Who were James Colbert's ancestors?

+9 votes
Twenty-five years ago I wrote an article for The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal entitled: James Logan Colbert of the Chickasaws:  The Man and the Myth.  It appeared in the May 1994 and Feb 1995 issues.

At that time I said that James was not born in Scotland, as had been reported in books and magazines for over 100 years, but on Plumtree Island (now Mush Island) on the Roanoke River and opposite the town of Weldon, Halifax Co, NC.

My 4th GG Thomas Colbert was born on Plumtree Island and lived in the town of Halifax, Halifax Co, NC as a blacksmith until 1768.  At that time he moved west 50 miles and settled in Bute (Franklin/Warren) Co, NC to raise his family. 248 years later the family still lives there.

Furthermore, I wrote that James' father was the son of Joseph Calvert/Colbert (my 5th GG) and that the family was associated with Abraham Colson -- a registered Chickasaw trader -- and his brother Joseph Colson.

In addition, I wrote that there was a possibility that James Colbert was a descendant of Christopher Calvert of Accomack Co, VA.

Back then DNA had not advanced as far as today, but now I can conclusively state that James Colbert of the Chickasaw Nations was indeed a descendant of Christopher Calvert and that Christopher's haplogroup is R-Z16502 which is downstream of FGC5494 and belongs to the R-L21 Subclade group. [R1b>M269>P311>P312>R-L21>DF13>FGC5494>R-Z16502]  Further testing may show that he belongs to another subclade which is downstream of R-Z16502.

Christopher Calvert was born c 1611 and lived near Northampton, England. Around 1620 England decided to colonize the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Obedience Robins of Northamptonshire, England and Edmond Scarborough of Lincolnshire, England were appointed Commissioners of Accomack Co, VA. During the next thirty years, Obedience Robins made numerous trips back to Northamptonshire and recruited families to pack their bags and move to the promised land. He personally recruited over 300 families along with many individuals including Christopher Calvert and my 8th GG John Pannell/Panewell/Pinnell.

Christopher was transported to Accomack Co, VA in 1636 by William Bibby/Beebe.  John Pannell was transported to Accomack Co in 1641 by Capt. Thomas Harris aboard the Honour.

The Family Tree DNA SNP Map shows that there are only a few locations where the R-Z16502 haplogroup is now prevalent:  Northamptonshire, England and Accomack Co, VA are two of those locations.

I believe another location would be Ada, OK if the Chickasaw Nations required genetic testing to become a member.  Unfortunately, they don't.  And, so far, no known male descendant of James Colbert of the Chickasaws has come forward to test for either the y-DNA test or haplogroup.

If a male Colbert descendant of James Colbert comes forward, I would be willing to pay for his genetic testing.
WikiTree profile: James Colbert
in Genealogy Help by
I don't know much about genealogy and even less about DNA. Does the male descendant have to be through all male lines?

There are many male Colbert descendants of James Logan Colbert who are members or tribal descendants of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama.  I am not a patrilineal descendant of the Colberts, although many are.  My Great Grandmother was Hettie Colbert, her father William David Colbert II and her grandfather William David Colbert I.  I also am a Colbert descendant through Polly Colbert who married into the Moniac/Manac family.  My Colberts trace back to the Chickasaw Colberts of northwest Alabama, where Colbert County exists today.  My father was non-native and my paternal haplotype is I-B253.  My native identity is from my mother and her ancestors.  My maternal haplotype is B2.  If you can, email me at kenshivers84@gmail.com.

I am working with a male descendant of James Logan Colbert and he is open to Y DNA testing, although cannot afford it. If your offer still stands to assist with the Y DNA testing, please reach out to me and I will put you in contact. Thank you.
Chickasaw Colbert Descendent, you and I share a lot of direct ancestors.  Those names appear on my tree too.

Does your tree lead to Mack (direct) and Ida?  They’re buried in Riverside.  They left Oklahoma in the 1930’s.

Their son was Jesse Colbert b. 1909, and his son was my father, Bill (William) Jesse Colbert b. 1931.
Lady Colbert:  Hi!  I have not found any evidence that James Colbert of the Chickasaws was French.  In fact, I believe the Chickasaws went to war against the French between the late 1720's and the early 1740's.  The Chickasaws first went to war against the Choctaws who were supported by the French. In 1736 the Chickasaws soundly defeated two French armies at the Battles of Ogoula Tchetcka (March 25) and Ackia (May 26).  In 1739, the French again attacked the Chickasaws and lost. On March 25, 1740, the French sued for peace. However, the French continued to fight the Chickasaws off and on for several more years.  

If James Colbert was French, I doubt he would have joined the Chickasaws.

Richard Colbert, July 31, 2022.

2 Answers

+1 vote
In order to be a direct-line male descendant of, say, James Logan Colbert of the Chickasaw Nations; or Christopher Calvert of Northamptonshire, England and Accomack Co, VA; or William Calvert Colvard of Chesterfield Co, VA, you must have the same y-DNA and haplogroup.

The same is true of every direct-line male regardless if he's a Smith or a Jones or a Wasolinko.

Direct-line male y-DNA descends from father to son to grandson to greatgrandfather, to great-greatgrandfather, etc.

With the exception of mutations between the genes, which occurs approximately every 200 years for some genes and thousands of years for other genes, the y-DNA should be the same.

by Richard Colbert G2G1 (1.7k points)
Richard, I encourage you to update James ' profile with your findings. Please include any sources you published in your article. Thanks so much.
0 votes
When I first started researching 20 years ago, the name “William d’ Blainville Colbert” was listed on Ancestry.com.

He was the supposed Scotsman that came to the New World.

JLC was born in 1727.  Col. George Colbert was born in 1746.  WdBC was born in 1695.

My research has resulted in the following theory which I aim to confirm whenever I get to Europe, hopefully in the next five years.

The Jacobite Uprisings of 1689-1692 ousted James VII/II.  We were the “King’ Barons” and intermarried with the Stuarts.  One place our family could seek shelter from the murderous hordes was at our cousin’s place in France.  Jean-Baptiste Colbert was Louis XIV’s Treasurer and, although deceased, had left the Chateau d’ Colbert in Blainville-Sur-Orne, France.

The family took refuge, then WdBC was born in 1695.  I’m fairly certain the money ran out at some point after losing Castlehill, Inverness, Scotland.  If they left in a haste, only so many money bags could have been carried.  The family needed a new income source.

WdBC became a fur trader (I read this section online) and landed in the colonies to hunt furs to send back to Europe.  He ran into the Chickasaws and married the Chief’s eldest daughter.  It provided him leverage in his trades.  He eventually became Chief when her father died.  He only married once.

James Logan Colbert was born in NC (named after James VII/II?).  He was reported as commenting about defending the country of his birth during the various skirmishes.  He likely spoke French and Chickasaw on top of English.  France had a huge swath of land that was the Chickasaw’s ancestral lands.  His language skills would be useful.  JLC married three wives as was the tribal custom.

George Washington gave a grandfather/grandson both named William Colbert direct commissions in the Revolutionary War.  WdBC would have been around 80 years old, but we know George was around 95 years old when he died.  (Maybe longevity is in the family - my dad, Bill Jesse Colbert died at age 85.). We know General William Choosuagi (sp?) Colbert existed and was George’s half brother.  They’re likely the GF/GS duo.

I feel quite strongly the truth is very close to my summations. I just need to get to BSO, France and Inverness, Scotland.  The Chateau should have a lot of the records.

I’m unsure who Christopher is, but I’ll definitely keep an eye out.  All Colberts are related and are the oldest Scottish Gael clan known.  We don’t have tartans as we were the originals and lived in Inverness, not the Highlands.  I’ve looked at many Scottish shops for them and none have online samples for our name.

The family saint, St. Colbert of Northumbria, was so adored that many in England, Wales, and Scotland took his last name once that became a trend.  Calvert is one form - a blend of Colbert and Calvery.  Colbert, though, is 100% Scottish.  The Highlanders used “Mac” for “son of” and “O” for “grandson of.  Colbert is from Cuthbert meaning “famous, bright”.

I wouldn’t put too much stress on Christopher being a direct ancestor given he’s from England.

I welcome thoughts and inputs.  I will never do the DNA given most native tribes do not test as they want their genes to remain sacred.
by Lady Colbert G2G Rookie (230 points)
edited by Lady Colbert
My mother was a Colbert in Virginia. We know 4 generations and then hita brick wall! Lemuel Colbert married Phebe Blankenship in 1790 in Campbell County Virginia. That record exists. They moved to the next county, about 5 miles, in 1792, where he is listed in a deed as a "newcomer", along with his wife in a purchase of land. "Newcomer" is interesting as he'd lived in the next county for at least 2 years. Many, even on Wikitree, list his father as Alexander Colbert, but I do not think that is true. I am in touch with Alexander Colbert's descendants. They moved to the area of Virginia that became western PA, and I think Alexander was a Calvert but changed the name as he moved to Bedford. Lemuel and Phebe sold the same land in 1794, and the last known record of Lemuel was in 1815 personal property list. The following year and the Census in 1820, 30, 40, and 50 show Phebe first as head of household but by 1850 living with her daughter, also then a widow, blind, age 95. I think we "talked" a long while ago, but besides JLC's son, Lemuel, have you run across one in Campbell or Pittsylvania County VA, named Lemuel Colbert?

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