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Gwaltney / Gwartney Surname

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Surnames/tags: Gwaltney Gwartney
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This research project is intended to collect and disseminate information about various Gwaltney / Gwartney lines (and all other spelling variants). Paper trails indicate that most/all spelling variants of these lines share a single set of common paternal-line ancestors, but we need more supporting Y-DNA evidence to determine if this is true.

Likely related spelling variants include (among others):

  • Gwaltney
  • Gwartney
  • Gaultney
  • Gualtney
  • Gortney
  • Gwatney
  • Galtney

Gen 1 - Thomas: The first American settler of our line is believed to be Thomas Gwaltney (abt.1613-abt.1666). He was probably born in Wales, emigrated to colonial Virginia in 1635 on the ship Falcon, and settled in Surry County, Virginia. Read more about his life at In the Beginning (right column).

Gen 2 - William: Thomas and his wife Martha Atkinson had one son, William Gwaltney (abt.1655-bef.1732). William's first wife is unknown. She was the mother of his eldest son Thomas, and perhaps two daughters. William's second wife was Alice Flake. She was the mother of his sons John and William, and perhaps three or four daughters. William Gwaltney

Gen 3 sons - Thomas, John, William: The Three Sons

Y-DNA Tests

Many Gwaltney descendants have taken AncestryDNA and other autosomal DNA (atDNA) tests to prove/support their Gwaltney lineage. However, because we inherit half of our atDNA from each parent (and don't inherit their other half), atDNA is effectively watered down about 50% per generation. This makes atDNA tests much less useful after four or five generations.

Fortunately, the Y chromosome is passed down all-but-unchanged from father to sons (except for a very minor mutation every 2 to 3 generations). Matching Y-DNA tested men always share a paternal-line ancestor. This is especially helpful for genealogical research because modern surnames are passed down from father to sons to grandsons in the same way.

As of November 2023, only two known Gwaltney/Gwartney/Gaultney men in the world have taken a Y-DNA test (one Y-111 and one Y-37). Unsurprisingly, they match - meaning they share a common Gwaltney ancestor (of whatever spelling variant).

Burnett-Gwaltney Y-DNA matches

It turns out that, as of Nov 2023, our two Y-DNA tested Gwaltney men match to at least five Burnett men. Thanks to great research from the Burnett surname project at FamilyTreeDNA, it appears that these Burnetts all share a common Gwaltney ancestor who lived in Richardson County, North Carolina in the 1700s.

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