The DNA Project
Want to join the project - but your family name
isn't listed? No problem. Just contact John
* At least 6 men named Allred show up in North Carolina land records in the 1750's. To date, no one has been able to prove who their parents were or where they came from. We think they may have been a combination of brothers, uncles and cousins, but no paper documentation has been found to prove this.
* Tax records prove a Solomon Allred lived in Pennsylvania in the 1720's. Could he be the father or related in someway to those four men?
* We have documentation proving a Solomon Allred was born in Eccles Parish, Lancashire, England in 1680. Is he the same man who showed up in the Pennsylvania tax records in the 1720's? Is he the same man who was the father of the men who showed up in North Carolina land records in the 1750's?
To date: no one has been able to provide or find any documentation to answer these questions. Many have tried - and many have family stories - but no documented proof has been found (to our knowledge).
This is why we started the DNA project.
Paper documentation has survived which help us answer many questions, but at times paper documentation either doesn't exist or hasn't been found. This is where the DNA Project helps. When paper documentation can't be found, DNA results will tell us if we are on the right track or not.
DNA can be very confusing and the answers very overwhelming - full of scientific "mumbo jumbo". Since most of us are not math or science wizards, the info on this page is being kept at a very simple and (hopefully) easy to understand level. If you desire more complex answers or additional information, please visit Family Tree DNA at www.familytreedna.com
Basically, the "bottom line" is the DNA of two people either match or it doesn't. If the DNA matches - those two people are related. If it doesn't match - those two people are not related. But, there are exceptions which will be explained below.
When you look at the DNA Results Graph, you'll see the top row of the graph contains the numbers (names) of the DNA Alleles. The Alleles are the portions of Human Y-Chromosome DNA from each participant which is tested for our project. Note that some of these Alleles are highlighted in Red while others are Black. DNA is a fairly new science and so much is still not known about it - including why some Alleles tend to mutate (change) more quickly than others. Ordinarily, the rate of mutation is estimated to be 1 time per every 500 generations. However, this is the subject of scholarly debate within the DNA Scientific community. Family Tree DNA has noticed over the past 18 months that some of these Allele markers (results) seems to mutate even faster for some individuals and/or families. To help you keep track of these "fast mutating" markers while looking at the DNA results, we have highlighted them in Red. For a simple explanation of some reasons why markers may mutate, click here.
Specifically, if the DNA of two individuals matches perfectly, there is a 99.9% chance that they share a common ancestor. When the DNA matches perfectly, there is a 50% chance that the common ancestor is within 7 generations and a 90% chance the common ancestor is within 24 generations. So, with a perfect DNA match, the common ancestor is somewhere between 7 - 24 generations back in the family tree. When combined with paper documentation and genealogy knowledge, DNA is a wonderful tool telling us if we are on the right track or not. We still won't know who that common ancestor was - but we will know if we are looking in the right direction or not.
Because there are "fast mutating" markers, for the purpose of this DNA project the rule is:
Three or More Mutations
To count generations, begin with the individual who participated in the DNA project. That person is generation #1. His father is generation #2. His grandfather is generation #3. Continue counting back in time until you reach that ancestor who is the oldest known ancestor on your family tree. For example:
Generation #1: Leron Allred
Thomas Allred (Generation # 8) showed up in North Carolina land records in 1755. This is as far back as Leron has been able to trace his Allred family tree.
Example # 1: Don and Leron
Answer: Let's compare their DNA results:
As you can see, their DNA results match perfectly. So, the answer is YES! Combined with the paper documentation Don and Leron have collected and their DNA results, it is very safe to say YES, they both descend from Thomas Allred. The perfect match tells us there is a 99.9% chance that the common ancestor is within 7-24 generations. Since Thomas is generation #8 for both men, the DNA results tell us there is a 99.9% chance the common ancestor is Thomas.
But, you are thinking: well, heck - they already knew that. Why should they participate in the DNA project? Because, sometimes we find surprises.
Example #2: Leron and Bill
Bill had also documented his family tree back to Thomas. His paper documentation looked great - but his DNA results show there was a flaw somewhere. Bill only took the first portion of the DNA test which consisted of the first 12 alleles or markers. As you can see, 4 of his markers differ from Leron's. Remember - markers either match or they don't. In this case they don't match. Despite Bill's documentation, he is not a descendant of Thomas. But, his surname is Allred!! How did that happen? The answer may always be a mystery, but most likely there was an illegitimate child or adopted child somewhere in Bill's family tree which paper documentation never showed. So, it's back to the genealogy drawing board for Bill.
Example #3: Leron and George
You already know Leron is a descendant of Thomas. George
has paper documented his family tree back to Azariah Allred.
Circumstantial evidence leads us to theorize that Azariah was the son of Phineas
Allred who was the son of Solomon. So, we have two questions here:
Leron and George's DNA is not a perfect match. There are mutations in those last two markers. But, the last marker is within the "fast moving mutation" category, so we will allow for the difference and consider this a match. DNA proves Thomas and Azariah have a common ancestor. The DNA results show George is "on the right path" with his genealogy research. But, we still don't know if Azariah was a descendant (grandchild) of Solomon, so let's look at another example:
Example #4: George and Ralph
You already know George has documented his family tree back to
Azariah who he believes was the grandson of Solomon. Ralph has also traced
his family tree back to Solomon, but the documentation on the oldest two
generations is very weak because Solomon and his sons left very few records
behind - mostly land records which are not conclusive. What does the DNA
Ralph only took the first portion of the DNA test, but his 12 markers perfectly match James A. proving that there is a 99.9% chance that they have a common ancestor within 7 - 24 generations back in their family tree. So, the answer is YES, both men descend from Solomon.
Example #5: George and W. Darrell
W. Darrell also thought he had fairly good documentation that
he was a descendant of Solomon. But, as stated earlier, Solomon and his
sons left very little paper work, so some of Darrell's conclusions were based on
circumstantial evidence and/or family stories written in various books or in
No match. With 6 mutations, the DNA shows that Darrell belongs to another family group. Despite pretty good circumstantial evidence that Darrell was a descendant of Solomon and despite the fact that Darrell's ancestors lived in Randolph County surrounded by other Allreds, the DNA shows that he is not a member of this family group.
But: W. Darrell is not alone:
Hubert has traced his family tree back to Jesse Allred (1783 - 1844) who also lived in Randolph County, NC surrounded by Allreds. Despite many years of research, no one has ever been able to prove who Jesse's parents or siblings were. Will DNA help?
The DNA results for W. Darrell and Hubert were a perfect match
proving they share a common ancestor. But who? Their ancestors lived in
Randolph County, NC, and the surname is Allred - yet the DNA proves they are not
related to the other Allreds in the area. What happened? This
will take quite a bit of research to try to figure out, but the 3 most likely
Example #7: Are Elrod and Allred the same family?
For many years there has been a question about these two families. Could they be the same and for some reason some of the family members began spelling their name differently. Research led a lot of researchers to believe there was a very good chance that William Elrod and William Allred were the same man - and for some unknown reason the spelling of the name was changed.
But, the answer is NO. With 9 mutations there is no doubt that Elrod and Allred are two completely separate families.
There have been similar theories about the Aldridge and Arledge families - could they be related to Allred? However, DNA results prove that Arledge is not related to Allred. An Aldridge participant has taken a DNA test and his results are posted on the graph. You will see the results do not match.
Example #8: Are the American Allreds related to the British Allred / Aldred family?
As stated at the start of this report, a Solomon Allred was born in 1680 in Lancashire, England as proven by Baptismal Records. Could this man be the common ancestor of any of the Allreds living in America? To date, no paper documentation has been found to answer this question. All we have is some strong circumstantial evidence. But, as you saw with the examples above, circumstantial evidence can point you in the wrong direction. So, we tracked down two British participants who agreed join our project. Both trace their ancestry back to Lancashire within a few short miles of the area where Solomon Allred was born. Although both of our British participants spell their surname Aldred, both have documented the surname also being spelled Allred at times throughout their family history.
At first glance you would think the answer is "No", they are not related with 3 mutations. But, here is where it gets very complicated - and very interesting. To begin: 3 of these mutations are within "fast mutating" categories. Then, we must consider there are other Allreds who are only one mutation away from - making them a match to James D.
Yikes! It looks like a lot of mutations showing up
between our British participant and the American Allreds. But look closer.
To make it easier to pick out the fast mutating categories where we find differing numbers, I have highlighted them in red below.
With the exception of the 12th marker where James D. Aldred has a 31 and the rest have a 30 - all of the mutations are contained within fast mutating categories. Look closely at the mutations within each category for each participant. You'll see that none are exactly alike.
In category 6, everyone has a 14 except George E.
In category 9, Eddie Clay and James D have a 12 while everyone else has a 11.
In category 13, James D has a 17 while everyone else has a 19
In category 24, George E. has a 15 while everyone else has a 16
In category 25, there are 3 different results:
What does it all mean?
Hmmmmmmmmm. Good question. Remember the rule:
3 mutations or more means you are not related. But, everyone's results
show mutations in fast mutating categories - and every one has different
mutations - matching and not matching in very confusing combinations.
Eddie Clay matches James A., Leron, George and Don with only 1 mutation = they are related
Don and Leron have 1 mutation different from James A. = they are related
Don has 2 mutations different from James D = they are related
After scratching our heads and swapping several phone calls with the experts at Family Tree DNA, we have concluded that YES, James D. Aldred our British participant is related to the majority of American Allreds - but the common ancestor may be much farther back in the family tree. And the Allred / Aldred family has some unusually fast mutating markers making the family very interesting and unique.
Having a common ancestor much farther back in the family tree matches our paper documentation and theories. If we are correct and the American Allreds descend from that Solomon Allred who was born in 1680 in Lancashire, England, Solomon will be generation 9 or 10 for our participants. The farthest any British volunteer has traced his family back is the late 1600's in Lancashire - but not to the same family as Solomon. The families lived within a couple of miles of each other - but no records have been found to prove they were related - so far. But, think about it - how many families can be living within a 2-3 miles of each other in the late 1600's and have the same surname yet not be related?
Most likely they were related, but farther back in the family tree - which matches our DNA results.
So, the answer is "YES" - the majority of our Allred project participants are related to the British Aldreds. The common ancestor is just way far back in the family tree. We are on the right track looking at the Allred family of Eccles Parish, Lancashire, England.