Anyone aware of a William Davis or Davies that changed his name to Williams circa 1765

+4 votes
According to a BigY DNA Test with Family Tree DNA Iin Houston, Texas I am not a Williams but either a Davis or Davies. The info from the test was sent to YFull and verified by them. Any of you experts have any suggestions other than 'PUNT"
in Genealogy Help by Anonymous Williams G2G6 Mach 1 (12.7k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Hi Joseph - you might also want to tag your question with the 'dna' tag and the 'y-dna' tag so that experts who are following those tags notice your question.
How do I do a DNA Tag? I'm willing to give them my account number and password at FTDNA. Another thing the only Williams DNA that I match with are descendants of his (WMW) The top matches are either Davis or Davies. I have written letters to them and so far no answers.

Hi Joseph!  The place to enter tags is at the bottom of the big green box that we write our question in. There are two fields; the first one is for a profile related to the question.  The second gives space for several possible tags.  

You can attach the tags when you first ask the question, or you can edit your question to add tags.

Sometimes the system will suggest possible tags based on how you have worded your question.

If i was asking your question, i would tag it with the following: 






Here's something from the WikiTree Help pages about tagging our questions on G2G: 

Tags in G2G

When you ask a question in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist Forum (G2G) there is a field for entering tags.

The tags you enter can be edited later by you, or by a WikiTree Leader. Leaders often edit tags entered by others because tags need to be used consistently in order to serve their purpose. Most newer members aren't familiar with the commonly-used tags.

looks like Ellen already tagged it for you! smiley

3 Answers

+3 votes
Do you know the birth year or marriage year of the William Davis or Davies who changed his name to Williams in about 1765?

Also, do you know where he was born and where he was married? In what country, state or province, county and city did the birth and the marriage take place?
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.7m points)
He was born about 1739 in Wales. He was married to Agnes Avant between 1765 and 1770. My 3x great grandfather Henry M Williams Esq was born Abt 1770.

He was married in Brittons Neck Marion District, South Carolina

They bought some acreage there in 1791.
Based on being born in 1739 in Wales, the system of patronymics was still in fairly widespread use.  That means he could easily have close Y-DNA relatives with different last names. There would not necessarily have been any instances of name changing, adoption, nor NPE to create the results you experienced with your BigY DNA test.
+3 votes

Hi Joseph! It is always interesting to get unexpected results!  However, i am very surprised that the testing company would say you are 'not a Williams'.  Usually, all they do is show you the list of matches.  

It may well be that the names Davies and Davis occur frequently on that list of matches. That is an interesting situation but not in itself conclusive that the Y-DNA belongs solely to the Davis/Davies family.  

There are several possible scenarios that could result in what you are seeing.  

One of those scenarios is that the Most Recent Common Ancestor between you and your Y-DNA matches predates fixed surnames.   If your ancestry is Welsh, "the use of patronymic names continued up until the early 19th century in some rural areas".  That would mean that, in the olden days, cousins whose dads were brothers David and William would have different last names:  David's kids go by Davis, and William's kids go by Williams, even though the male cousins all have the Y-DNA of their grampa, David and William's father.  

Since your family seems to have come to the New World in the 1600s or so, it is quite likely that this practice was still going on in Wales when they left.  Over the next 200 years, men carrying that Y-DNA could have come to the New World and shifted over to the surname system instead of the patronymic system at any point, thus locking in a different surname.

That is one possible scenario.  Another possibility is that the Davis/Davies crowd in your matches are actually a minority in the 'real world' even though they are a majority of the testers.  (At this point in the use of Y-DNA, that could happen if a family gets gung-ho about testing and has lots of family members do it.) Out of a bigger population sample, there could have been more Williams than Davis/Davies on your list of shared matches, or another pattern altogether.  How many shared Y-DNA matches do you have altogether?  How are the others related to each other?

There are other scenarios that you would want to rule out, which could include undocumented adoptions and NPEs anywhere along your line or the Davis/Davies line.  

Unfortunately, so far there are no other descendants of your progenitor who have Y-DNA tested and shared that info on WikiTree.   

If it were me, I would hit this puzzle from two sides -- first, i would work backwards from yourself to see how far back the Y-DNA has stayed the same within your own family, and at the same time i would try to find at least two other male-line descendants of your progenitor to test.  The DNA  Descendants tool for your William Micajah Williams shows a few possible candidates still living whose tests, if they would participate, would possibly indicate how far back your own Y-DNA has been consistent in your family.  

Let me know if this makes sense to you.



by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (295k points)
The BigY DNA Test is not your normal DNA test. When I took the test in 2014 it was specifically for that reason. The cost of that test was around $850.00. I had already taken all their test thru Y-111. Then I took the raw data from the test and sent it to YFULL Company in Russia and they verified the results. Again its not the normal DNA Test
+4 votes

Hi again Joseph! 

Looks like you have a 4C1R, Damian Williams, who is a member here on WikiTree and who has done his auDNA.

Here is your relationship according to the relationship finder:

Damian and Joseph are fourth cousins once removed

Damian Williams and Joseph Williams Jr are both descendants of Henry Williams Esq.

1. Damian is the son of Neil Williams [unknown confidence] 
2. Neil is the son of Cleo Bernard Williams [confident] 
3. Cleo is the son of Richard Oscar Williams [unknown confidence] 
4. Richard is the son of Richard Henning 'Dyke' Williams [unknown confidence] 
5. Richard is the son of Richard George Williams [unknown confidence] 
6. Richard is the son of Henry M Williams Esq [unknown confidence] 
This makes Henry the fourth great grandfather of Damian.

1. Joseph is the son of Joseph Allen Williams Sr [unknown confidence] 
2. Joseph is the son of Absalom Albert Williams [unknown confidence] 
3. Absalom is the son of William Jordan Williams [unknown confidence] 
4. Jordan is the son of Henry F Williams [unknown confidence] 
5. Henry is the son of Henry M Williams Esq [unknown confidence] 
This makes Henry the third great grandfather of Joseph.

Damian might be a good person to ask if he would be willing to test his Y-DNA.  If you and Damian match, that would be the start of scientifically confirming a biological descent from your MRCA Henry M Williams Esq.

Here's the guidelines for DNA confirmation:

Hope it helps



by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (295k points)
Shirlea I've kinown that for years. I have been in this game since 2004 with, MyHeritage and WikiTree. Damian is a Police Officer in Alabama. My database in contains 158,000 souls. I have traced my families ancestry thru 3 great grandmothers to the BC time frame. In WikiTree I can't do anyone past 1500. It just so happened I could not get past my 4 X Great Grandfather William Micajah Williams (Davis or Davies) who arrived in Charles Town, SC in 1765 on the Ship "The Harriet" from Georgia. He was born Abt 1739 in Wales. In 1765 Georgia was a penal colony for basically misdemeanors but I think that's the reason he changed his name.Or maybe he had done something more drastic and was afraid of being caught, who knows.

Another thing, I've already done the DNA Test by two other Williams descendants of WMW and they are the only Williams I match with. On the BiGY DNA Test its either Davis's or Davies..
Hi Joseph,

If there have been sufficient tests yFull will give you an estimated time for the divergence between your result and the Davis/Davies test kits. Are you advising that these results indicate that the divergence occurred more recently than 300 years? Or some of the Davis/Davies matches left Wales prior to William and also after?

You indicated that there are three Williams yFull results, but don't indicate how many Davis/Davies results there are and whether these are all connected to the same family or different families.

When looking at your y111 results what are the genetic distances indicated between the Davis/Davies and Williams kits?

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