded by "de" meaning "of". I have not found any references to de Forgies in western Scotland. Most experts on the subject agree Forgey is a variant of the surname Ferguson. As a matter of fact a couple of Fergusons were close DNA matches. So I tend to agree that at least in our line the name derives from Ferguson. It is likely that there are other origins for this surname in other places. Our family origins seemed to be rooted in Scotland; which is supported by the DNA testing. There may also be a French origin of the name? The William Forgey line which settled in Allegheny County, PA in the late 18th Century claimed French ancestry. This illustrates the difficulty which arises when trying to trace someone based solely on their surname. Surnames change over time. Similar surnames may be used in several countries.So sharing a surname does not represent proof of a blood relationship.
Progressive Men of the State of Montana Volume 2

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Journey of Man: The Genetic Journey of the Forgeys/Forgy & Forgies

The only Forgey marker we have so far is M223 (click to enlarge map)

We now have the predicted Haplo type for Roger Forgey and Wayne Forgie's lines. It's haplo group I2b1, M223. This is what wikipedia has to say about it: "Former I2b1 in the Y2010 tree. I2a2a (M223) has a peak in Germany and another in eastern Sweden, but also appears in Russia, Greece, Italy and around the Black Sea.[21] Haplogroup I2a2a has been found in over 4% of the population only in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, England (not including Wales or Cornwall), Scotland, and the southern tips of Sweden and Norway in Northwest Europe; the provinces of Normandy, Maine, Anjou, and Perche in northwestern France; the province of Provence in southeastern France; the regions of Tuscany,Umbria, and Latium in Italy; and Moldavia and the area around Russia's Ryazan Oblast and Republic of Mordovia in Eastern Europe. Of historical note, both haplogroups I1 and I2b appear at a low frequency in the historical regions of Bithynia and Galatia in Turkey, possibly descendants of the Varangians, who are historically recorded to have invaded those parts of Anatolia from the 9th to 11th centuries."  
The I2b sub group, called Isles, is found almost exclusively in the British Isles with a heavy concentration in Scotland.  
The marker 223 also is interesting.  "The founder of this marker lived somewhere in the northwestern regions of the European continent, perhaps even in what seems a very unlikely place: the bed of what is now the North Sea." This place is now referred to as Doggerland by scientists. As stated  previously it's now located in the North Sea.  Here is a description  “…Doggerland would have covered an area about the size of England, a tundra landscape across which vast herds of reindeer and horses plodded, where salmon spawned in its prolific rivers. As the climate warmed, oak woodland colonized the valleys and hills. Red deer, roe deer and wild pig replaced the barren-ground reindeer. It remained an ideal hunting ground….+ http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~robert/TheFirstPeople.htm
One of my all time favorite TV programs is the Journey of Man which I embedded below (to see all of the parts just click the the Youtube link). I think this show helps put the Forgey DNA results into context.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Y DNA12 Markers and 25 to GO!

We received Roger Forgey's 12 marker test results last Friday (still waiting for the last 25 markers). He was a perfect 12 of 12 match with someone currently using the Forgie variant spelling of the name. At the 12 marker stage if you match with a person with the same surname or variant then you are considered to be related. This person originally tested as a part of the Genographic Project sponsored by the National Geographic Society. He is currently upgrading his 12 marker test and testing with Family Tree DNA. It's puzzling that there is no match with the Forgys (Iowa, USA) who also first settled in Cumberland County, PA like my family.  Since only one person tested it is possible that a non paternity event occurred and more testing needs to be done?  A test is in the works right now for my Uncle Charles Forgey.

Oddly there were also two other matches with men with different surnames. If these results hold up at 37 markers we will have to compare notes to see where we may be related?

The Forgie match would mean that our family descends from the Forgey/ Forgies of Co. Down Ireland. The shared ancestor would have been many generations ago since my Forgey family came to this Country about 1767 and our match's family came much later about 1870. I had some suspicions that the family had descended from the Co. Down Forgey/Forgie line. It looked like a migration from Down to Armagh took place. It did not look like the Forgey family was in the Armagh area very long. I couldn't find any burial records, births, marriages or deaths there. It looks like the family resided there briefly in the 1760's just before emigrating.

Varieties and synonymes of
surnames and Christian names in Ireland
 According to a report by Robert E. Matheson, Registrar General 1901, the spelling Forgey was common in Warren Point, Co. Down. We believe my ancestor Andrew Forgey is listed on the 1766 Religious Census for Ireland. He seems to be listed in Creggan Parish, Armagh along with his father-in-law Hugh Reynolds. This area being only 12 miles from Warren Point Co. Down; so it seems like there may be some relationship? A James Forgy also listed on that Census did not emigrate to America. I do wonder if some of his descendants settled in Warren Point Co. Down?

The ancestors of our match lived in Millisle, Parish Donaghadee, Co. Down. This area is on the Ards Peninsula.  We really don't know how many Forgey/ Forgie families settled on the Ards Peninsula; but we might assume from the numbers of people with the surname in public records it wasn't many. The earliest Forgey/ Forgies were brought over from Scotland to Ards by Sir Hugh Montgomery, who was part of a private plantation scheme which aimed to plant the area with Protestant Scottish settlers. Gregory Livingstone found a Forgie on a 1606 Rent Roll, which would be the earliest appearance of the name in Irish records. Gregory also gave me this info " mentioned in the Montgomery manuscripts, they came in 1603, with Sir Hugh and helped build the harbour and town of Donaghadee, simply list of surnames of individuals.A James Forgie is mentioned as living in Ballyrolly 1616, a townland 1/2 mile from Millisle." We note here the same place names as mentioned by our match's family. Due to heavy record losses it's nearly impossible to trace a family back to the 1600's so we can only guess that our family may have descended from these early Forgeys.
Nathaniel Forgy Rent Roll 1690's Ards Co. Down, Ire

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Forgeys and Slavery

Former Forgey Slaves

I remember back when Helen Irene Forgey visited our family in the early 1990s and told our family about our origins. When she said the family was originally from Tennessee I was quite surprised. I wondered whether the family had anything to do with slavery? It looks like only one of my direct ancestors owned a slave, namely Andrew Forgey born in Ireland. His slave was listed on Andrew's Will and his name was Bacchus. He was Willed to sons Andrew and Hugh Forgey to share. 
Andrew's son James, and his line, were the largest slave holders in the Forgey family. Although they would have been considered small slave holders. The slaves consisted mainly of single family groups. The Census describes two former Forgey slaves as Mulatto, so I wonder if they might have Forgey blood? There was also a mulatto boy?
Mary Forgey 1870 Census Mulatto

Margaret Forgey Mulatto 1870 Census

 From James Forgey's 1831 Will "Item 10. I leave my yellow boy (yellow would be mulatto)  Joseph and his wife Peggy to my beloved wife during her life, and at her decease for them and their issue to be equally divided amongst my daughters, and it is my request that James would keep them at a moderate price and for them not (to be) separated themselves, but their children may be divided between the girls." From his son James R. Forgey's 1853 Will: , "and also that each of my daughters have two servants girls to be selected by my wife. Given under my hand and seal the date above written." From his wife Raechal's will : "Manerva and Matilda Forgey and my own daughter Susan Forgey, have each one negro girl"..."James R. Forgey Jr. the sum of six thousand dollars in cash or negroes belonging to my Estate".

An interesting description of slavery in Tennessee can be found in "Tennessee a Guide to the State". According to this account: "The lot of the Tennessee slave was perhaps less unfortunate than that of many of his brethren. Tennessee's slave code guaranteed the Negro shelter, food, clothing, and medical attention. It protected him when he ceased to be useful, gave him the right to contract for his freedom, and in 1835 granted him the right of trial by jury - a privilege accorded to slaves in only four other States."

Don't know what happened to the former slaves who took the name Forgey? Don't know whether any descendants still carry the name Forgey? Joe Forgey's family seemed to be the only remaining African American family in the area in 1920 (Joseph and Margaret were names handed down in that family. James Forgey's slaves, husband and wife, were Joseph and Margaret).
Joe Forgey Family Mulatto 1920 US Census Knox County, TN